In a divided and fragmented world, I want to invite all believers, and also all people of good will, to reconciliation and fraternity. Our faith leads us to spread the values of peace and mutual understanding, of the common good. We pray that Christians, followers of other religions, and all people of goodwill may promote together peace and justice in the world.

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

Pope Francis has tapped Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila as the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

The appointment was announced in Rome on Sunday at 12 noon (7pm in the Philippines).

Tagle will replace Cardinal Fernando Filoni, who assumed as the new Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulcher.

With the nomination of Tagle, an Asian cardinal returned to the leadership of the important department for evangelization after Indian Cardinal Ivan Dias, who served the post from 2006 to 2011.

Announced a few days before the end of his trip to Thailand and Japan, the Vatican News said that Pope Francis “once again shows great attention to the Asian continent.”

Born in Manila in 1957, Tagle took his Philosophy and Theology at the Ateneo De Manila University’s San Jose Major Seminary. He was ordained priest for the Imus diocese in 1982.

From 1985 to 1992, he was sent to further studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. where he got his Doctorate in Sacred Theology.

He also spent seven years in Rome to deepen his studies and in 1997 joined the International Theological Commission.

While serving as rector of the Imus cathedral in 2001, he was named bishop of the diocese at the age of 44 by Saint John Paul II in October 2001.

In October 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as Archbishop of Manila, and 13 months later, during the last consistory of the pontificate of Pope Ratzinger, he received the cardinal’s hat.

In addition to leading the archdiocese, Tagle has also been serving since 2015 as president of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of Catholic charities around the world.

As Caritas head, his activities have been as numerous as in the past. He travels throughout the world to visit Caritas projects.

As a theologian, he is also a much-sought-after conference giver.

Tagle has participated in 1998, 2005, 2008 and 2012 synods at the Vatican. In 2014, he was one of the 3 presidents of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family.

Tagle is the second Filipino to become prefect of a dicastery, following the late Cardinal Jose Tomas Sanchez, who served as prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy from 1991 until 1996.

Sanchez also served as secretary of the Propaganda Fide, which will soon be headed by Tagle.

The cardinal is set to be installed at his new post in the Vatican at the beginning of 2020, according to Vatican News.

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) – “Pauline Jaricot, a French lay woman, now Venerable, who in 1822 founded the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, conceived and placed prayer at the beginning of the missionary activity. She gathered people to pray for the missions and, some years later, she created the ‘living Rosary’, a network that still exists today. These are groups of twenty people who, each month after a Eucharist, are given a Mystery of the Rosary to pray for. Each of them has a different Mystery, so all twenty mysteries will be recited in that month, thanks to the spiritual union of the group members. Today we want to emphasize that the prayer of the Rosary is still fundamental for the Pontifical Society of the Propagation of the Faith, which supports and finances many concrete projects of an ecclesial and missionary nature in the world. As Pope Francis remarked, the first missionary activity is prayer”: this is what Fr. Tadeusz J. Nowak, of the Oblates of Maria Immaculate (OMI), Secretary General of the Pontifical Society of the Propagation of the Faith (POPF) said, who spoke at the presentation of “ClickTo Pray eRosary”, launched on the occasion of the Extraordinary Missionary Month, announced by Pope Francis for October 2019.
“ClickTo Pray eRosary” is a digital bracelet that activates by making the sign of the cross. It is an interactive, intelligent device, which works through a downloadable application at no cost, presented by the Pope’s World Prayer Network. The App is called Click To Pray, and “is aimed primarily at young people, hoping to teach how to pray the Rosary”. (Agenzia Fides, 16/10/2019)

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

INTERVIEW: Cardinal Filoni: ‘It’s Necessary to Rediscover Affection & Love for One’s Faith’
Prefect of Vatican’s Propaganda Fide Tells ZENIT What Makes This Missionary Month ‘Extraordinary’

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, often simply called ‘Propaganda Fide’, has told ZENIT what makes this Missionary Month ‘extraordinary.’

