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By our own correspondent

Vatican, 18 October 2020 -- As for every year on the third Sunday of October the Catholic Church celebrates (this year already for the 94th time) World Mission Sunday. In some of the EAO provinces this also an occasion to celebrate the Salesian Mission Day together. This Sunday comes in the middle of the Salesian Missionary Month (Philippines North-Malaysia: FIN).

In his Message for World Mission Sunday, Pope Francis comes straight to the point with his invitation to make our own these words of scripture: "Lord, here I am, send me!" (Isaiah 6:8). His reminder goes to the heart: “The mission, the ‘Church on the move’, is not a programme, an enterprise to be carried out by sheer force of will. It is Christ who makes the Church go out of herself. In the mission of evangelization, you move because the Holy Spirit pushes you, and carries you”.

Again we are invited to breath more with the truly Catholic - Universal Church: the statistics offered by the Congregation for Evangelization (Prefect Card. Antonio Luis Tagle) speak loudly: our worldwide Catholic family is growing! If you take the few pages of the Catholic Dossier 2020, you may be encouraged, you may be inspired or you may be invited - to give your hand to share the Gospel, to be more committed for vocations or simple to pray for frontline (esp. Salesian!) missionaries around the Globe.

Since the previous year there are 15.6 millions more baptized Catholics, making a total of 1,329 billions (=17.73% of the global human population).

The good news is how the Gospel of Jesus is shared through Catholic education and health institutions: 73,164 kindergartens with 7,376,858 pupils; 103,146 primary schools with 35,011,999 pupils; 49,541 secondary schools with 19,307,298 pupils. The Church also cares for 2,251,600 high school pupils, and 3,707,559 university students. Charity and healthcare centres run by Catholics include: 5,192 hospitals, 15,481 clinics, 577 Care Homes for people with Leprosy, 15,423 Homes for the elderly, or the chronically ill or people with a disability, 9,295 orphanages, 10,747 creches, 12,515 marriage counselling centres, 3,225 social rehabilitation centres and 31,091 other kinds of institutes.

The geography of Catholic vocations has not changed: decrease in priestly and religious vocations as well in number of seminarians in Europe and the American continent, while Africa and Asia are growing. Total number of priests is decreasing to 414,065 while major seminarians are growing (+552) to 115,880 units and minor seminarians are decreasing for the third consecutive year by 617 units to a total of 100,164 units.

Global numbers of major seminarians is growing (+552) to 115,880 (= diocesan and religious), while the number of minor seminarians is diminishing (-617) to 100,164 (total of diocesan and religious).

Interestingly while the total number of diocesan priests is growing (+64) and religious priests are diminishing (-581), the number of major religious seminarians is growing (+1299) together with minor seminarians (+204) around the world.

Let's give hand to the growth of missionary and vocation culture in our hearts and our Salesian houses!

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