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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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

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Archbishop-elect Ricardo Baccay of Tuguegarao. PHOTO FROM THE DIOCESE OF ALAMINOS

By Roy Lagarde

October 18, 2019

Manila, Philippines

Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Ricardo Baccay on Friday as the new archbishop of Tuguegarao.

Baccay will succeed Archbishop Sergio Utleg, 76, who served the archdiocese for eight years.

The pope has accepted Utleg’s resignation a year after he reached the mandatory retirement age of 75.

A bishop of Alaminos since 2016, Baccay will be the eighth archbishop of Tuguegarao in Cagayan province.

Born in 1961 in Tuguegarao, the archbishop-elect was ordained a priest in 1987.

In 2007, he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Tuguegarao. Nine years later, he was transferred as bishop of Alaminos in Pangasinan.

Within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Baccay has been serving as chairman of the Commission on Bioethics.

During the bishops’ plenary assembly last July, he was also elected as a member of the new CBCP Permanent Council who will serve over the next two years.

As of writing, there is still no official date on when the archbishop-elect will be installed.

In the meantime, the pope has named Utleg as apostolic administrator “sede vacante” until Baccay takes canonical possession.

Pope appoints new Tuguegarao archbishop

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Addressing some misconceptions about the rosary, a church official said that the prayer is repetitive because it needs to be.

Using the analogy of saying “I love you” to someone dear, Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan stressed that the words “are the sweetest greeting of all”.

“It is not redundant to say I love you. It is never repetitious to say I love you,” Villegas said.

In the same way, he said that each time people pray the rosary, they are saying ‘I love you’ to Mary and to Jesus.

“And so it is with the Hail Mary. It is never redundant, it is never repetitious, it is never too much to repeat the Hail Mary,” Villegas said.

According to him, it is “never too much” to repeat the prayer in every mystery of the rosary “because every Hail Mary is a rose of love to the Virgin Mary and to Jesus her son”.

The archbishop underscored that the rosary is the word of God or the life of Jesus on beads.

“So when we reflect on the mysteries of the rosary, we are actually reflecting on Jesus himself, on the life of Jesus and we want that life to be ours,” he added.

His statement comes on a video reflection released on Thursday, as the Church marks October as the month of the holy rosary.

On why the Church honors the Blessed Mother, he said that God himself honored Mary, by finding her worthy to be the mother of his only son.

“So the first to honor Mary was not a mortal like you and me, the first to honor Mary was God himself. And in honoring Mary, we imitate God himself,” he also said.

Villegas invited the faithful to pray the rosary, saying that its power lies in the hands of the people.

“And if all of us can turn to Our Lady, through the rosary, we can see changes in our lives we can see wishes fulfilled, we can see peace achieved,” he said.

The rosary is repetitious, why?

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Pope Francis’ envoy to the Philippines will join hundreds of Filipino children in praying the rosary for unity and peace in the world on Oct. 25.

Archbishop Gabriele Caccia will take part in the global rosary movement with students of Don Bosco Technical Institute in Makati City.

The activity is part of the yearly “One Million Rosary Praying the Rosary” campaign which will simultaneously be held in several countries at 9am on Oct. 18.

Organized by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) International, it aims to gather children from every continent to pray the rosary for mutual harmony among nations.

In the Philippines, it will be joined by children in about 40 dioceses across the country.

ACN Philippines, however, decided to move its celebration to Oct. 25 at 8am due to the availability of the papal nuncio.

“It’s okay to hold it any day in October since the whole month is dedicated to the Holy Rosary,” said Jonathan Luciano, ACN Philippines national director.

He said that participants will also get rosaries personally blessed by Pope Francis.

The campaign came into being in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas in 2005.

ACN Philippines started the campaign in 2016 after it began its operation in Manila, as one of the two national offices in Asia.

Luciano expressed hope that the yearly activity will inspire Filipino Catholics and families to pray the rosary.

“If children don’t see their parents or elders’ praying it’s going to be very difficult for them to imbibe the importance of praying the rosary and prayer for that matter,” he added.

“Let us intensify the campaign starting with the youth. Let’s do it not only this month but even after,” Luciano also said.

Papal nuncio to join Filipino children in praying for peace

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Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Jose Alan Dialogo of the Manila archdiocese as the new bishop of Sorsogon.

