of Catholics and permanent deacons in the world has shown steady growth, while
the number of religious men and women continued to decrease, according to
At the end of 2019, the worldwide Catholic population exceeded 1.34 billion, which continued to be about 17.7% of the world’s population, ( March 26 Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano).
It marked an increase of 16 million Catholics — a 1.12% increase compared to 2018 while the world’s population grew by 1.08%.
of Catholics increased in every continent except
At the end
of 2019, 48.1% of the world’s Catholics were living in the
number of priests — diocesan and religious order — around the world slightly
increased. The largest increases were
seen in Africa and Asia, with a growth of 3.45% and 2.91%, respectively,
followed by Europe with a 1.5% increase and the
At the end
of 2019, 40.6% of the world’s priests were serving in Europe, while 28% of
priests were in Africa and
The number of candidates for the priesthood — both diocesan seminarians and members of religious orders — showed a continued slight decline worldwide, decreasing from 115,880 at the end of 2018 to 114,058 in 2019, a change of -1.6%.
of permanent deacons reported — 48,238 — was up 1.5% over the previous year.
The vast majority — 97% — of the world’s permanent deacons live in the
The number of brothers in religious orders continued its small yet steady decline worldwide from 50,941 in 2018 to 50,295 in 2019.
The number of women in religious orders showed an ongoing downward trend with a 1.8% decrease, going from 641,661 women in 2018 to 630,099 in 2019.
Obviously we need to pray for more men to the priesthood who will minister to the increase in population, as well as more religious who can instruct the young and for better Catholic education in the family.
Artwork: Anthony Falbo