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)


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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’

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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

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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’

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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).

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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 

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