Anticipation is high for the upcoming canonization of Blessed John Paul II and John XXIII. While no word has been given on preparations for the event, several news agencies have reported that an estimated 5 million pilgrims are expected to attend the event.
Such numbers have led to concerns that neither St. Peter’s Square nor the city of Rome can handle that many pilgrims. Other rumors have circulated that the canonization will be held in a different venue outside the city.
However, Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, was quick to shoot down the estimates saying that it would be “unwise to speak of great numbers” from sources that are not credible.
“To speak of millions is exaggerated,” Fr. Lombardi told ZENIT.
The director of the Holy See Press Office also addressed rumors of the canonization taking place elsewhere. “The canonization will take place in St. Peter’s Square as expected,” he said.
Fr. Lombardi added that the Holy See Press Office will hold a press conference next week to “speak in a sensible way on the preparations.”
A representative from the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, the Vicariate of Rome’s pilgrim office, said that while they will prepare to assist pilgrims coming to the event, they have no official role in its organization.
While not wishing to comment on speculation regarding the number of pilgrims, the representative told ZENIT that the numbers reported in several media agencies seemed “to have estimated those numbers by counting the amount of space in the hotels” in the area, not any official estimates.