Pope Benedict has confirmed the dates for his Papal visits to Africa in March and to the Holy Land in May. He also asked for the spiritual support of all on these apostolic journeys.

During his Angelus address in St. Peters Square on Sunday, the Pope spoke about his forthcoming visits to Africa and the Holy Land. From March 17th to 23rd, the Holy Father said he would be going to Cameroon and then to Angola to demonstrate his closeness and that of the Church to the Christians and populations of that continent, which, he added, was particularly dear to him.

And looking towards his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which he confirmed would to be from May 8th to 15th, he said he would ask the Lord, in visiting the places sanctified by His earthly passage, for the precious gift of unity and peace for the Middle East and for all humanity. He also asked for the spiritual support of all on these apostolic journeys.

Catholic Church in Cameroon and Angola

VATICAN CITY, 3 MAR 2009 (VIS)

For the occasion of Benedict XVI’s forthcoming apostolic trip to Cameroon and Angola, due to take place from 17 to 23 March, statistics have been published concerning the Catholic Church in those two African countries. The information, updated to 31 December 2007, comes from the Central Statistical Office of the Church.

The Republic of Cameroon, the capital city of which is Yaounde, has a population of 18,160,000 of whom 4,842,000 (26.7 percent) are Catholic. There are 24 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 816 parishes and 3,630 pastoral centres of other kinds. Currently, there are 31 bishops, 1,847 priests, 2,478 religious, 28 lay members of secular institutes and 18,722 catechists. Minor seminarians number 2,249 and major seminarians 1,361.

A total of 410,964 students attend 1,530 centres of Catholic education, from kindergartens to universities. Other institutions belonging to the Church or run by priests or religious in Cameroon include 28 hospitals, 235 clinics, 11 homes for the elderly or disabled, 15 orphanages and nurseries, 40 family counselling centres and other pro-life centres, 23 centres for education and social rehabilitation, and 32 institutions of other kinds.

The Republic of Angola, the capital city of which is Luanda, has a population of 15,473,000 of whom 8,600,000 (55.6 percent) are Catholic. There are 18 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 307 parishes and 2,976 pastoral centres of other kinds. Currently, there are 27 bishops, 794 priests, 2,276 religious, 5 lay members of secular institutes and 30,934 catechists. Minor seminarians number 1,031 and major seminarians 1,236.

A total of 226,798 students attend 481 centres of Catholic education, from kindergartens to universities. Other institutions belonging to the Church or run by priests or religious in Cameroon include 23 hospitals, 269 clinics, 16 homes for the elderly or disabled, 45 orphanages and nurseries, 37 family counselling centres and other pro-life centres, 28 centres for education and social rehabilitation, and 41 institutions of other kinds.