.- Over 2.5 million people took part in various Vatican events with Pope Benedict in 2011, outdoing the numbers reported over the last three years.
The Prefecture of the Pontifical Household estimated 400,000 attendees at general audiences, 101,800 at private audiences, 846,000 at liturgical celebrations, and 1,206,000 at Angelus and Regina Coeli prayers last year.
Statistics only include events at the Vatican or the Pope’s summer residence in Castel Gandolfo.
The prefecture said that the numbers are approximate and are based on the amount of requests to participate in events with the Pope, the number of tickets distributed, and the estimations of people present at events like the Angelus or large celebrations in St. Peter’s Square.
The largest single event of 2011 was the beatification of John Paul II on May 1, which drew an estimated 1.5 million people.
Vatican figures did not include Pope Benedict's foreign travels, which saw him visiting numerous countries in 2011.
Last June he went to Croatia, celebrating Mass with over 400,000 people. In August he visited Spain for World Youth Day, an event attended by two million pilgrims.
During his visit to Germany, around 350,000 attended Mass and other events to listen to him in person. In his November visit to the west African country of Benin, tens of thousands attended Mass with the Pope.