IN CELEBRATION OF THE 92ND WORLD MISSION SUNDAY, Agenzia Fides has released a report announcing that the Church had grown by 14 million faithful since 2015.
In 2016, the world population stood at around 7.35 billion people, which was an increase of about 103 million from the previous year. Of the entire human population, nearly 1.3 billion people recognize themselves as Catholic, which is nearly 18% of the world’s population. Increases in the Catholic population were observed in all continents, except for Europe, which for the third consecutive year dropped by about 240,000. The continent which demonstrated the greatest Catholic growth was Africa, with over six million new Catholics in 2016.
This year, the number of Catholics per priest increased by 39, to an average of 3,130 per priest. This suggests the church is still in great need of vocations. The total number of priests in the world totals about 415,000.
Members of both male and female secular institutes both saw decreases across the world in 2016, except in Africa. Missionaries, on the other hand, rose by about 3,000 worldwide. Sadly, the number of catechists worldwide decreased by nearly 37,000, with America losing more than 20,000.
The number of diocesan seminarians rose by nearly 1,000. Religious seminarians took a hit in all continents except for Africa, which saw more than 1,000 vocations in both their religious and diocesan seminarians.
Let us continue to pray to the Lord of the vineyard to send workers into his vineyard.
J.P. Mauro, The World Population of Catholics Increased by 14 Million. Aleteia.com, October 22, 2018