Pope’s Jubilee of Mercy attracts 20m pilgrims – Official
The Jubilee of Mercy, a year-long Catholic festival due to wrap up in two weeks, has attracted more than 20 million pilgrims to Rome, a Vatican official said on Thursday.
The official dismissed claims that the festival had been a flop.
The special event, called by Pope Francis and also known as a Holy Year, opened on December 8 and ends on November 20.
It offers the faithful a special chance to make pilgrimages and seek a general pardon for their sins as they walk through a holy door.
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, who heads a Vatican department that is organising the festival said that as at October ending, 19,797,653 people had walked through the jubilee door in St Peter’s Basilica.
Fisichella said: “Daily arrivals hovered around the 60,000-mark in the last weekend.
“I have reason to believe that today we are likely to have reached 20 million (arrivals) and the Jubilee is not over yet.
“When I read headlines about the jubilee being a flop, there is no limit to imagination; however, news should not be based on imagination.”
The closing schedule of the jubilee foresees pilgrimages and meetings with the pope for more than 1,000 prison inmates from Italy and Spain by weekend.
This will include murder convicts and 6,000 homeless people from across Europe the following weekend.
The final ceremonies are scheduled to take place on November 19 and 20.
Francis is set to appoint 17 new cardinals on the Saturday, and they will celebrate with him a closing Mass in St Peter’s Basilica the next day.