Catholics number 1.328.993.000, 17.73 % of the global population. Archbishop Rugambwa: "The mission touches and transforms all sectors and areas of life in order to save humanity and creation". Msgr. Dal Toso: the fund to help local Churches cope with this period of pandemic to date has financed 250 projects for a total of 1, 299, 700 US Dollars and 473,410 Euros.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Catholics number 1,328,993,000, 17.73 % of the world population, and have increased by 15,716,000. The data, released today with reference to the year-end 2018, on the one hand confirms the vitality of Catholicism, but on the other it indicates that there is still a need for people ready to bring the teaching of Jesus to the world.
It is a mission that "never stops" and calls "each of us to bring God's love to everyone and especially to the most needy," observed Msgr. Protase Rugambwa, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, speaking at the Vatican at the presentation of the World Mission Sunday which is celebrated on Sunday 18 October on the theme "Here I am, send me".
" The mission must touch and transform all sectors and areas of life in order to save humanity and creation: families, jobs, factories, schools, politics, the environment, etc. (see Lk 1:38). We are invited to respond to God’s call, in a free and conscious manner and to be available for the Lord to send us. This is the mission: Who will I send? Here I am, send me!”. Together with the Pope, he continued, “We want, today with him too, to invite all the faithful to reconfirm their willingness and their active participation in the Church’s ever more necessary and urgent mission of evangelisation. In what way? Through prayer, sacrifice, reflection, and material aid for the important purpose of helping and supporting the missionary work that is carried out, in the name of the Pope, by the Pontifical Mission Societies. ".
In this regard, Msgr. Giampietro Dal Toso, president of the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) spoke about the universal fund for the missions, to which, he recalled, “the hurches from all over the world collaborate in the universal fund. It is not merely aid from north to south, but a criterion for communication and circularity, where everyone contributes for the good of all. It is an all but unique example of this form of sharing, also economic, between Churches. ”.
Mons. Dal Toso also stressed that “It is the task of the Pontifical Mission Societies to finance pastoral projects, and it is therefore inherent to the life of the Church which gradually establishes its structures throughout the world. This too is a specific element. Although the financial issue is neither the first nor the most important for the Pontifical Mission Societies, money is however a necessity, just as every soul needs a body. In this regard I would like to add a word on the fund instituted on behalf of the Holy Father to assist the local Churches in facing this period of the pandemic. Up to the present, 250 projects have been approved and financed, for a total of 1,299,700 US dollars, and 473,410 Euros. The funds originate from collections carried out in various countries thanks to our national directorates, a total of around 120”.
Among the initiatives carried out, he also indicated "support for Christian families in Bangladesh, a tiny and extremely poor minority in a country often tried by natural cataclysms".
Returning to the statistics on the Catholic Church, presented by "Fides", the increase in the number of Catholics in the world - and it is the third consecutive year - is more marked in Africa (+9.208.000) and in America (+4.458.000) followed by Asia (+1.779.000) and Oceania (+177.000).
However, priests continue to decrease: they are 414,065 (-517). A substantial decrease is recorded in Europe (-2.675) added to which is America (-104). The increases are recorded in Africa (+1.391), Asia (+823) and Oceania (+48).
On the other hand, the number of permanent deacons is again growing (+610), reaching the number of 47,504. The most consistent increase is confirmed in America (+293), followed by Europe (+271), Oceania (+25), Africa (+13) and Asia (+8).
Non-priest religious decreased (-594), reaching the number of 50,941 and women religious (-7,249) who are now 641,661. For both, Asia is in countertrend: religious (+87) and religious (+1,218) are increasing.
On the other hand, the number of lay missionaries has increased to 376,188 (+20,388) and the major seminarians, diocesan and religious (+552), now reaching 115,880. The increases are recorded in Africa (+964), Asia (+354) and Oceania (+52). They decrease in Europe (-696) and in America (-122).