Pope on World Mission Day: ‘Go and Make Disciples of All Nations’

In the interview, he discusses how each year, the Catholic Church celebrates Missionary Month in October, but this year, Francis called for it to be an “extraordinary one,” which is welcoming various events to commemorate it, including the Mass Pope Francis celebrated yesterday morning, on World Mission Sunday, in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The Italian prelate also underscores how it is necessary to rediscover love and affection for one’s faith, and how people around the world can partake in this month’s events. Moreover, he underscores, “If there is no love for one’s faith, everything stops!”

Here is our interview:


ZENIT: Cardinal Filoni, what makes this October 2019 Missionary Month, as Pope Francis requested, “Extraordinary?”

Cardinal Filoni: First of all, there is the ordinariness of the fact that every year, the month of October is Missionary Month. The ‘extraordinary’ nature of the one of October 2019 is due to the fact that we wish to focus our reflection on a specific point, in a special way: the awareness that as Baptized–enjoying and living the very reality of Baptism, that is to say, grace–, we also become ‘sent.’

It means we cannot be selfish, we cannot shut ourselves up [be quiet and silent]! We want to make people reflect on this because we want to get out of the mentality that has always considered mission as something to be delegated to others, to people “who are a bit more generous,” to people “who have a special vocation,” to people who like to set off” and go into distant, different countries, and so on.

Angelus Address: On World Mission Day

ZENIT: And instead how should mission be conceived?

Cardinal Filoni: We want to show that perhaps this missionary idea, once did require a special vocation, but that today, everyone travels! Everyone moves for reasons of pleasure, vacation… or work or business… or to learn about and meet different cultures. It almost therefore seems that faith remains almost extraneous to all this great human mobility, when instead it should be in the first place! We are not allowed to not think about the role and the mission that we all have to bear witness to the faith. We must bring faith to others.

ZENIT: And how can we witness faith?

Cardinal Filoni: Pope Francis tells us this very clearly: we need to witness what we believe and what we love, which is part of our life, and at the same time, to announce it. This is what Saint Peter said (1 Pt 3:15): “to explain the hope you have in you.” And therefore, this is the announcement. Having this awareness takes us out of that idea of delegating mission to others, to take it instead as our mission, as an integral, essential part of our moral, spiritual life, our life of faith.

ZENIT: And people around the world, how can they take part in this month from their homes?

Cardinal Filoni: Let us first say: we can take part in many ways. An elderly or sick person can bring the contribution of the reality they live. I think of the chain of prayer, the Living Rosary conceived by the Venerable Pauline Jaricot [the founder of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith] in France, almost 200 years old, to pray for missions. At that time traveling, crossing oceans was a difficult experience, if not almost impossible for many people. But Jaricot said that we too can participate in the mission of the Church with this prayer, which unites us, in presenting our own prayer to God.

ZENIT: Is prayer the only way to participate in the Extraordinary Missionary Month?

Cardinal Filoni: Even Pauline Jaricot, at that time, said: is prayer not enough? Then we have those writing off on their tax returns, “here, this is the contribution I make for the needs of the missions.” But in addition to all this, we must be protagonists of the mission and not only delegate the mission to others. It is necessary to rediscover affection and love for one’s faith. And this can be done in many ways.

ZENIT: What do you mean by love for one’s faith?

Cardinal Filoni: If there is no love for one’s faith, everything stops! But when I love my faith, then I become creative. Creativity is needed for mission, even with regard to the tools, the meetings, the vision ..Mission is no longer directed only to distant countries, but it is something that takes place between us. And it’s nice that so many people who have arrived in these last decades for example, in Italy, when they received the tool to learn and live a living faith, if you will, then they themselves asked for Baptism.

ZENIT: Do you know anyone of them? Do you think of anyone in particular?

Cardinal Filoni: Recently, I met a young man from Morocco. When we introduced ourselves, he told me a Muslim name and a Christian name. Then he added: “I am a Christian.” “Oh yes? And what made you decide to become a Christian?,” I asked him. He replied: “[It was] thanks to the testimony I was given here, the way I was received.”

