The Church in the Czech Republic may now be free, but a majority of the population have grown up in atheism and are far from the faith. At the same time, there are more and more young families who are discovering the faith, and more and more young adults seeking baptism. Good priests are urgently needed to help the people find their way to God, who for many generations under communism was denied to them or torn from their hearts.
It was only 30 years ago that the religious institute the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matarà was founded in Argentina. Since then, it has spread throughout the world, with 160 convents in 35 different countries on all five continents of the globe – such is the measure of its success to date.
In Northeast India, the Catholic Church is still relatively young. In 2016, she celebrated 120 years of ministry here, but in many parts of this region, Catholic missionaries were only able to enter during the second half of the 20th century. This is an isolated and underdeveloped area, marked by political unrest and conflicts, by deep poverty and many other problems. But the Church here is very much alive and vital; now there are almost 2 million Catholics in the region, while the number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life is growing.
The Catholic Church Africa is something of a record holder – one in every nine priests, one in every four seminarians and one in every six lay Catholics in the world are coming from this continent! Many of the seminaries are bursting at the seams, and – in contrast to other parts of the world – the number of priests is actually growing year by year.
The Apostolic Vicariate of Yurimaguas in the east of Peru is mostly in the Amazon rain forest, in an area that is home to various different indigenous Indian groups. The 224,000 or so Catholics in this region live scattered over an area greater than many small European countries. There are just 25 priests to care for them, and these priest all face long, difficult and dangerous journeys as part of their mission.