By UCA News
The number of Catholics in Hong Kong has passed the 590,000 mark, an increase of some 5,000 over 2015, the latest statistics released by the Hong Kong Catholic Church Directory 2017 published in January this year indicate.
The latest calculation by the diocese shows that as of August 2016, there were around 591,000 Catholics in Hong Kong. Among them 389,000 local residents are listed, the Sunday Examiner website reports.
Among temporary Catholic residents, Filipinos form by far the majority. The diocese estimates there were 166,000 Filipino Catholics in Hong Kong in addition to 36,000 from other nationalities.
A total of 6,633 people were baptized in 2016. In each of the past six years, more than 6,000 people have been baptized.
Of the over 6,000 newly-baptized every year, adults account for around 50 per cent.
Victoria Au Bing-sum, secretary of the Central Council of Catholic Laity, told the Kung Kao Po, the Catholic newspaper, that the steady growth in the number of newly-baptized people far outstrips the growth in Sunday Mass attendance.
Au said this needs to be looked at and suggests a strengthening of personal spiritual formation and that catechists pave the way by encouraging people to join parish groups.
Father Simon Li Chi-yuen from St. Benedict’s Church in Shatin said although the number of Catholics has increased every year, the number of priests has remained more or less the same.
Statistics show there were 288 priests, 469 sisters and 29 deacons as at August 2016, as well as 58 brothers, 24 seminarians and 28 novices in Hong Kong Diocese.