Vatican says 3.2 million pilgrims visited in 2015

A large crowd greets Pope Francis as he arrives for an audience in mid-June in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. (CNS/Maurizio Brambatti, EPA)

Vatican City — More than 3.2 million pilgrims visited and attended papal events, liturgies or prayer services at the Vatican in 2015, the Vatican said.

The statistics, released Dec. 30, were compiled by the Prefecture of the Papal Household, which coordinates papal events and distributes free tickets to papal audiences and liturgies. The prefecture said more than 3.2 million people attended a papal event in 2015.

The total was a significant drop from the 5.9 million visitors received by Pope Francis in 2014. It was also slightly more than half the 6.6 million pilgrims who visited the Vatican during the first nine and a half months of his pontificate in 2013.

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During 2015, at least 704,000 people attended the pope's 42 weekly general audiences; more than 408,000 attended a special group audience; at least 513,000 pilgrims participated in papal liturgies in St. Peter's Basilica or St. Peter's Square; and more than 1.5 million attended the pope's Angelus address on Sundays and major feast days in St. Peter's Square.

The papal event statistics do not include papal events in the city of Rome or international visits made by Pope Francis. They are also based on the number of ticket requests and estimates of crowd size.

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