Vatican says 3.9 million pilgrims visited during Jubilee year

| Junno Arocho Esteves | December 29, 2016 | 1 Comment

Seminarian Stephen Rooney of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., takes a selfie as Pope Francis arrives to lead his general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Feb. 24. The Vatican says 3.9 million pilgrims visited Rome during the Jubilee year. CNS photo/Paul Haring

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 said.

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. The Vatican released the statistics Dec. 29.

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 traveling 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 Coeli” 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 over 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.

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Category: From the Vatican

  • Charles C.

    And once again I need an explanation. 2016’s attendance was 22% higher than in 2015, but in 2014 51% more people attended than in this year. So, what does that mean? That the Year of Mercy wasn’t a big enough deal to get people to come to Rome? Maybe that the world doesn’t think it has any need of mercy?

    As an aside (and, granted, a rather nit-picky one),

    “[T]he 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.”

    and

    “They also are based on the number of ticket requests and estimates of crowd size.”

    I’m sorry, but if you are using estimates of crowd size, there is no way to accurately report a figure of 3,952,140, crowd estimates aren’t that precise. The Vatican couldn’t have made crowd estimates more closely than the nearest hundred, so they shouldn’t present figures suggesting they could.