Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – As every year, in view of the World Mission Day, which this year celebrates its 95th anniversary on Sunday, October 24, 2021, Agenzia Fides News offers some statistics chosen to give an overview of the ‘Missionary Church all over the world.
The tables are taken from the latest published edition of the “Church Statistics Book” (updated December 31, 2019) regarding Church Membership, Church Structures, Health Care, Welfare, and education. Please note that the variations are indicated in brackets, increasing (+) or decreasing (-) compared to the previous year (2018), according to the comparison made by Fides News Service.
Finally, the table of ecclesiastical circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples is reported.
As of December 31, 2019, the world population was 7,577,777,000, with an increase of 81,383,000 units over the previous year. Population growth has been recorded on all continents, including Europe. Increases were recorded especially in Asia (+40.434.000) and Africa (+33.360.000), followed by America (+6.973.000), Europe (+157.000) and Oceania (+459.0000 ).
On the same date, December 31, 2019, Catholics in the world numbered 1,344,403,000 units with an overall increase of 15,410,000 units compared to the previous year. The increase affects all continents, except Europe (-292,000). As in the past, increases were recorded mainly in Africa (+8,302,000) and America (+5,373,000), followed by Asia (+1,909,000) and Oceania (+118,000).
The number of ecclesiastical circumscriptions remains more or less unchanged, there is only an increase of 1 unit compared to the previous year, to 3,026. Missionary stations with a number of resident priests 3,217 (+301), increases were recorded in all continents. Mission stations without a resident priest decreased by 5,836 units, reaching a total of 131,407.
The total number of bishops in the world has decreased by 13 units, to 5,364. Diocesan bishops have increased (+12) and religious bishops have decreased (-25). The total number of priests in the world has increased this year, to 414,336 (+271). The continent which recorded a significant decline was again Europe (-2.608) as well as America (-690) and Oceania (-69). Increases were recorded in Africa (+1.649) and Asia (+1.989).
The number of non-religious priests fell for the seventh year in a row, from 646 units, to 50,295. Even this year, there is an overall decrease in the number of nuns, by 11,562 units, for a total of 630,099. An increase, again, was recorded in Africa (+835) and Asia (+599), a decrease in Europe (-7,400), America (-5,315) and Oceania (-281).
The number of lay missionaries in the world is 410,440, with an overall increase of 34,252 units. I Catechists around the world have decreased by 2,590 units, for a total of 3,074,034.
The number of major seminarians, diocesans and religious has decreased this year; they total 1,822 units, reaching a total of 114,058. Increases were recorded only in Africa (+509), decreases in Asia (-898), Oceania (-53), Europe (-630) and America (-750).
The total number of junior seminarians, diocesans and religious decreased this year for the fourth consecutive year from 3,174 units to 96,990. Overall decline on all continents except Oceania (+22): America (-914), Africa (-1.519), Europe (-743) and Asia (-20).
In the field of education, the Catholic Church manages 72,667 kindergartens with 7,532,992 pupils; 98,925 primary schools with 35,188,771 pupils; 49,552 secondary schools with 19,370,763 pupils. The Church also takes care of 2,395,540 high school students and 3,833,012 university students.
The charity and health centers run by the Church around the world include: 5,245 hospitals, mostly in Africa (1,418) and America (1,362); 14,963 dispensaries, mainly in Africa (5,307), in America (4,043); 532 Care homes for people with leprosy, mainly in Asia (269) and Africa (201); 15,429 Homes for the elderly, chronically ill or disabled, mainly in Europe (8,031) and America (3,642); 9,374 orphanages, mainly in Asia (3,233) and Europe (2,247); 10,723 nurseries, mainly in Asia (2,973) and America (2,957); 12,308 marriage counseling centers, mainly in Europe (5,504) and America (4,289); 3,198 social reintegration centers and 33,840 other types of institutes.
The ecclesiastical circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Cep) are 1.117. Most of the ecclesiastical circumscriptions entrusted to Propaganda Fide are in Africa (517) and Asia (483), followed by America (71) and Oceania (46). (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 10/21/2021)

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