Adapted by AB Griffin, ACN Canada
40 years ago work first begun on preparing a Missal in the Icelandic language. Now, in the Year of Faith, the printing of this book has finally become possible, thanks to ACN’s financial support. In fact, Bishop Pierre Bürcher has already personally handed Pope Francis a copy.
There are only 10,000 or so Catholics collectively living on the island of Iceland and they account for just 3.3% of the total population. The good news, however, is that the number of Catholics has tripled within the last 10 years – now 10 times as many baptisms as burials and each year and somewhere between 5 and 20 adults are baptized during the Easter Vigil. The number of Catholics is also increasing as a result of immigration, mostly arriving from Poland and the Philippines.
Bishop Pierre, who comes originally from Switzerland, remarks: “Previously, when I was still living in Switzerland, I myself did not think that the Catholic Church in Iceland needed any help. But that was in fact a mistake. In reality we cannot survive as Church without help from abroad. We are extremely grateful to ACN.”
Above all, the Church in Iceland needs outside help because there are too few Catholics in the country and because they are so thinly scattered across the island. Many of the practicing Catholics tend to be immigrants who have such little money themselves leaving them little to contribute, while the State makes only a symbolic contribution to the Church.