More than 4 million attended papal audiences, celebrations during first year of Benedict’s pontificate.

More than 4 million attended papal audiences, celebrations during first year of Benedict’s pontificate.

.- Today, the Vatican’s Prefecture of the Pontifical Household released attendance figures for Pope Benedict XVI’s General Audiences, held each Wednesday, as well as all other public events presided by the Holy Father at the Vatican during his first year of his pontificate.

During his first year as head of the Catholic Church, more 4 million people attended Pope Benedict’s public events. Then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected one year ago, on April 19 2005.

The report showed that the Wednesday general audience continued to draw important crowds to the new Pope, with more than a million people attending from April 2005 to April 2006 and an average of 24,000 each week.

The most popular event was the Holy Father’s Sunday Angelus with 1,875,000 people having attended.

Overall, for most of the major events, the peak months of attendance were October and November 2005, with an average 150,000 attending the Wednesday audience and 250,000 the Sunday Angelus during the two months.

The figures confirm the vitality of Vatican celebrations and events celebrated by the Pope, despite speculation that Benedict would struggle in succeeding the charismatic Pope John Paul II.

As last week’s Holy Week celebrations demonstrated, the Vatican continues to be a massive center of attention for the world.

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