catholic church

Nearly 50,000 baptisms registered in China in 2017, says Vatican agency

The Catholic Church in China registered 48,556 baptisms in 2017, according to a report by Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. In this Dec. 24, 2006, file photo, a man is baptized during a Christmas Eve Mass on the outskirts of Xining in northwestern China's Qinghai province.

VATICAN CITY — The Catholic Church in China registered 48,556 baptisms in 2017, reflecting the vitality and missionary strength of the Catholic communities there, according to a report by Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

The figures likely are incomplete, however, given the difficulty of procuring data from Catholic communities in the rural parts of China, the report said.

Church welcomes thousands at ‘mother of all vigils’

WASHINGTON — During what the Roman Missal describes as the "mother of all vigils," the U.S. Catholic Church welcomed thousands of new Catholics at the Easter Vigil April 15 in churches big and small across the country.

About 60 of the nearly 200 dioceses in the United States reported numbers of catechumens and candidates entering the church in 2017 to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington. The Archdiocese of St. Louis reports numbers later in the year, after parishes submit statistics.

DEAR FATHER | The Church supports the faithful in painful situations of divorce

A couple enters into marriage with great joy and hope for the future. When a marriage declines and ends in divorce, it's a painful event on so many levels. What makes it even more painful for a Catholic is the feeling that, because of this divorce, a divorcee can no longer be part of the Church at the time her support is most needed.

The Church, however, is still there for a person in this situation. As at other painful moments in life, the Church is there as the field hospital we need when we are wounded by sins or human ugliness.

GUEST COLUMNIST | Racism and the soul of the Church

Dorothy Dempsey

Thousands of people all over the world feel their lives are in shambles. They feel abandoned, with no one to whom to turn and no place to go. The Church has provided a strong point to hold on to for many who have lost their way.

The Church has always stood strong as the foundation God built. If not for the Church, our souls are without anchor and lost at sea.

POPE'S MESSAGE | All wars begin in a jealous heart; let go of pride, env

Pope Francis greeted inmates from a detention and treatment center in Eboli, Italy, during his general audience Oct. 22 in St. Peter’s Square.

VATICAN CITY -- All wars begin in the human heart -- a heart that is jealous and bitter and tears apart communities through misunderstandings and marginalization, Pope Francis said.

"How wonderful if we would remember more often who we are, what Jesus Christ did with us: We are his body," members of the church filled with the Holy Spirit's gift of new life in Christ and united in fellowship and love, he said at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square Oct. 22.

POPE'S MESSAGE | Use gifts to benefit Church, not create division, envy, annoyance

Pope Francis greeted Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI during an encounter for the elderly Sept. 28 in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.

VATICAN CITY -- Everyone has a special gift to offer the whole Church, just make sure it is used to serve everyone and not to puff up one's own pride or to create division, Pope Francis said.

"It is a gift that God has given to someone not because he or she is a better person than someone else or because she or he deserves it," the pope said at his weekly general audience Oct. 1 in St. Peter's Square.

God gives gifts freely, out of love, so that they can be "put at the service of the whole community for the good of all people," he said.

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