.- The Vatican announced this week that during the past year more than three million faithful participated in public meetings with the Pope, either in the Vatican or at his summer residence of Castelgandolfo.
According to statistics released by the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, a total of 3,222,820 people attended the Wednesday general audiences, special audiences, liturgical celebrations and Sunday Angelus prayers during the course of the year.
The Wednesday general audiences, held in St. Peter's Square and the Paul VI Hall, attracted 1,031,500 people. This figure reflects the number of tickets distributed, and does not take into account the thousands of faithful who arrive without tickets and also participate.
The Angelus prayers of 2006 drew a total of 1,295,000 people to St. Peter's Square, while more than half a million attended the various liturgical ceremonies presided by the Holy Father, 196,000 in April alone.