Vatican visitors almost treble since election of Pope Francis
Pope praises young people who see beyond differences between churches
Numbers taking part in papal events at the Vatican have almost trebled since the election of Pope Francis in March 2013. Photograph: EPA
Numbers taking part in papal events at the Vatican have almost trebled since the election of Pope Francis in March 2013. Figures for 2014, the first full year of his papacy, show that almost six million people attended papal audiences, the Sunday Angelus, and liturgies at the Vatican in which he took part.
Figures for 2012, the last full year of the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI, showed that over 2.3 million people attended Vatican events at which he presided.
The figures, from the Prefecture of the Papal Household at the Vatican, do not include those who attended events at which the Pope presided outside the Vatican. In 2014 Pope Francis visited the Holy Land, Korea, Albania, Strasbourg, and Turkey
This year 1.2 million people attended the 43 general audiences given by Pope Francis, 567,010 attended special audiences, 1.1 million attended Masses and other liturgies in the Vatican at which he presided and 3.04 million attended the Angelus at which he presides every Sunday.
In all this year 5, 916,800 have attended such papal events at the Vatican.
Meanwhile on Monday Pope Francis s has said he is praying for the success of the Taizé Community’s ecumenical meeting which began in Prague this morning and continues until January 2nd. It is being attended by thousands of young people.
More than 100,000 young adults from around the world make pilgrimages every year to Taizé, an ecumenical monastic order of Protestant and Catholic brothers from more than 30 countries located at Burgundy in France.
Speaking about ecumenism on his visit to Turkey last month, Pope Francis said “the young today implore us to make progress towards full communion. I think for example of the many Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant youth who come together at meetings organized by the Taizé community. They do not do this because they are not aware of the differences which still separate us, but because they are able to see beyond them; they are able to embrace what is really important and what already unites us.”
Today he also recalled that the Czech Republic was celebrating the 25th anniversary of its “return to democracy” and invited the young people in Prague to remember in their prayers the men and women martyrs who “sometimes at the cost of great suffering” gave freely of themselves so that their country would regain its freedom.