INTERVIEW: Cardinal Filoni: ‘It’s Necessary to Rediscover Affection & Love for One’s Faith’

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

Angelus Address: On World Mission Day
‘All Jesus’ Disciples Are Called to Be Witnesses of the Gospel in This, Our Time’

Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

* * *

Before the Angelus:

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

The second reading of today’s liturgy proposes to us the exhortation that the Apostle Paul addresses to his faithful collaborator Timothy: “Preach the Word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching” (2 Timothy 4:2). The tone is heartfelt: Timothy must feel himself responsible to preach the Word, assuming an all-out commitment, which doesn’t exclude any existential ambit. These sentiments of Saint Paul should be those of all Jesus’ disciples, called to be witnesses of the Gospel in this, our time, in this humanity at times contradictory but loved infinitely by God.

The World Mission Day, which is observed today, is a propitious occasion for every baptized person to have a deeper awareness of the need to cooperate in the proclamation of the Kingdom of God through a renewed commitment. To give new impetus to the missionary responsibility of the whole Church, Pope Benedict XV, a hundred years ago, promulgated the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud. He perceived the need to upgrade evangelically the mission in the world so that it would be purified from all colonial incrustation and free from the conditionings of the expansionist policies of the European Nations.

In today’s changing context, Benedict XV’s message is again timely and stimulates us to overcome the temptation to every self-referential closure and every form of pastoral pessimism, to open ourselves to the joyful novelty of the Gospel. In this time of ours, marked by a globalization that should be solidary and respectful of the particularity of peoples, and instead suffers again from the homologation and from old conflicts of power, which fuel wars and ruin the planet, believers are called to take everywhere, with new impetus, the Good News that in Jesus mercy overcomes sin, hope overcomes fear, fraternity overcomes hostility. Christ is our peace and in Him, every division is surmounted; in Him alone is the salvation of every man and every people.

There is an indispensable condition to live the mission in fullness: prayer, a fervent and incessant prayer, in keeping with Jesus’ teaching proclaimed also in today’s Gospel, in which He tells a parable “on the need to pray always and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). Prayer is the first support of the People of God for the missionaries, rich in affection and gratitude for their difficult task to proclaim and give the light and the grace of the Gospel to those that have yet to receive it. It is also a good occasion today to ask ourselves: do I pray for the missionaries? Do I pray for those that go far away to take the Word of God with their witness? Let us think about it.

May Mary, Mother of all peoples, accompany and protect every day the missionaries of the Gospel.

© Libreria Editrice Vatican

[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]

After the Angelus:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Proclaimed Blessed yesterday at Crema was the martyr Father Alfredo Cremonesi, missionary priest of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions. Killed in Burma in 1953, he was an indefatigable apostle of peace and zealous witness of the Gospel, to the shedding of his blood. May his example drive us to be workers of fraternity and courageous missionaries in every environment; may his intercession support all those that toil today to sow the Gospel in the world. Let us applaud Blessed Alfredo!

And now a warm welcome goes to all of you, pilgrims from Italy and from various countries. In particular, I greet and bless affectionately the Peruvian community of Rome, gathered here with the venerated image of the Senor de los Milagros [Lord of the Miracles] — keep always the faith and traditions of your people! –; the Sisters Nurses of the Addolorata who held their General Chapter; the participants in the march “We Remain Human,” who in the last months have gone through cities and territories of Italy, to promote a constructive confrontation on the subjects of inclusion and hospitality. Thank you for this beautiful initiative!

A special thought goes to the youngsters of Catholic Action, who have come with their educators from all the Italian dioceses, on the occasion of the 50 years of ACR. Dear boys and girls, you are protagonists in evangelization, especially among your contemporaries. The Church has confidence in you; go forward with joy and generosity!

I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye.

Angelus Address: On World Mission Day

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

Leading the Mission Month celebration in Manila on Oct. 18

Catholics are called to go on mission, together, and truly be Church, a top churchman said.

Leading the Mission Month celebration in Manila on Oct. 18, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle said that mission is not a “do it yourself” task but one that is communal.

“Mission is not just for few individuals but for all of us, even the children and the poor are part of the mission,” Tagle said.

“Mission is in community. Mission is ecclesial, the Church,” he said. “Let us encourage every baptized person… you are sent by Christ and by the Church.”

Thousands of people turned out for the event organized by the Manila archdiocese in coordination with the Pontifical Mission Societies of the Philippines.

Every October, the universal Church celebrates mission month. This year, Pope Francis declared October 2019 Extraordinary Mission Month to revitalize and renew the missionary call in a particular way.

