Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - There were 48,556 newly baptized in 2017 in mainland China. The statistics published by "Faith Cultural Society" on the eve of the Chinese New Year, and sent to Agenzia Fides, "are not complete", says Faith, due to the lack of data on the Catholic communities living in remote rural areas, but "reflect the vitality and the missionary dynamism of a community that fully lives faith".
According to data sent to Agenzia Fides, the province of He Bei, a stronghold of Chinese Catholicism, for the umpteenth time is first with its 11.899 baptized. Among these, the Xing Tai community had 3,645 baptized and the diocese of Han Dan 3.059. Moreover, even the isolated community in the province of Hai Nan had 38 baptized. In the area that records a high number of Muslim population as the autonomous administration of Xin Jiang (in western China), there were 66 baptisms, while 128 are those of the province of Ning Xia and 54 in Qing Hai. Even the small Catholic community in Tibet, immersed in the Tibetan Buddhist environment, welcomed 11 new Catholics. In the diocese of Beijing, 1,099 were baptized.
According to the Faith Cultural Society, "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. Evangelization in China is a long and difficult path to carry out". At the same time, the statistics published represent "an invitation and a call because we must strengthen our faith and always go forward on our journey towards Christ".
Faith finally invites all communities to improve and keep their archives and parish registers in order, so that they can always have sure data and clearly tell the story of their community, but also that of the entire Church in China. The data on baptisms, concludes Faith, also constitute a way "to see the growth of the Church and the work of evangelization accomplished by Christ". (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 15/02/2018)