The World

Bishop Cristobal Lopez: "Being a missionary is not a question of geography".

Today, January 15, is celebrated in Spain the Day of Missionary Childhood, promoted by the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS), which is the instrument of the Church in charge of sustaining the mission territories.

Paloma López Campos-January 15, 2023-Reading time: 3 minutes
Archbishop Rabat

Archbishop Cristóbal López, Archbishop of Rabat (Photo: Salesianos Paraguay)

Today, the second Sunday in Ordinary Time, we celebrate in Spain the Day of the Missionary Childhood. Morocco is a country that every year receives assistance from Pontifical Mission Societies and, specifically, through Infancia Misionera, obtains funds for children's projects, such as shelters, dining halls, etc. The Archbishop of Rabat, Monsignor Cristóbal López Romero, a Salesian priest and religious, talks in this interview about the work of Infancia Misionera. OMP in Morocco.

What projects does the Pontifical Mission Societies have in Morocco?

- The two archdioceses in Morocco, Rabat and Tangier, present various religious, social and cultural projects to the Pontifical Mission Societies every year.

Among the cultural activities, support for libraries and cultural centers in Meknès, Beni-Mellal, Rabat and Casablanca stands out. These centers are places of encounter and Islamo-Christian dialogue, as well as a service to students of various levels who do not have adequate places for study at home.

In the social field, we highlight the Effetá school for the deaf and dumb, the Lerchundi Home for school support for children from underprivileged families, the shelter for girls (Dar Tika) who need to be protected, the Lalla Meriem orphanage and the Rural Center for Social Services, which offers dispensary, day care and women's training.

In the religious field, I can mention support for the Christian formation of young university students, financial aid for catechesis for children and the maintenance of pastoral assistants at the service of parishes and diocesan activities.

To all this must be added the aid that the dioceses receive each year for their ordinary operations.

What does this aid mean for the Church?

-Without the aid received through the OMP it would be very difficult for us to maintain and carry out all these projects.

It is a gesture of solidarity from the Churches that have more possibilities towards those who, for various reasons, have less. And this sharing of goods is an eminently Christian gesture.

Have you noticed an evolution in people's generosity and involvement over the years?

-If we are referring to the "northern" countries, I don't know.

For our part, we are trying to raise the awareness of the Christian communities in Morocco so that, within their limited possibilities, they may also collaborate, both in the World Mission Day collection and in the direct support of projects through the parishes.

It is already a great achievement that, despite the pandemic and the economic crisis, our contribution to the OPMs is maintained. And although quantitatively it does not represent much, it is very significant that we also contribute from our poverty.

What is the work of the missionaries in Morocco like?

-That of every Christian in all times and in all places. We must leave aside the idea of the missionary as a person who leaves his country to go to another... Being a missionary is not a question of geography, but of spirit and mission.

In Morocco, as elsewhere, the mission of Christians (all missionaries!) is to announce and build the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of love, justice and peace.

In Morocco we try to carry out our mission as an absolute minority (0'08% of the population), working not against but with our Muslim brothers.

What do you hope for the future of children in the Church of Morocco?

We are a Church with few children, because most of the Christians are sub-Saharan university students. There are few families... But we do not work only for Christian children, but for everyone. And there, among the Moroccan population, we do have millions of children for whom we would like a decent future in terms of food, health, family, education and home. Although the country has improved a lot, there is still much to be done.

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