The celebration is also to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter on mission, Maximum Illud.

The Manila gathering featured musical performances, testimonies, and was capped with a Mass, attended by dozens of bishops, priests and the religious.

Also present were Papal nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia and Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao and the head of the Episcopal Conference of the Philippines.

In his homily, the cardinal stressed that by virtue of their baptism, all Catholics are called to be missionaries.

“Every baptized person, living the life of Christ, by sharing in his death and resurrection, is also sent on mission,” Tagle said.

But to be missionaries, he stressed the importance of having a “personal encounter with Jesus”.

Such a thing, according to him, is a requirement for growth in baptism and mission.

“No mission, no proclamation of the Gospel without an encounter with Jesus who is the Gospel,” he said.

The cardinal added that mission is also fundamentally “witnessing to Christ”, which means “bearing the Cross, especially the cross of helplessness”.

He also said that charity is central to the Church’s mission, and Catholics are called to share it with the world, especially those in need.

Cardinal Tagle: ‘Let us go on Mission, Together’

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

‘Go and show love to everyone, because your life is a precious mission: it is not a burden to be borne, but a gift to offer’

Pope Francis repeated the words of Jesus on World Mission Day, October 20, 2019: “Go and make disciples of all nations”, says Jesus in the Gospel (Mt 28:19).

The Holy Father’s words came in his homily in St. Peter’s Basilica to observe the special day, this year being celebrated in the midst of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October.

Pope Francis reflected on three words in his homily, a noun, a verb, and an adjective.

“The noun is the mountain: Isaiah speaks of it when he prophesies about a mountain of the Lord, raised above the hills, to which all the nations will flow (cf. Is 2:2).,” the Pope explained. “It seems, then, that the mountain is God’s favorite place for encountering humanity.

“The mountain unites God and our brothers and sisters in a single embrace, that of prayer. The mountain draws us up and away from the many transient things, and summons us to rediscover what is essential, what is lasting: God and our brothers and sisters. Mission begins on the mountain: there, we discover what really counts. In the midst of this missionary month, let us ask ourselves: what really counts in my life? To what peaks do I want to ascend?”

Pope Francis next mentions the verb: “to go up.” This means t”o leave behind a horizontal life and to resist the force of gravity caused by our self-centeredness, to make an exodus from our own ego.”

And finally, the Holy Father mentions a small but vital adjective: “all”. Jesus calls on Christians to share his word with all peoples.

“Go and show love to everyone, because your life is a precious mission: it is not a burden to be borne, but a gift to offer,” Francis exhorted. “Have courage, and let us fearlessly go forth to all!”

Following is the Holy Father’s full homily, provided by the Vatican

I would like to reflect on three words taken from the readings we have just heard: a noun, a verb, and an adjective. The noun is the mountain: Isaiah speaks of it when he prophesies about a mountain of the Lord, raised above the hills, to which all the nations will flow (cf. Is 2:2). We see the image of the mountain again in the Gospel when Jesus, after His resurrection, tells his disciples to meet him on the mount of Galilee; the Galilee inhabited by many different peoples: “Galilee of the Gentiles” (cf. Mt 4:15). It seems, then, that the mountain is God’s favorite place for encountering humanity. It is his meeting place with us, as we see in the Bible, beginning with Mount Sinai and Mount Carmel, all the way to Jesus, who proclaimed the Beatitudes on the mountain, was transfigured on Mount Tabor, gave his life on Mount Calvary and ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives. The mountain, the place of great encounters between God and humanity, is also the place where Jesus spent several hours in prayer (cf. Mk 6:46) to unite heaven and earth, and to unite us, his brothers and sisters, with the Father.

What does the mountain say to us? We are called to draw near to God and to others. To God, the Most High, in silence and prayer, avoiding the rumors and gossip that diminish us. And to others, who, from the mountain, can be seen in a different perspective: that of God who calls all peoples. From on high, others are seen as a community whose harmonious beauty is discovered only in viewing them as a whole. The mountain reminds us that our brothers and sisters should not be selected but embraced, not only with our gaze but also with our entire life. The mountain unites God and our brothers and sisters in a single embrace, that of prayer. The mountain draws us up and away from the many transient things, and summons us to rediscover what is essential, what is lasting: God and our brothers and sisters. Mission begins on the mountain: there, we discover what really counts. In the midst of this missionary month, let us ask ourselves: what really counts in my life? To what peaks do I want to ascend?

