Provincial Delegation in Cuba 
Mother Province: The Italian Province of St. Francis of Assisi (Central Italy) 
– originally the former Provinces of the Marches and Sardinia 

The friars’ presence in Cuba began in Matanzas, a pleasant town with a population of just over 100,000. It lies on the island’s north coast, 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the capital Havana. In 2001, the first three friars arrived in the Diocese of Matanzas. At that time, the diocese had only fourteen priests to serve a population of 700,000. After Pope St. John Paul II visited Cuba in 1998, doors finally opened and it became possible to aid the Church in Cuba. The same year, the Conventual Franciscans received a request to found a missionary presence there. The first friars came from the Provinces of the Marches and Sardinia. Italy. The mission was founded for three reasons: first, to help the Church in Cuba; second, to establish the Order’s presence in a country where it had not been before; and third, to round out the presence of the Franciscan charism in Cuba in communion with the Friars Minor and Friars Minor Capuchin who were already present there.
Today, the Jurisdiction has two friaries and seven solemnly professed friars. Three of them are from Italy, two come from Cuba (with one of them residing in Italy), and the last two are from Peru and are members of the Province of Central Italy. In addition, the Jurisdiction has one simply professed friar studying at the Seraphicum College in Rome and three young postulants.

Matanzas: San Pedro Apóstol Friary and Parish (2001)
When the friars first arrived at the Parish of San Pedro Apóstol in Matanzas, their first commitment was to fix up the friary, the rooms for catechesis and the church itself. Importantly, this parish had lacked the presence of a stable priest for decades; a factor that had contributed to its neglect and deterioration. The restoration work was a great challenge because of all the difficulties the friars faced. In the end, Cuba’s National Heritage Commission gave the work the “2009 National Restoration Award.” The friars’ activities in Matanzas immediately increased. Besides serving the San Pedro Parish, they served at the parish in Canasí until 2019 and at the parish in Sabanilla until 2023. They currently serve at the parish in Ceiba Mocha.
In 2020, the new bishop restructured the pastoral services in the Diocese and asked the friars to serve at another parish in the city of Pueblo Nuevo, and two smaller parishes in Guanabana and Corral Nuevo. In 2020, the Italian Bishops’ Conference granted the friars permission to establish a soup kitchen. The friars located and bought a house near the church. Restoration work is underway to re-outfit the house for this purpose. The soup kitchen is expected to be operational at the end of 2023.

La Habana: San Maximiliano M. Kolbe Friary (2009)
The main purpose of this new presence was to establish a formation house in the capital. The building has been restored and was made available by the state, which remains the owner of the property. The friary currently has three friars and three young men in formation. The friary serves the large Conventual Franciscan Parish Church of San Francisco, in the historic city center (inside the Lawton neighborhood, population 50,000). The friars in La Habana also serve some women’s religious communities and teach at the interdiocesan seminary.

Franciscan Missionary Center
General Secretariat for Mission Animation