By Sarah Mac Donald - 05 January, 2014
The figures are based on the number of tickets sold for papal events as well as estimates of crowds attending the Pope’s weekly audiences in St Peter’s Square.
The figures are up on the numbers attending audiences with Benedict XVI, who attracted 2.3 million people to papal events and audiences in 2012.
The Prefecture of the Papal Household announced the figure in a communique on Thursday in which it reported that during 2013, more than 6,600,000 faithful participated in various encounters with Pope Francis.
These include general audiences (1,548,500), private audiences (87,400), liturgical celebrations in the Vatican Basilica and in St. Peter’s Square (2,282,000), Angelus and Regina Coeli (2,706,000).
The data refers exclusively to activities which took place within the Vatican, and do not include other events in which hundreds of thousands of faithful have gathered around the Holy Father, such as the apostolic visit to Brazil in July for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, and visits within Italy, to Lampedusa, Cagliari and Assisi, as well as visits within the diocese of Rome.
Pope Francis was named Person of the Year by Time magazine just before Christmas and is the first Latin American, as well as the first Jesuit, to be elected pope.