Madrid (Agenzia Fides) - "On this day we pray for the missionaries but also for many of our Latin American brothers and sisters who have come to live among us, enriching our society with their cultural traditions and their often more cordial and more sensitive way of living the faith": writes the Archbishop of Tarragona, Mgr. Jaume Pujol Balcells in his letter to the faithful, sent to Agenzia Fides, on the occasion of the Hispanic American Day (Día de la Hispanoamerica) which the Spanish Church celebrates Sunday, March 4, this year on the theme "Young Churches, Joy and Hope". The Hispanic Day is the biggest national holiday of the year for all the international communities of the world that speak Spanish. Hispanidad is the community formed by peoples and nations that share the Hispanic language and culture.The 23 nations that are part of it are all Spanish-speaking, with the exception of the Philippines. The Day, which began in 1959, intends to foster the bonds of fraternity and communion among the Spanish-speaking countries and to remember the thousands of religious, priests and laity who crossed the ocean from Europe to bring the Gospel to America.
Archbishop Jaume Pujol recalls that, in the globalized world, mission today takes place in both directions and underlines: "We have brought a lot to America from here, but there is also a lot that today is returned to Europe that seems aged". With regards to the theme of immigration, the Archbishop invites "to leave aside fears". "I want to thank - the Archbishop writes - many immigrants from Latin America for the priceless service they provide to the elderly, taking care of them in their homes or accompanying them when they go out on the street. The spiritual enrichment is mutual and abundant", he concludes.
Currently according to the Pontifical Yearbook of 2017 and the Statistical Yearbook of the Church 2015 out of 1.28 million Catholics worldwide (17.7% of the world population) almost half (49%) live in America and 480 million of them in Latin American countries. In addition, the two countries with the largest number of Catholics in the world are Brazil with 172 million and Mexico with 110.9 million. (L.G.) (Agenzia Fides, 3/3/2018)