News of Pope Francis’ scheduled visit to Morocco in 2019 has excited Moroccan Christian converts, who are reportedly preparing to hold public prayers to welcome the pontiff.
Rabat- The Christian committee of the Moroccan Association for Religious Rights and Freedoms is allegedly organizing a press conference to present a report on the situation of Moroccan Christians upon the Pope’s arrival.
The association seeks to take Pope Francis’ visit as an opportunity to draw attention to the situation of Christians in Morocco.
Moroccan Christians are a religious minority in Morocco. According to US State Department, Christian leaders in Morocco estimate there are 2,000 to 6,000 Christian converts in Morocco who try to keep a low profile, fearing social judgement.
Read Also: Pope Francis to Visit Morocco in March 2019
The Vatican announced on Tuesday, November 13, that the pope will visit Morocco on March 30-31, 2019. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI made the request, according to Vatican’s statement.
“At the request of His Majesty King Mohammed VI and bishops, his holiness Pope Francis will visit Morocco for an Apostolic trip from March 30-31 2019. He will visit Rabat and Casablanca.”
The pope’s visit will be the first time a Vatican Pope has come to Morocco in 33 years, after John Paul II visited the country during the late King Hassan II’s rule.
Rumors about the Pope’s visit started to spread in May. At the time, some media reports relayed that a group of Moroccan Christian converts had even pondered to organize protests before the Parliament upon the Pope’s arrival.
Though Article 3 of the kingdom’s 2011 constitution dictates the freedom to practice religious rituals, Moroccan converts to religions other than Islam fear social persecution.