Papal Crowds Tallied and Bishops Consecrated

From Times Wire Services

Papal aides say more than 2.8 million people attended Pope John Paul II's audiences, liturgical services and midday prayers at the Vatican during 2002.

The number of people who turned out to see and hear the ailing 82-year-old Roman Catholic pontiff during his trips this year to Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Guatemala and Mexico has been estimated unofficially at 5 million.

The Vatican report, from the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, said 410,300 people attended the pope's 46 weekly general audiences during 2002, and he received 11,700 in audiences for smaller groups and individuals.

A total of 1.1 million people attended liturgical services, including Masses at which the pope conferred sainthood on Padre Pio and Opus Dei founder Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer.

About 1 million flocked to St. Peter's Square on Sundays and holidays to hear the pope recite midday prayers and greet them from his study window overlooking the square.

Meanwhile, the pope this week celebrated the Solemnity of the Epiphany by consecrating 12 bishops. They include two Italian archbishops: Celestino Migliore, 50, as permanent observer at the United Nations, and Angelo Amato, 64, a Salesian theologian, who will be the No. 2 official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is responsible for safeguarding Catholic doctrine and morals. Others include Irish Bishop Brian Farrell, 58, of the Legionaries of Christ, named No. 2 on the Council for Promoting Christian Unity, which promotes ecumenical dialogue, and Iraqi Bishop Andraos Abouna, 59, who will be auxiliary in the Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans.

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