The bishop-elect will succeed Bishop Arturo Bastes, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 75 last April. He served the diocese for 16 years.

Dialogo’s appointment was made public by Bastes himself during the ordination of three men to the priesthood at the Sorsogon Cathedral on Tuesday morning.

The news was supposed to be announced in Rome at 12 noon today (6pm, Manila time) but Bastes sought permission from Papal Nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia to announced it earlier.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila also announced the appointment during their clergy meeting at San Carlos Seminary in Makati City today.

Bastes said the bishop-elect originally hailed from Naga City so “he is a Bilocano himself and can speak our language at once”.

Dialogo is currently the Director of the Jaime Cardinal Sin Welcome Home, a facility for retired priests of Manila, in the city’s Sampaloc district.

In the meantime, the pope has also named Bastes as Apostolic Administrator “sede vacante” of the diocese until Dialogo formally assumes his new post.

Born in 1962 in Laganoy, Camarines Norte, Dialogo finished a degree in psychology at the Nueva Caceres University in Naga City before entering the seminary.

After his philosophy and theology courses at the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary, he was ordained priest for the Manila archdiocese in 1996.

In 1999, he also obtained his Licentiate in Spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

A priest for 23 years, he served as parochial vicar at the San Roque Parish in Mandaluyong in 1996; Vice-Rector at the EDSA Shrine in Ortigas in 2015; and parish priest at the St. John of the Cross Parish in Makati in 2018.

He also served as Dean of Seminarians and Rector at the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary in 1999 and 2003 respectively.

In 2008, he became a member of the Presbyteral Council of the Archdiocese of Manila.

No date has been announced for the episcopal ordination of Dialogo and his installation as the fifth bishop of Sorsogon.

Pope names new Sorsogon bishop


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VATICAN— Saints are people who recognized their need for God’s help, who took risks to discover God’s will and to help others and who nurtured a habit of thanksgiving, Pope Francis said.

“The culmination of the journey of faith is to live a life of continual thanksgiving. Let us ask ourselves: Do we, as people of faith, live each day as a burden, or as an act of praise?” the pope said in his homily Oct. 13 after formally declaring five new saints for the Catholic Church.

Those canonized at the Mass were: St. John Henry Newman, the British theologian, poet and cardinal who died in 1890; Brazilian St. Maria Rita Lopes Pontes, popularly known as Sister Dulce, who died in 1992; Indian St. Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan, founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family, who died in 1926; St. Marguerite Bays, a Swiss laywoman and mystic, who died in 1879; and St. Josephine Vannini, the Italian co-founder of the Daughters of St. Camillus, who died in 1911.

“Three of them were religious women,” the pope noted in his homily. “They show us that the consecrated life is a journey of love at the existential peripheries of the world.”

“St. Marguerite Bays, on the other hand, was a seamstress; she speaks to us of the power of simple prayer, enduring patience and silent self-giving,” he said.

Rather than describing St. Newman, Pope Francis quoted from him to illustrate the meaning of “the holiness of daily life”: “The Christian has a deep, silent, hidden peace, which the world sees not …. The Christian is cheerful, easy, kind, gentle, courteous, candid, unassuming; has no pretense … with so little that is unusual or striking in his bearing that he may easily be taken at first sight for an ordinary man.”

And, referencing St. Newman’s famous hymn, “Lead, Kindly Light,” the pope prayed that all Christians would be “‘kindly lights’ amid the encircling gloom.”

Tens of thousands of people filled a sunny St. Peter’s Square for the canonization ceremony and Mass. Among them were Britain’s Prince Charles, Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Martins Mourao, a member of Switzerland’s federal council and the deputy foreign minister of India.

Melissa Villalobos from Chicago also was there with her husband and children, and they brought up the offertory gifts at the Mass. Villalobos’ healing, which saved her life and the life of her unborn child, was accepted as the miracle needed for St. Newman’s canonization.

Hours before the Mass began, Holy Family Sisters Manjula and Aruna stood just outside the security checkpoint, handing out Indian flags, rosaries and prayer cards, caps and scarves with the image of their order’s founder, St. Thresia.

The new saint’s focus, and that of her order today, is assisting families, said Sister Manjula, whose ministry is “counseling and visiting houses and helping solve problems. We help all families — non-Christian, non-Catholic, anyone.”

