An estimated 2,243,900 faithful and pilgrims got to meet Benedict XVI during the public events held at the Vatican or in his residence of Castel Gandolfo in 2009, that is, during general and special audiences, liturgical celebrations and the Angelus. The news was released today by the Prefecture of the Papal Household.

In a statement, the Prefecture said “the data released today are only estimates calculated on the basis of formal requests for attendance and sold tickets or taking into account the estimates of the attendance of faithful at the Angelus or at the main celebrations held in St. Peter’s Square or in the Vatican’s Basilica”. Moreover “the figures only refer to the events that took place at the Vatican or at Castel Gandolfo”, without taking into account the many meetings the Pope had with a number of faithful in other places”. Among them, his visits to the Roman parishes, his pastoral visits in Italy (to the areas devastated by the earthquake in Abruzzo, to Cassino, to S. Giovanni Rotondo, to Viterbo, to Brescia), his meetings with the faithful on the occasion of his summer holidays in the Aosta Valley. Last but not least, his pastoral visits abroad (to Cameroon, Angola, the Holy Land and the Czech Republic) with the celebrations at Luanda, Nazareth and Brno that are regarded by the Prefecture as “historic” events for the massive participation of faithful.