The data for 2020 included in the annual ICCS statistics show a clear continuity in the activities of Catholic structures and organizations in Poland: parishes, dioceses and religious orders – said Fr. Wojciech Sadłoń PhD, SAC, director of the Institute for Catholic Church Statistics, during a press conference at which the latest research results were presented.

According to the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesia in Polonia, 2020 saw pastoral activity in Poland carried out by 10 361 Catholic parishes, of which 661 were religious parishes (including 1 Byzantine Catholic parish and 2 parishes belonging to the Military Ordinariate of Poland). This means that the number of parishes remains practically constant. The largest number of parishes were located in the dioceses of Tarnów, Kraków and Poznań.

The ICCS Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesia in Polonia for the year shows that last year 24,208 priests were incardinated into the Polish dioceses, which is 2% less than in the previous year. The greatest number of priests was in the dioceses of Tarnów (1,535), Kraków (1,159) and Katowice (1,030). The smallest dioceses in terms of the number of priests (not including the Military Ordinariate of Poland) were: Drohiczyn (257), Elbląg (273) and Ełk (313). The number of diocesan alumni in 2020 was 1.6 thousand. Most diocesan alumni were prepared for priestly ordination in the dioceses of Warsaw (124), Tarnów (118) and Poznań (84).

In turn, according to the data of the Council of  Major Superiors of Women Religious in Poland, 2,071 houses of active congregation operated in 2020, with a total of 16.8 thousand nuns. This means a decrease in the number of sisters by 2.5%. The total of active female congregations was 105. The most numerous female orders in Poland are: Congregation of the Sisters Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Stara Wieś, Sisters of Saint Elizabeth and the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. Nearly 1.9 thousand religious sisters in 2020 worked abroad.

According to the data on male congregations, last year the number of religious and members of societies of apostolic life totalled 11,000. (including 80% ordained priests). Compared to the previous year, the number of religious decreased by 1.4%. 26.5% of religious from Polish provinces stayed abroad. The most numerous male congregations in 2020 were the Franciscans, Salesians and Pallottines.

Fr. Sadłoń SAC admitted that the presented annual statistics indicate that the Covid-19 epidemic has limited pastoral activities and number of performed sacraments.

In 2020, the sacrament of baptism was administered to 312.1 thousand. people, which is 16.3% less compared to 2019. 252.3 thousand people received Confirmation, i.e. 34.0% less than in the previous year. The number of marriage sacraments in 2020 was 91.5 thousand, i.e. 26.8% less than in 2019. In turn, the number of people receiving the First Holy Communion increased and amounted to 298 thousand. people, i.e. by 49 thousand more than in the previous year (which constitutes 20%).

„The epidemic also triggered the process of adaptation and changes in the forms of pastoral ministry, including the celebrated sacraments,” noted Fr. Sadłoń SAC.

The data contained in the Statistical Yearbook of the Catholic Church in Poland also showed that for the 2020/21 school year, 85.7% of students attended religion classes in all types of educational institutions. The highest percentage of students attending religion classes at school was recorded in the dioceses of Tarnów (97.8%), Przemyśl (97.5%) and Rzeszów (97.1%), and the lowest in the diocese of Wrocław (65.7%), Poznań (69%) and Warsaw (69.5%).

In addition, in 2020, there were 2,437 family life guidance centres that cooperated with 4,000 advisers. There were also 173 specialist Catholic family guidance centres in the dioceses, which in total provided support to over 31,000. people.

Press Office of the Polish Bishops’ Conference

Translation: A.Z. Warchoł / Office for Foreign Communication of the Polish Bishops’ Conference