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Rome Reports

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The state of Catholic lay missionaries worldwide


The Vatican has published the latest statistics on Catholic lay missionaries ahead of World Mission Sunday. 

According to the most recent data, there are 410,440 lay missionaries around the world. 

Since the last survey was taken in 2018, that figure has increased by 34,252. Europe, Oceania, and Africa each saw modest gains in their number of lay missionaries, while North and South America, which are recorded together, saw an increase of 33,930 lay missionaries. In Asia the number of missionaries fell by 550. 

The report does not provide details on the number of missionary priests and men and women religious, who number somewhere in the hundreds of thousands.

The report also shows that the number of Catholics worldwide is about 1.34 billion, an increase of over 15 million. Catholics make up 17.74 percent of the global population.

JM