A verb accompanies the noun “mountain”: the verb to go up. Isaiah exhorts us: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord” (2:3). We were not born to remain on the ground, to be satisfied with ordinary things, we were born to reach the heights and there to meet God and our brothers and sisters. However, this means that we have to go up: to leave behind a horizontal life and to resist the force of gravity caused by our self-centeredness, to make an exodus from our own ego. Going up requires great effort, but it is the only way to get a better view of everything. As mountain-climbers know, only when you arrive at the top can you get the most beautiful view; only then do you realize that you would not have that view were it not for that uphill path.

And as in the mountains, we cannot climb well if we are weighed down by our packs, so in life, we must rid ourselves of things that are useless. This is also the secret of mission: to go, you have to leave something behind, to proclaim, you must first renounce. A credible proclamation is not made with beautiful words, but by an exemplary life: a life of service that is capable of rejecting all those material things that shrink the heart and make people indifferent and inward-looking; a life that renounces the useless things that entangle the heart in order to find time for God and others. We can ask ourselves: how am I doing in my efforts to go up? Am I able to reject the heavy and useless baggage of worldliness in order to climb the mountain of the Lord? Is mine a journey upwards or one of worldliness?

If the mountain reminds us of what matters – God and our brothers and sisters – and the verb to go up tells us how to get there, a third word is even more important for today’s celebration. It is the adjective all, which constantly reappears in the readings we have heard: “all peoples”, says Isaiah (2:2); “all peoples”, we repeated in the Psalm; God desires “all to be saved”, writes Paul (1 Tim 2:4); “Go and make disciples of all nations”, says Jesus in the Gospel (Mt 28:19). The Lord is deliberate in repeating the word all. He knows that we are always using the words “my” and “our”: my things, our people, our community… But he constantly uses the word all. All, because no one is excluded from his heart, from his salvation; all, so that our heart can go beyond human boundaries and particularism based on a self-centredness that displeases God. All, because everyone is a precious treasure, and the meaning of life is found only in giving this treasure to others. Here is our mission: to go up the mountain to pray for everyone and to come down from the mountain to be a gift to all.

Going up and coming down: the Christian, therefore, is always on the move, outward-bound. Go is in fact the imperative of Jesus in the Gospel. We meet many people every day, but – we can ask – do we really encounter the people we meet? Do we accept the invitation of Jesus or simply go about our own business? Everyone expects things from others, but the Christian goes to others. Bearing witness to Jesus is never about getting accolades from others, but about loving those who do not even know the Lord. Those who bear witness to Jesus go out to all, not just to their own acquaintances or their little group. Jesus is also saying to you: “Go, don’t miss a chance to bear me witness!” My brother, my sister, the Lord expects from you a testimony that no one can give in your place. “May you come to realize what that word is, the message of Jesus that God wants to speak to the world by your life…. lest you fail in your precious mission.” (Gaudete et Exsultate, 24).

What instructions does the Lord give us for going forth to others? Only one, and very simple: make disciples. But, be careful: his disciples, not our own. The Church proclaims the Gospel well only if she lives the life of a disciple. And a disciple follows the Master daily and shares the joy of discipleship with others. Not by conquering, mandating, proselytizing, but by witnessing, humbling oneself alongside other disciples and offering with love the love that we ourselves received. This is our mission: to give pure and fresh air to those immersed in the pollution of our world; to bring to earth that peace which fills us with joy whenever we meet Jesus on the mountain in prayer; to show by our lives, and perhaps even by our words, that God loves everyone and never tires of anyone.

Dear brothers and sisters, each of us has and is “a mission on this earth” (Evangelii Gaudium, 273). We are here to witness, bless, console, raise up, and radiate the beauty of Jesus. Have courage! Jesus expects so much from you! We can say that the Lord is “concerned” about those who do not yet know that they are beloved children of the Father, brothers and sisters for whom he gave his life and sent the Holy Spirit. Do you want to quell Jesus’ concern? Go and show love to everyone, because your life is a precious mission: it is not a burden to be borne, but a gift to offer. Have courage, and let us fearlessly go forth to all!

