CHURCH IN NUMBERS AFTER 1050 YEARS
FR. PAWEŁ RYTEL-ANDRIANIK, A SPOKESMAN OF THE POLISH EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE
‘Poles did not only accept Christianity, but they also created and create it’ – wrote Polish bishops in a message after the last plenary meeting. It is seen in various areas of religious and social life. According to survey of the Main Statistic Office and Institute of Catholic Church Statistics carried out for the 1050th anniversary of Poland Baptism, in 2014 in our Homeland there were over 32.9 million Catholics in over 10 340 parishes. At present there are about 31 thousand priests, over 20 thousand nuns and about 1 thousand monks. In the years 2008-14 a permanent per cent (about 16 per cent) of people receiving the Holy Communion was registered, and there is a constant number of attendants of the Holy Mass on Sunday (about 40 per cent). We can be glad that there have been announced 34 saints and 225 blessed from our Homeland till 2014. So, Poland is one of countries which has got the most saints and blessed all over the world.
In our history parishes and monasteries are a place of care about the spirit and body. Practically till XVIII century church institutions were the main, and sometimes the only place of education and social care. In XVIII century about 60 per cent of parishes in Lesser Poland had their so-called ‘hospital’, that is, a house of social care. At the same times about 40 per cent of parishes in our country had their own schools. After the war, in 1946, Caritas ran 256 hospitals. At present the Catholic Church is the biggest charity institution in Poland.
Numbers speak a lot. They show how much Christianity cares about the human being, because – as St. John Paul II used to say – the human being is a road of the Church.