Madrid (Agenzia Fides) - May 7, Day for Native Vocations: the solidarity of the Pontifical Mission Societies in favor of vocations in the world. In mission territories there are 1,111 ecclesiastical circumscriptions (dioceses, vicariates, Prelatures) that are dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and on the aid that comes from the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS). In these churches there are currently 882 Bishops (87% natives); more than 88,000 priests and about 200,000 religious.
According to the Church’s Book of Statistics, between 2005 and 2015, the number of native priests in mission territories increased to 26,000, and that of religious to nearly 72,000. Even in the universal Church, the number of priests increased by nearly 11,000 in recent years; the number of religious people has greatly decreased. In the decade mentioned above, the number of seminarians has increased both in the universal Church and in the missionary Church (over 3,700 in the first and almost 2,300 in the second).
Young people who feel the call to religious vocation in mission territories find great difficulty in fulfilling it, due to the poverty of their countries and the cost of studies. To overcome this inconvenience, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples through the Pontifical Mission Societies (PMS) organizes an annual collection, which in Spain will be held on Sunday, May 7, on the occasion of the Day of Prayer for Native Vocations.
Thanks to the solidarity of the whole Church, the PMS distributed nearly 21 million euros in 2016 (more than 1.7 million contributions from Spain). This amount has helped to assist 60,595 seminarians and novices in Africa, as well as their formators. In Asia, aid reached 22,403 young people and formators; 471 in Oceania, and 321 in America. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 06/05/2017)