Pope on World Mission Day: ‘Go and make disciples of all nations’

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

On the occasion of World Mission Day, which this year celebrates its 93rd anniversary on Sunday 20 October within the context of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019, announced by Pope Francis to mark the 100th anniversary of Pope Benedict XV’s Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud, Fides News Service offers some statistics chosen to give a panorama of the missionary Church all over the world. They are taken from the latest edition of the “Church’s Book of Statistics” published (updated to 31 December 2017) regarding members of the Church, church structures, healthcare, welfare, and education. Please note that variations, increase or decrease, emerging from our own comparison with last year’s figures, are marked with “+” or “–” in brackets.

World population

On 31 December 2017, the world population was 7,408,374,000 with an increase of 56,085,000 compared to the previous year. Population growth, almost half compared to the previous year, was recorded on every continent, including Europe, in its third year of growth after the decrease in previous years: increases were recorded above all in Africa (+ 33.572.000) and in Asia (+ 11.975.000), followed by America (+ 8.738.000), Europe (+ 1.059.000) and Oceania (+ 741.000).


On the same date, 31 December 2017, Catholics in the world numbered 1,313,278,000 with an overall increase of 14,219,000, almost the same as the previous year. The increase affects all continents, including Europe (+ 259.000), after a decrease for three consecutive years. Increases were recorded above all in Africa (+ 5,605,000) and in America (+ 6,083,000) followed by Asia (+ 2,080,000) and Oceania (+ 191,000).

The world percentage of Catholics increased by 0.06 %, settling at 17.73%. By continent: increases were recorded in America (+ 0.05) and Asia (+ 0,03), decrease in Africa (- 0,07), Europe (- 0,02) and Oceania (- 0,01).

Persons and Catholics per priest

This year the number of persons per priest in the world increased by 132, an average of 14.468. The distribution by continent: increase in Africa (+ 49), America (+ 69), Europe (+ 75) and Oceania (+ 337). The only decrease, also this year, was in Asia (- 887).

The number of Catholics per priest in the world increased by 38, an average of 3,168. There are increases in America (+ 48), Europe (+ 29) and Oceania (+ 87). As in the previous year, a decrease was recorded in Asia (- 15), as well as in Africa (- 9).

Ecclesiastical circumscriptions and mission stations

The number of ecclesiastical circumscriptions is 1 more than the previous year, at 3,017 with new circumscriptions created in Asia (+2), while in America the number decreased by one (-1) The number in the other continents remained unchanged.

Mission stations with a resident priest number 2,659 (+ 519). A decrease was recorded for the second consecutive year, in Africa (- 47), along with Europe (- 44) while an increase was recorded in America (+ 460), Asia (+ 133) and Oceania (+ 17).

Mission Stations without a resident priest decreased in all continents, by 4,696. The distribution by continent: in Africa (- 1,448), in America (- 1,333), in Asia (- 1,899), in Europe (- 13), and Oceania (- 3).


The total number of bishops in the world increased this year, to 5,389. Both diocesan and religious bishops increased in numbers. Diocesan bishops number 4,116 (+ 26), while religious bishops number 1,273 (+10).

The increase in diocesan bishops is recorded in all continents, with a slight decrease only in Africa (- 1): America (+ 18), Asia (+ 1), Europe (+ 5) and Oceania (+ 3). The number of religious bishops increased in Africa (+ 7) and America (+ 5), while a decrease was recorded in Asia (- 2) and the number remained unchanged in Europe and Oceania.


The total number of priests in the world also decreased this year, to 414,582 (- 387). The continents which recorded a decrease were again Europe (- 2.946) and Oceania (- 97). Increases were recorded in Africa (+ 1.192), America (+ 40) and Asia (+ 1.424) unvaried.

Diocesan priests decreased by 21, reaching a total of 281,810 with decreases again in Europe (- 2.048) and Oceania (- 36). Increases were recorded in Africa (+ 959), America (+ 404) and Asia (+ 700).

