2.2 Million Visit Benedict XVI in 2009

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Some 2.2 million people gathered last year with Benedict XVI in his public audiences and liturgical celebrations held in the Vatican or the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo.

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The Prefecture of the Pontifical Household reported these numbers, which do not include those who attended meetings with the Pope during his apostolic visits within and outside of Italy.

Some 540,000 participated in the Wednesday general audiences, and 1.2 million in the special audiences. The highest numbers were reported in April.

More than 1.1 million gathered to pray the midday Angelus with the Pontiff, while 4.7 million took part in the liturgical celebrations he presided over throughout 2009.

The prefecture, which gives out the tickets to these events, specified that these numbers do not include the pilgrims who came to see the Holy Father on his various trips.

For example, it does not include Benedict XVI’s trips to other parts of Italy and his pastoral visits to places such as Cameroon, Angola, the Holy Land, and the Czech Republic.

The communiqué noted that these events could be considered «historical» due to the «extraordinarily high» number of faithful attending.

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