Permanent Deacons Increase by 17%
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WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 10, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The number of permanent deacons rose 17% in the period 1998 to 2001, while data show that half the world's deacons are in the United States.
Among the continents, only Asia experienced a decrease. Worldwide, in 2002 there were about 28,000 permanent deacons, including 13,764 in the United States.
The latest worldwide statistics were compiled by the International Diaconate Center in Rottenburg, Germany. They were released in the United States by the bishops' Committee on the Diaconate.
The study showed that Africa has 361 deacons in 28 countries, up from 331 deacons in 25 countries in 1998, an overall percentage of increase of 9%.
In the Americas, there are 18,371 deacons in 33 countries, a 15% increase since 1998.
The rate of increase has remained fairly constant for the United States (10%) and Canada (11%). Increasing numbers of dioceses in Canada are examining the possibility of restoring the permanent diaconate.
Australia and Oceania had 180 deacons in 16 countries, a 13% increase since 1998.
In Europe there are 9,198 deacons in 35 countries. In 1998 there were 7,408 deacons in 34 countries. In an exception, the number of deacons in Poland decreased by 59%.