General Audiences Have Drawn 16.5 Million

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II has met with over 16.5 million pilgrims in the 1,064 general audiences he has held on Wednesdays in the Vatican.

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The Prefecture of the Papal Household published the numbers in a statement issued by the Vatican Press Office.

Through last week, 410,300 people attended the general audiences in 2002, down from the 550,000 last year. Jubilee Year audiences drew 1.46 million.

These figures do not include pilgrims’ participation in the Sunday midday Angelus, or other public events attended by the Pope.

At the general audiences, the Pope reads a lengthy catechesis, in Italian, and then summarizes his address in five languages. He then greets pilgrim groups present in five or six additional languages.

At the end of the Audience, some of those present can come up and greet the Holy Father. This year, these personal meetings have obliged him to stay an additional hour after the end of the audience.

Translations of John Paul II’s catecheses appear in ZENIT’s Web page under “Wednesday’s Audience.”

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ZENIT Staff

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