CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 November 2018

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Nearly 50,000 baptisms in China

VATICAN (CNS): The Catholic Church in China registered 48,556 baptisms in 2017, according to a February 15 report by Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
 
The figures are likely incomplete, given the difficulty of procuring data from Catholic communities in the rural parts of China, report said.
 
However, the numbers still “reflect the vitality and the missionary dynamism of a community that fully lives faith,” said the Faith Institute for Cultural Studies in Shijiazhuang, China, the organization that conducts the annual survey.
 
The province of Hebei—which consistently has the highest number of baptisms each year of all the Chinese provinces—topped the list again with 11,899 baptisms, the report said. The Archdiocese of Beijing registered 1,099 baptisms, while the Diocese of Ningxia saw 128 new Catholics baptised. 
 
China’s northwest autonomous region of Xinjiang, where the majority of the population is Muslim, registered 66 baptisms. The Qinghai province had 54 baptisms, and isolated communities such as Hainan Island in southern China and Tibet had 38 and 11 baptisms.
 
“In spite of the encouraging figures and the great missionary commitment in local communities throughout China, we must always feel called to a renewed missionary commitment,” said the Faith Institute for Cultural Studies.
 
The organisation encouraged all Catholic communities of China to maintain and continually improve upon their archives and parish registers so that a more complete set of data can be collected in the future. 
 
It concluded by saying that its data is a means “to see the growth of the Church and the work of evangelisation accomplished by Christ.”

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