Catholics in Mali Print
Written by Sherry   
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 22:10
Two thirds of the Christians in the west African nation of Mali are Catholic and the Catholic News Service did a nice article on them a few days ago. (

The 232,000 Catholics have 100 local priests and some missionary priests and sisters.

“There are catechists and as everywhere in Africa, they too are extremely important,” says the Bishop of Mali. (Sherry's note: there are about 30,000 Catholic priests in the whole of Africa for 137 million Catholics or 4,566 Catholics per priest. So the 358,000 catechists (382 Catholics/catechist) make an enormous difference.)

Lay Catholics are called to bear witness to the Gospel at work, with honesty, sincere and disinterested promotion of the common good. I am happy to say that I have heard non-Catholics say that we do not impose the Gospel, we live it.”

At the same time, the bishop says he reminds priests, religious and lay people that the Gospel must be announced. “I remember visiting a forest dispensary run by a religious order, an indispensable structure for several thousand people. I asked the people working there: Why are you here? Do you tell your patients why you care for them? The replies were somewhat reticent, almost as if not to hurt the feelings of non-Catholics.

“We must explain that we are animated by the Spirit of the Gospel: we do not want to impose our faith, but we do want to announce it,” he said. “The Church is not a non-governmental organization; it is at the service of the proclamation of the Word.”