Catholic Church in Libya
There are around 50,000 Catholics in Libya, comprising less than one percent of the population. Among the Catholics are Italian Libyans and Maltese Libyans. Thousands of Filipino Catholic nurses moved to Libya during the 1980s and 1990s. The Italians were the majority of the Catholics in Libya until their expulsion in 1969 by Colonel Gaddafi.
The Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli (Our Lady of the Angels) in the Old City - Medina of Tripoli was founded in 1645 and, with the permission of the Sultan of Constantinople, the Church of the Immaculate Conception was founded in Benghazi in 1858.
Before World War II the number of Catholics increased in Libya due to its status as an Italian colony, but the Catholic Cathedral of Tripoli (built in the 1920s) was converted to a mosque in the 1990s by Muammar Gaddafi's regime. The other Catholic cathedral in Libya, the Benghazi Cathedral is under renovation as a stock exchange.
There are currently two Catholic churches in Libya, the Church of San Francesco in Tripoli and the Maria Immacolata Parish Church in Benghazi, both of which are led by Franciscan priests from the Province of St. Paul the Apostle (Malta). Each church is made up of "personal parishes" based on language, with each personal parish assigned its own priest.