The number of religious priests decreased by 366 to a total of 132,772. Increases were recorded, as in recent years, in Africa (+ 233) and in Asia (+ 724), whereas numbers dropped in America (- 364), Europe (- 898) and Oceania (- 61).

Permanent Deacons

Permanent deacons increased worldwide by 582 to 46,894. The highest increase was recorded again in America (+ 408) followed by Europe (+ 142), Asia (+ 28) and Oceania (+ 11). The only decrease this year was noted in Africa (- 7).

There are 46, 192 permanent diocesan deacons in the world, an overall increase of 583. They increased in number on every continent apart from Africa (- 3): America (+434), Asia (+5), Europe (+140) and Oceania (+7).

Religious permanent deacons number 702, with a decrease by one compared to the previous year. There were decreases in Africa (- 4) and America (- 26), and increases in Asia (+23), Europe (+2) and Oceania (+4).

Men and women religious

The number of non-religious priests decreased for the fifth consecutive year by 1, 090 to 51.535. A decrease was recorded in all continents apart from Africa (+ 48): America (- 403), Asia (-127), Europe (-525) and Oceania (-83).

This year too there is an overall decrease in the number of women religious, by 10,535 to 648,910. An increase was recorded in Africa (+1,489) and Asia (+1,118), decrease in America (- 4,893), Europe (- 7,960) and Oceania (-289).

Members of secular institutes, male and female

Members of male secular institutes number 585 with a decrease of (-33) for the second consecutive year, in all continents except Oceania, which remains unvaried this year too: Africa (- 8), America (- 6), Asia (- 7) and Europe (- 12).

The members of female secular institutes decreased in number this year, by 343 to a total of 22,057 members. An increase was recorded in Africa (+37) and in Asia (+58), while a decrease was recorded in America (- 51), Europe (- 385) and Oceania (-2).

Lay missionaries and catechists

The number of lay missionaries in the world is 355,800, with an overall increase of 1,057, in particular in Europe (+836), America (+691), Asia (+454) and Oceania (+23). A decrease was recorded only in Africa (- 947).

The number of catechists worldwide increased by 34,032, reaching a total of 3,120,321. The only decrease was recorded in Europe (- 2.897). An increase was recorded in Africa (+ 11.405), America (+ 22.532), Asia (+2.699) and Oceania (+293).

Major seminarians

The number of major seminarians, diocesan and religious also decreased this year. Worldwide there are 832, reaching a total of 115,328. Increases occurred in Africa (+786) and Oceania (+ 21), while a decrease was recorded in America (- 853), Asia (- 385) and in Europe (- 401). Major diocesan seminarians number 70,706 (- 411 compared to the previous year) and religious major seminarians 44,622 (- 421). The number of diocesan seminarians increased in Africa (+505) and

Oceania (+17), whereas it decreased in America (- 376), Asia (- 202) and Europe (- 355). The number of religious seminarians increased in Africa (+281) and Oceania (+4), while it decreased in America (- 477), Asia (-183), and Europe (- 46).

Minor seminarians

The number of minor seminarians, diocesan and religious this year decreased for the second consecutive year by 835 to 100.781. There was an overall decrease on all continents except Asia (+82) and Oceania, which remained unchanged: Africa (- 403), America (- 347), Europe (-167).

Minor diocesan seminarians number 78,336 (- 33) and religious seminarians number 22,445 (- 802). The number of diocesan minor seminarians increased in Asia (+ 367) and Oceania (+7). There was a decrease in Africa (- 18), America (- 269), Europe (- 120),

Religious minor seminarians decreased in number in Africa (-385), America (- 78), Asia (- 285), Europe (- 47) and Oceania (- 7).

Catholic schools and Education

In the field of education, the Catholic Church runs 71.305 kindergartens with 7,303,839 pupils;

101,527 primary schools with 34,558,527 pupils; and 48,560 secondary schools with 20,320,592 pupils. The Church also cares for 2,345,799 high school pupils, and 2,945,295 university students.

