General-Audience Attendance Tops 17 Million

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 17, 2003 ( A total of 17,138,200 people have attended the 1,112 midweek general audiences John Paul II has held during his 25-year pontificate.

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In 2003, as of last week, the Pope held 48 general audiences attended by 501,700 pilgrims. The figure represents two more audiences than last year and five more than in 2001. In fact, it is more than over the past 11 years, reflecting a lower number of papal trips.

The Papal Household Prefecture published the figures Tuesday in an end-of-the-year report. The report includes figures on the number of participants each month for the past five years in the general audiences.

The greatest number of pilgrims arrived in October, the month of John Paul II’s silver anniversary and the beatification of Mother Teresa. A total of 59,000 people attended general audiences with the Pope in October.

The data refer only to the Wednesday general audience, and does not include the pilgrims who pray the Angelus on Sundays in St. Peter’s Square, or those who attend liturgical celebrations and private audiences.

The general audiences are usually held in Paul VI Hall or, weather permitting, in St. Peter’s Square.

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