More than 3.9 million pilgrims visited and attended papal events, liturgies or prayer services during the Holy Year of Mercy in 2016, the Vatican has announced.
The Prefecture of the Papal Household, the Vatican office that coordinates the audiences and distributes the free tickets to papal audiences and liturgies, said a total of 3,952,140 people attended a papal event at the Vatican.
Although the total was slightly higher from the 3.2 million visitors received by Pope Francis in 2015, for a jubilee year it still fell short of the 5.9 million pilgrims who visited in 2014.
Terrorists attacks in Europe throughout the year are also thought to have discouraged visitors from travelling during what are typically busy tourist seasons in Italy.
During 2016, 762,000 people attended the Pope’s 43 weekly general audiences while 446,000 attended the 11 jubilee audiences held one Saturday a month.
More than 169,000 people took part in special group audiences. More than 924,000 people participated in papal liturgies in St Peter’s Basilica or St Peter’s Square; and more than 1.6 million people joined the Pope for the Angelus or the Regina Caeli prayer on Sundays and major feast days in St Peter’s Square.
The statistics released by the Vatican stand in contrast to the numbers published on the Jubilee of Mercy website, which states that more than 21 million participated in the Holy Year of Mercy. The number includes pilgrim groups and individuals who crossed through the Holy Door that are not included in the Vatican’s statistics.
The papal event statistics do not include papal events in the city of Rome or international visits made by Pope Francis. They also are based on the number of ticket requests and estimates of crowd size.
Having been unable to sell in churches for well over a year due to the pandemic, we are now inviting readers to support the Herald by investing in our future. We have been a bold and influential voice in the church since 1888, standing up for traditional Catholic culture and values.
Please join us on our 130 year mission by supporting us. We are raising £250,000 to safeguard the Herald as a world-leading voice in Catholic journalism and teaching. For more information from our chairman on contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund, click here
Make a Donation
Donors giving £500 or more will automatically become sponsor patrons of the Herald. This includes two complimentary print/digital gift subscriptions, invitations to Patron events, pilgrimages and dinners, and 6 gift subscriptions sent to priests, seminaries, Catholic schools, religious care homes and prison and university chaplaincies. Click here for more information on becoming a Patron Sponsor. Click here for more information about contributing to the Herald Patron's Fund