Vatican City, Jan 2, 2014 / 15:16 pm
More than 6.6 million people have taken part in events with Pope Francis at the Vatican since his election to the papacy, the Prefecture of the Papal Household has estimated.
In the nine months since Pope Francis' March 13 election, more than 2.7 million people have attended the Pope's Angelus and Regina Coeli prayers. About 2.3 million have attended liturgical celebrations in St. Peter's Basilica and at St. Peter's Square. Some 1.5 million people have attended Pope Francis' general audiences, while 87,400 have attended private audiences with the Pope.
The figures only concern activities at the Vatican and are approximations based on the number of requests to participate in events and invitations issued by the Prefecture of the Papal Household. They also draw on attendance estimates for the Angelus and major celebrations at St. Peter's Square.
The figures do not include events that took place outside the Vatican, including World Youth Day in Brazil. The figures also do not include attendance estimates for papal events within Italy and the Diocese of Rome, such as his visits to Lampedusa and Assisi.
An estimated 3.2 million Catholic pilgrims attended World Youth Day's final Mass with Pope Francis at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on July 28.
During Pope Benedict XVI's first year as Pope from April 2005 to April 2006, an estimated 4 million people attended his public events at the Vatican. About 1.9 million attended the Sunday Angelus in that time period, the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household said in 2006.