Gregory K. Hillis, a professor of theology at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky, was representing his university at the Mass, but his presence was very personal, too.

“Newman is important to me theologically and for my spirituality,” he said. “And I like his conversion story” of how, as an Anglican priest, he became a Catholic at the age of 44. “I became a Catholic 13 years ago, and Newman was an important guide. He converted, but maintained his friendships, his respect and love for the tradition that he left.”

“I’m an ecumenical convert as well,” Hillis said. “I’m tired of converts who hate the tradition they left.”

An official delegation of Anglican bishops and priests also attended the Mass, and Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England, recorded a message for the occasion.

“His legacy is far broader than one church or two churches,” the archbishop said. “It is a global legacy, a legacy of hope and truth, of the search for God, of devotion to being part of the people of God.”

St. Newman’s role in founding the Oxford Movement in the Church of England, a push to rediscover the early Christian writers and to recover the Catholic roots of Anglicanism, “had a fundamental, lasting, beneficial and important influence on Anglicanism,” Archbishop Welby said.

As is his custom at Mass, including at canonizations, Pope Francis used his homily to reflect on the day’s Scripture readings and only made passing reference to the people being declared saints.

The day’s short Gospel reading from Luke recounted the story of 10 lepers who, seeing Jesus approach, cry out to him for healing. He tells them to go show themselves to the priests and, as they go, they are healed. But only one returns to thank Jesus.

“Like those lepers,” Pope Francis said, “we, too, need healing, each one of us. We need to be healed of our lack of confidence in ourselves, in life, in the future; we need to be healed of our fears and the vices that enslave us, of our introversion, our addictions and our attachment to games, money, television, mobile phones, to what other people think.”

The story also illustrates how, “on the journey of life, purification takes place along the way, a way that is often uphill since it leads to the heights,” he said. “Faith calls for a journey, a ‘going out’ from ourselves, and it can work wonders if we abandon our comforting certainties, if we leave our safe harbors and our cozy nests.”

And, finally, he said, the story teaches that returning to Jesus with a heart full of gratitude is the culmination of the journey of faith.

“To give thanks is not a question of good manners or etiquette; it is a question of faith,” the pope said. “To say ‘Thank you, Lord’ when we wake up, throughout the day and before going to bed, that is the best way to keep our hearts young.

“This also holds true for families, and between spouses,” he added. “Remember to say thank you. Those words are the simplest and most effective of all.”

Kindly lights in gloomy world: Pope declares five new saints

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VATICAN— The Vatican hung banners of the Catholic Church’s newly canonized saints four days before the Mass that would officially recognize that they are in heaven with God.

While the hanging of the banners Oct. 10 did not coincide with the Mass, it did coincide with the kickoff of exhibits, conferences, prayer vigils and other celebrations focused on the new saints from Brazil, England, India, Italy and Switzerland.

For the dozens of Brazilians at the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, most of the attention was on Blessed Maria Rita Lopes Pontes, popularly known as Sister Dulce.

Born in 1914, she was a member of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception and founded the first Catholic workers’ organization in the state of Bahia, started a health clinic for poor workers and opened a school for working families. She created a hospital, an orphanage and care centers for the elderly and disabled and became known as “the mother of the poor.”

St. John Paul II, who called her work “an example for humanity,” met her in 1980 during his first trip to Brazil and, returning in 1991, he visited her in the hospital. She died in 1992 at the age of 77 with tens of thousands attending her funeral and even more gathering for her beatification in 2011.

Among English-speakers, though, most of the attention was on soon-to-be St. John Henry Newman, the theologian, poet and cardinal who lived from 1801 to 1890.

Sally Axworthy, British ambassador to the Holy See, led the inauguration Oct. 10 of an exhibit about the four visits Blessed Newman made to Rome: first as an Anglican, then as a Catholic seminarian, later as founder of the first communities in England of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, and finally, when he came to be made a cardinal in 1879.

The canonization was causing a lot of excitement in England, she said, and Prince Charles was planning to travel to the Vatican for the Mass Oct. 13.

“Cardinal Newman was really a very important figure. He was a giant of the 19th century,” Axworthy said.

“The first half of his life he was Anglican, and he was a major figure in the Anglican Church,” influencing the church to draw more deeply from its Catholic roots and from the early Christian theologians, Axworthy said. “He defined Anglicanism as a middle way between Catholicism and Protestantism.”

