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Nearly 40% of world’s permanent deacons serve in US

June 04, 2021

An estimated 19,008 of the world’s permanent deacons (39.4%) serve in dioceses of the United States, which has 6% of the world’s Catholic population, according to a survey conducted for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

The Vatican reported in March that there are 48,238 permanent deacons worldwide.

The number of permanent deacons is increasing worldwide, and increased in the United States in 2020, even as the number of combined retirements and deaths exceeded the number of ordinations in the US.

“During the 2020 calendar year, 587 new permanent deacons were ordained in responding arch/dioceses,” according to the American study. “At the same time, 410 deacons retired from active ministry and another 378 deacons died.”

Likewise, “the number of permanent deacons reported [worldwide] . . . was up 1.5% over the previous year. The vast majority—97%—of the world’s permanent deacons live in the Americas and in Europe.”


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