Tomorrow, October 16, the Pope celebrates the 26th anniversary of his pontificate, having been elected as the 264th Roman Pontiff on that day in 1978. According to custom, on the day before the anniversary, the Prefecture of the Papal Household published the latest papal audience figures. Up to today, John Paul II has welcomed 1,512,300 people in 2004: 387,100 in the weekly general audiences, 140,200 for special audiences, 368,000 for liturgical celebrations and 617,000 for the Sunday Angelus. From October 16, 1978 to October 16, 2004, the Holy Father has welcomed 426 heads of State, kings and queens, 187 prime ministers, 190 foreign ministers, and he has received the Letters of Credence of 642 new ambassadors to the Holy See. These figures do not take into account the myriad numbers of people whom the Pope welcomes at the end of liturgical functions in the Vatican, in Italy or abroad. Source: VIS
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