VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Catholic Church in China
registered 48,556 baptisms in 2017, reflecting the vitality and missionary
strength of the Catholic communities there, according to a report by Fides, the
news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
likely are incomplete, however, given the difficulty of procuring data
from Catholic communities in the rural parts of China, the report said.
But the numbers still "reflect the vitality and the
missionary dynamism of a community that fully lives faith," said the
organization conducting the annual survey: the Faith Institute for Cultural Studies, a church-run
organization based in Shijiazhuang. Fides republished the organization's findings
The province of Hebei -- which consistently has the highest
number of baptisms each year of all the Chinese provinces -- topped the list
again with 11,899 baptisms, the
report said. The Archdiocese of Beijing registered 1,099 baptisms, while the Diocese of Ningxia
had 128 new Catholics baptized. China's northwest autonomous region of Xinjiang,
where the majority of the population is Muslim, registered 66 baptisms. The Qinghai
province had 54 baptisms, and isolated communities such as Hainan Island in
southern China and Tibet had 38 and 11 baptisms, respectively.
"In spite of the encouraging figures and the great
missionary commitment in local communities throughout China, we must always
feel called to a renewed missionary commitment," said the Faith Institute
for Cultural Studies.
"Evangelization in China is a long and difficult path
to carry out," it said. The organization also pointed out that its data
represented "an invitation and a call because we must strengthen our faith
and always go forward on our journey toward Christ."
The organization encouraged all of the Catholic communities of
China to maintain and continually improve upon their archives and parish
registers so that a more complete set data can be collected in the future. It
concluded by saying that its data is a means "to see the growth of the church
and the work of evangelization accomplished by Christ."