Tim Drake is an award-winning writer and former journalist and radio host with the National Catholic Register/EWTN. He currently serves as New Evangelization Coordinator for the Holdingford Area Catholic Community in the Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota. He resides with his wife and five children in St. Joseph, Minn.
The 2009 Official Catholic Kenedy Directory is out, and it contains some hopeful news. Among its statistics is the fact that there are 68.1 million Catholics in the U.S. That’s an increase of about 1 million from the previous year, making Catholics 22% of the U.S. population.
In 2008 there were 887,145 infant baptisms, 42,629 adult baptisms, and 81,775 baptized Christians who entered full communion with the Church.
Among the directory’s other findings, there are 41,489 diocesan and religious order priests, 60,715 religious sisters, 4,905 religious brothers and 16,935 permanent deacons. The Kenedy Directory lists 18,674 parishes, including 91 new parishes, and 189 seminaries with 4,973 students.
More than 722,000 students are in high school religious education programs, while more than 3 million are in elementary school religious education.
There are 6,133 Catholic elementary schools and 1.6 million students. The country’s 1,341 Catholic high schools educate more than 674,000 students, while 234 Catholic colleges and universities serve more than 795,000 students.
U.S. Catholic hospitals number 562 and serve almost 85.3 million patients, while 3009 Catholic social service centers assist 27.2 million people annually.
According to a press release from the U.S. bishops’ conference, Catholic organizations in the United States provide an estimated $28.2 billion in services through institutions represented by the Catholic Health Association ($5.7 billion), Catholic Charities USA ($3.5 billion) and the National Catholic Education Association ($19.8 billion).
These figures do not include assistance provided through parishes and other organizations such as the Knights of Columbus.