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Rome Reports

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Catholic numbers are rising, but more missionaries are needed

Many times missionaries are the only ones remaining or the last to leave vulnerable areas around the world. They are the Catholic Church's “charity army,” composed of thousands of missionaries around the world who manage more than 216,500 educational centers and 118,000 orphanages, leprosy centers and homes for people in difficult situations.

In order to carry out this enormous task, more hands are needed. Unfortunately, from 2014-2015 alone, there were 16,700 fewer lay missionaries and a decrease in 12,400 religious sisters around the world.

Likewise, the number of priests is decreasing across the continent of Europe. Despite this, there is a vocational boom in Africa and Asia, with both countries registering more than 1,000 new priestly vocations.

However figures show these numbers could increase in the upcoming years, as the number of minor seminarians around the world increased by 1,409 men.

The Catholic Church also continues to grow. According to the latest available data for 2015 the number of Christians in the world has grown by more than 12.5 million people. In total that is about 1.3 billion people, or 17.7 percent of the world's population.