The number of adults preparing to be received into the Church has fallen by 12 per cent, according to figures released by the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
This year 3,080 adults participated in Rites of Election, part of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), through which adults are received into full communion with the Catholic Church.
There are 415 fewer candidates than last year - excluding 200 people received into the Personal Ordinariate - and 863 fewer than 2011, when numbers were bolstered following the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. That year 796 people were also received via the Ordinariate. They will submit their figures for this year after people have been received at Easter.
Five dioceses showed an increase in candidates - Clifton, East Anglia, Lancaster, Liverpool and Hexham and Newcastle.
Above: Rite of Election in Diocese of Clifton last weekend with Bishop Declan Lang. Photo: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk