Church Welcomes New Members

Record Number in Hong Kong

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ROME, APRIL 16, 2012 (Zenit.org).- This Easter, 3,500 adult catechumens in Hong Kong were received into the Catholic Church.

In his Easter Pastoral Letter 2012, Cardinal John Tong of Hong Kong thanked those who had helped prepare them, Asia News reported.

The Diocese of Hong Kong has 39 paid catechists and more than 1,500 voluntary catechists, according to statistics published last August. The Catholic population of Hong Kong is made up of 363,000 Chinese and 138,000 non-Chinese.

Meanwhile, in England and Wales more than 3,500 adults were received into the Catholic Church at Easter, the Catholic Herald reported.

The number was made up of 1,397 catechumens, who were baptized, and 1,843 candidates, who had already been baptized in another Christian church.

The largest group was in the Diocese of Westminster, with 734, followed by Southwark, with 481. The total of 3,695 also included those who had joined the ordinariate.

Among those entering the ordinariate was Reverend Donald Minchew, who left his Anglican church of St. Michael’s and All Angels.

According to a report in the Telegraph newspaper he decided to leave the Anglican Communion because he disagreed with a number of changes, including the ordination of female priests and bishops. Around 70 of his parishioners followed him to enter the ordinariate.

Significant numbers also entered the Church in the United States. In the Diocese of Orange, California, 921 new Catholics were baptized and 668 already-baptized Christians were received into full communion into the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil, stated a press release by the diocese.

In Baltimore just over 700 new Catholics entered the Catholic Church during the Easter Vigil. The total of 702 people was made up of 252 catechumens, who were baptized and 450 candidates already baptized in another Christian community. The number of individuals to be baptized Catholic is a 10% increase over last year.