Catholic charity and healthcare centers

Charity and healthcare centers managed by the Church worldwide include: 5,269 hospitals, most of them in America (1,399) and Africa (1,367); 16,068 dispensaries, mainly in Africa (5,907); America (4.330) and Asia (2.919); 646 care homes for people with leprosy, mainly in Asia

(362) and Africa (229); 15,735 homes for the elderly, the chronically ill or the disabled, mainly in Europe (8,475) and America (3,596); 9,813 orphanages, mainly in Asia (3,473); 10,492 creches, mainly in America (3,153) and in Asia (2,900); 13,065 marriage counselling centres, mainly in Europe (5,676) and America (4,798); 3,169 social rehabilitation centres and 31,182 institutions of other types.

Ecclesiastical Circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

There are 1,115 ecclesiastical circumscriptions dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (Cep). Most of these are in Africa (511) and in Asia (484), followed by America (74) and Oceania (46).

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

Pope Francis has appointed a Papua New Guinean alumnus of the University of Santo Tomas Central Seminary and its former spiritual director as bishop.

Bishop-elect John Bosco Auram will succeed Bishop William Regis Fey, whose retirement from the pastoral care of the Kimbe diocese was accepted by the pope on Friday.

Upon his appointment, Auram has been serving as acting rector of the Sacred Heart preparatory seminary in Rapolo of the Archdiocese of Rabaul.

Aged 46 and a priest for only 15 years, he will be the third bishop of the 16-year old diocese.

Auram was born on Oct. 19, 1972 in the village of Kandoka, province of West New Britain, which formed part of the archdiocese of Rabaul but now belongs to Kimbe.

He began his formation at the Saint Peter Chanel minor seminary in Ulapia, and then completed his philosophical and theological studies at the Sacred Heart major seminary in Rapolo.

In 2004, he was ordained a priest for the clergy of Kimbe, the second ordained priest after the creation of the diocese.

Since his ordination, he has held various positions in the diocese and also underwent further studies at the Institute of Priestly Formation in the U.S. and at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University in Rome.

Auram also completed his licentiate in pastoral theology from the UST Central Seminary in Manila and served as its spiritual director from 2016 to early 2019.

Former UST seminary spiritual director named bishop 

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

Father Justino Sarmento Rezende, an expert in indigenous spirituality from Brazil, speaks at a news conference to discuss the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican Oct. 17, 2019. PAUL HARING/CNS

By Junno Arocho Esteves

Catholic News Service

October 18, 2019

VATICAN— While indigenous cultures may have difficulty accepting the concept of celibacy, indigenous candidates for the priesthood are more than capable of understanding that it is a gift from God, said an indigenous priest from Brazil.

“Celibacy is not something that is born in a human person; it is something that is established sometime during one’s life,” Salesian Father Justino Sarmento Rezende told journalists Oct. 17 during a press briefing on the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon.

“People from any culture that exists in the world can live celibate lives from the moment that he or she freely — not forcibly — says, ‘I want to live that lifestyle,’” he said.

Father Rezende was responding to a question regarding comments made in the synod’s first week by retired Bishop Erwin Krautler of Xingu, Brazil, who said that when it comes to ordaining married “viri probati,” or men of proven virtue, “there is no other option.”

“The indigenous people don’t understand celibacy; they say that very openly and I see it,” Bishop Krautler said Oct. 8. “When I go to an indigenous village, the first thing they ask is, ‘Where is your wife?’ And I tell them, ‘I don’t have one.’ Then they look at me with pity.”

Father Rezende told journalists that in his own vocational calling, he faced pushback from his mother and members of his indigenous community, the Tuyuca people in Brazil’s Amazonian region.

“‘To become a priest is not something for us Tuyuca,’” the Brazilian priest recalled one Tuyucan member telling him.

“Where did this idea come from? It was because at the time for us, especially me, the only ones who were able to become priests were white or black people,” he said.

He also said that indigenous priests often face questions or doubts about their ability to respect their vow of celibacy.

Some say that “‘indigenous people have many difficulties of living celibate lives.’ Yes, I do, because I am a normal person,” and celibacy is a challenge for all people, Father Rezende said.

“If one day I thought that living a celibate life wasn’t for me, I would leave it,” he said, adding that if he was suffering because of it and no longer a witness of life for his community or church, then “it wouldn’t make sense for me to continue.”

“That is why I say that celibacy is a virtue and it can be lived by any human being,” Father Rezende said.

Celibacy is a gift, not an obstacle, indigenous priest says

Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email