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.
“You are the hope of this 2000-year-old Church of ours: being young in faith, you must be like the first Christians and radiate enthusiasm and courage…You will also be a leaven of missionary spirit for the older Churches.” Saint John Paul II
In Africa, the number of Catholics is growing faster than the Muslim population. The Catholic Church is also growing at a faster rate than other Christian denominations: since 1980 Africa’s Catholic population has more than tripled to 200 million. But, above all, the growth and enthusiasm of the faith in Africa is a beacon of hope for the continent and the world at large.
There are still a number of foreign missionaries living and working in Ghana today. One of them, Franciscan Father Martino Corazzin has been working there ever since 1991, and by now he has built many churches and schools and sponsored numerous social and pastoral projects over the years.
Sheraton-Heliopolis is the name of a newer suburb of Cairo, one that did not even exist a few decades ago. The Catholic Church has established a pastoral center here, named the Diakonia Development Center, to serve the various pastoral and social needs of the Catholic parish community.
In January 2017, the coastal region of northern Mozambique was battered for five long days by a severe cyclone. The tropical storm brought heavy rainfall and devastated large swathes of the countryside in two of the coastal provinces of this country in southeast Africa, already one of the poorest in the world. Thousands of homes were destroyed, and countless people left homeless.
In Algeria, the birthplace of Saint Augustine, there are approximately 5,000 Catholics living today. Algeria, in Northwest Africa, is the largest country in Africa, with an area of almost 930,000 square miles – around one quarter the size of the United States. Close to 97% of its 36.5 million inhabitants are Muslims.