-- ZENIT.org News Agency
Over 6.6 Million People Came to See Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2013
Almost Treble Previous Year's Figure; Vatican Museums Also Experiencing "Pope Francis Effect"
VATICAN CITY, January 02, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Over six and a half million people took part in various encounters at the Vatican with Pope Francis during 2013, the Vatican disclosed today.
In a communique, the Prefecture of the Papal Household said that since his election on 13 March, more than 6,600,000 faithful participated in the various encounters with Pope Francis. These comprised general audiences (1,548,500), private audiences (87,400), liturgical celebrations in the Vatican Basilica and in St. Peter's Square (2,282,000), Angelus and Regina Coeli (2,706,000).
The Vatican stressed that the numbers refer "exclusively" to activities which took place within the Vatican, and do not include other events such as apostolic visits in Rome and further afield. The total number of faithful who have participated in those events is estimated at 6,623,000, it said.
The prefecture stressed that both data sets are approximate estimates.
Last year, the Vatican said 2.3 million pilgrims and visitors joined Pope Benedict XVI for an audience, liturgy or prayer at the Vatican in 2012. The year before, an estimated 2.5 million attended papal Vatican events.
The Vatican also announced today that 5.5 million people visited the Vatican Museums in 2013. "The Pope Francis effect has also had an impact on our museums," said the attraction's director, Professor Antonio Paolucci.
He also announced that the museums are installing new technology as a security measure to help preserve the artwork from pollution and general degredation.
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