- 1.2 Billion Catholics in the World.
- 412,236 Priests
- 721,935 Religious Sisters
- 221,055 Parishes
- 92,847 Catholic Elementary Schools with 31 million students.
- 43,591 Catholic Secondary Schools with 17 Million Students [*]
- 117,000 health care facilities, including hospitals, clinics, orphanages,” as well as “18,000 pharmacies and 512 centers” for the care of those with leprosy, all comprising 26% of the total of the world’s health care facilities. [*]
There is probably never a moment during the day in which Mass is not being celebrated somewhere on this planet, where the Liturgy of the Hours is not being celebrated. At every moment, Catholic school bells ringing, the poor and sick attended to by the Church, confessions being heard, counsel being given.
I am mindful of the words of an old hymn: The sun that bids us rest is waking, our brethren ‘neath the western sky.
Scripture also comes to mind
- Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation (Mk 16:15)
- But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
- Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (Rom 10:18)
- My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty. (Mal 1:11)
- Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness. (Psalm 48:10)
- In that day you will say: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. (Is 12:4-5)
- I am about to come and gather all nations and tongues, and they will come and see my glory. (Is 66:18)
- And many others.
Yes, the Lord has done a glorious thing. It is so common to hear the failings of the Church and of her apparent irrelevancy to the modern Western World. And she remains, by God’s grace, strong, vital and worldwide. What a marvelous thing the Lord has done.
And if perhaps the worldwide picture overwhelms, consider even the life in one diocese in this country. My cousin John Clem alerted me to the video below, from the Archdiocese of St. Louis. It pictures the life of the Church in just one Archdiocese. As the clock in the video ticks by there is not a moment where the Church is not teeming with life, by God’s grace. The video beings in the early hours of the night where religious are praying the hours and shelters and crisis centers are up and running. As the morning dawns Masses are celebrated, parishes and school come to life, hospitals and clinics hum with activity. And as evening comes, more prayer, parish meetings and and the settling in of people in shelters. And in the late hours of the night an Archbishop prays for his people. One day in an Archdiocese.
Here in the Archdiocese of Washington, we did something similar in written form, a document called Catholic Impact. In its forty pages a similar story is told of a local Church, and Archdiocese, that teems with life.
There are surely struggles in the Church about which we must be sober today. But too easily we focus on the negative, on what is wrong, and we look right past a lot of what is right, what is good, life giving, healing, vivid and true. Let this video and book remind us of that.
The Lord continues to do a marvelous work in his mystical Body, the Church.