As Pope Benedict begins his apostolic trip to Brazil, from May 9 to 14, tiday, the Church there has released the following statistics, last collated on December 31, 2005. Brazil has a population of 184,180 million, of whom 155,628 million (84.5 percent) are Catholic. There are 269 ecclesiastical circumscriptions, 9,504 parishes and 36,729 pastoral centres of other kinds. Currently there are 427 bishops, 18,087 diocesan and regular priests, 2,676 male religious, 33,765 female religious, 2,015 lay members of secular institutes, 72,704 lay missionaries and 492,370 catechists. Minor seminarians number 3,858, and major seminarians 9,450. A total of 2,472,348 children and young people attend 6,073 centres of Catholic education, from kindergartens to universities. Other charitable and social institutions belonging to the Church, or run by priests or religious in Brazil include 366 hospitals, 1,013 clinics, 764 homes for the elderly or disabled, 1,942 orphanages and nurseries, 2,159 family counselling centres and other pro-life centres, and 2,830 centres for education and social rehabilitation. Source: VIS
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