Archdiocese reaches out to Parisians unfamiliar with Catholic faith


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PARIS (CNS) -- The Archdiocese of Paris has launched an evangelization campaign to reach out to citizens unfamiliar with Catholic faith and worship. "The church here has long been involved in missionary action, but still has a lot of work to do," Claire Avalle, archdiocesan spokeswoman, told Catholic News Service in a June 16 telephone interview.

"We're now counting on people to take up the pilgrim baton again and step outside the walls and borders of their parishes."

Catholics traditionally make up two-thirds of France's 60 million inhabitants, although fewer than one in 10 attends Sunday Mass.

Avalle said the archdiocese had no current data on weekly or occasional church attendance, but had been encouraged by a recent increase in adult baptisms and confirmations, which topped 300 during Holy Week in April.

Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois launched the three-year evangelization program earlier this year, and Avalle said most Catholics had been receptive to it. She said the program will target people in their 30s and 40s whose families gave up religious practice in the 1960s.