Once he joined the Catholic Church, she said, “he had a similarly great impact” on this new community, “particularly with his ideas on the development of doctrine, which I understand opened the way to Vatican II, and also his ideas about conscience, about conscience being the voice of God in every one of us.”

Cardinal Newman already is honored as a saint on the Anglican calendar — on Aug. 11, the day of his death. His feast day on the Catholic calendar is Oct. 9, the date he joined the Catholic Church at the age of 44.

In London on the eve of Cardinal Newman’s beatification in 2010, Pope Benedict XVI said the cardinal had been an “important influence” in his own life and thought.

At the beatification Mass the next day in Birmingham, England, Pope Benedict paid special tribute to Blessed Newman’s vision of education, which combined intellectual training, moral discipline and religious commitment.

He quoted the theologian’s appeal for a well-instructed laity and said it should serve as a goal for catechists today: “I want a laity not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it.”

In addition to Blessed Newman and Blessed Dulce, the three others to be canonized Oct. 13 are:

— Blessed Marguerite Bays, a laywoman from Switzerland known for her service to the poor, her simplicity of life and her devoted faith in the face of great physical suffering. St. Bays also was known as a mystic and for bearing the stigmata of Christ. She died in 1879 at the age of 63.

St. John Paul II beatified her in 1995, lauding her as an example for all lay Catholics. “She was a very simple woman with a very normal life,” he had said. “She did not accomplish anything extraordinary, yet her existence was a long and silent progression on the path toward holiness.”

— Blessed Josephine Vannini, an Italian who co-founded the Daughters of St. Camillus, adding to the usual vows — poverty, chastity and obedience — a fourth, which is to serve the sick, even if it means risking death.

Born in 1859, she was orphaned at a young age and was sent to live with the Daughters of Charity, an order she later applied to join. After leaving the novitiate because of illness, though, she was not readmitted. She and her spiritual director, Blessed Luigi Tezza, founded the Daughters of St. Camillus. She died in 1911.

— Blessed Mariam Thresia Chiramel Mankidiyan, the Indian founder of the Congregation of the Holy Family, a religious order dedicated to helping couples and families and serving the poor, the sick and the dying. Born in 1876 to a well-off farming family, she insisted on living a life of austerity, sleeping on the gravel floor instead of a bed, for instance.

When she received the stigmata in 1909, her bishop ordered that an exorcism be performed. But she continued with her prayer life and serving local families.

Under direction of the local bishop in 1913, her spiritual director set up a “house of solitude” where Thresia could go to pray. Three friends joined her in the house, and in 1914, she received canonical permission to launch the Congregation of the Holy Family. She died in 1926.

Banners unfurled as faithful share stories of five saints

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The Archdiocese of Manila and the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Philippines will hold the Pista ng Misyon on 18 October 2019 Friday 730 am – 3 pm at the Cuneta Astrodome, Pasay City.

The Pista ng Misyon is in celebration of the Extraordinary Missionary Month (EMM) of October 2019 declared by Pope Francis.

The tone of our Pista ng Misyon on 18 October 2019 at Cuneta Astrodome will be that of every Pista – celebratory, full of thanksgiving and joy, with singing, dancing, praying and sharing of stories about God’s abiding graciousness in the ups and downs of our lives, in both the ordinary and extraordinary moments of our journey. Like any Pista we will have celebrities joining us. Ms. Cherry Pie Picache, Mr. Dindong Dantes and Ms. Marian Rivera will join His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle in our Usapang Misyon segment.

Come and celebrate with us Pista ng Misyon. Registration is free.

For walk-in Registration, kindly bring an endorsement letter from your parish priest or the head of your organization.

For Online Pre-Registration: kindly sign-in at


For Manual Pre-Registration: Kindly contact or go to

SM Megamall Chapel c/o Clark – (02) 86388801

AIRD, San Carlos Seminary, EDSA, Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City c/o Jefferson (02) 88958855 loc 132

OPNE, Arzobispado de Manila, 121 Arzobispo St, Intramuros Manila c/o Beng (02) 84050093

PMS, 824 Don Quijote St, Sampaloc, Manila c/o Sr. Sherlyn 87313208 / 87819518


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