By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Even though most Papal visits take place amidst huge throngs of thousands of the faithful, the Pope’s upcoming trip to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Territories will present a much different picture because of the tiny populations of Catholics in these predominantly Muslim areas.
According to the Central Statistical Office of the Church, there are 109,000 Catholics living in Jordan (1.91% of the population) with four bishops, 103 priests and 258 religious. Seven men are currently studying for the priesthood.
Jordan also has 123 Catholic schools and two Church-run Catholic hospitals along with a family counseling center three centers for education and social rehabilitation.
Catholics comprise 1.81 percent of the population of Israel and the Palestinian Territories. There are seventy-eight parishes in the region with eleven bishops, 406 priests, 1,171 religious and one lay missionary. There are fourteen minor seminarians and 110 major seminarians.
There are 192 centers of Catholic education in the area ranging from kindergartens to universities. Other institutions belonging to the Church or run by priests or religious in this area include eleven hospitals, ten clinics, nine homes for the elderly or disabled, eleven orphanages and nurseries, four centers for education and social rehabilitation, and two institutions of other kinds.
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