In Northern Europe, the Catholic Church only has a historically established presence in Lithuania. There, Catholics form the majority at 80% of the population, but the Church is poor and still depends on aid. In countries like Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden, most Catholics come from abroad and are often scattered across the country. Although the countries in Northern Europe are rich, the diaspora situation means that the local churches find it difficult to fulfil their tasks on their own. We contribute by strengthening pastoral care and spiritual welfare in these countries.
» The needs of local churches in Northern Europe must not be lost sight of. «
As Catholics represent the minority in most of Northern Europe, they have a difficult time. Nevertheless, the faithful are full of hope. In Iceland, for example, there are 13,500 Catholics, most of them are immigrants and speak more than 100 different languages. Of Iceland’s approximately 357,000 inhabitants, they form a minority of 3.8%. But due to the increasing number of immigrants, the number of believers is steadily growing. Just 50 years ago, only about 1,000 Catholics lived on the island.
One focus of our aid for the Church in Northern Europe in 2021 was the procurement of vehicles for pastoral care. For many priests and religious sisters, pastoral work is arduous because the parishes often cover huge areas. In addition, the climate and long hours of darkness in winter are hard on the priests and religious sisters, most of whom come from abroad. The focus of our aid for Northern Europe was on the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Here too, we helped by providing vehicles while supporting religious sisters with material aid. We also funded a Christian youth holiday camp so that young people could deepen their faith.