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Vatican statistics show modest, steady church growth worldwide

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The number of Catholics in the world and the number of priests and permanent deacons rose slightly in 2013 while the number of men and women in religious orders declined, according to Vatican statistics.

For the second year in a row, the number of candidates for the priesthood also decreased.

The numbers come from the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, which was completed in February and published in March. The yearbook reported worldwide church figures as of Dec. 31, 2013.

Nigerian bishops visit refugees in Cameroon who fled Boko Haram

A delegation representing Catholic organizations in Nigeria offered words of comfort and pledged help for Nigerian refugees who fled to neighboring Cameroon because of a violent insurgency.

Led by Bishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji of Umuahia, chairman of Caritas Nigeria, the fact-finding delegation visited Minawao Camp in Maroua, Cameroon, in mid-March to meet with some of the estimated 36,000 Nigerians who have sought safety in recent weeks.

The visit was arranged after the Cameroonian bishops' conference approached the Nigerian bishops about the plight of the refugees.

Pope Francis erects diocese of Nogales, Mexico, just south of U.S.

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Pope Francis has erected a diocese in northern Mexico, located along the border of Arizona.

The diocese of Nogales is in the northern part of Sonora state and includes territory from the archdiocese of Hermosillo, Mexico, the Vatican announced Thursday.

The pope appointed Bishop Jose Leopoldo Gonzalez Gonzalez, 60, to head the new diocese. He had been auxiliary bishop of the Guadalajara archdiocese.

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May 22-June 4, 2015

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