The highest number of worshippers in a decade have visited the Vatican since Pope Francis was elected less than a year ago.

Attendance of the faithful at prayers and celebrations conducted by the pontiff in Vatican City in the 10 months since he was elected has been almost three times higher than the yearly average recorded in the last decade, figures released by the Prefecture of the Papal Household showed.

Some 6.6 million people attended as part of general audiences and liturgical celebrations in Rome since March 2013, the prefecture said.

The figure was an estimate based on the number of tickets distributed and requests to attend specific events.

It was being seen as a clear indicator of renewed enthusiasm for the Catholic Chruch.

The amount of worshippers who visited the Vatican in 2005, the year that Benedict XVI was elected pontiff, fell just short of three million.

The figure remained more or less the same throughout Benedict's papacy, reaching a grand total of 20.5 million at the end of his eight-year tenure in 2012.

About 2.5 million people a year attended celebrations held by John Paul II from 2001-04.

The highest number of attendees at Vatican City celebrations in recent years was 8.5 million, out of the 25 million pilgrims who were in Rome for the Great Jubilee in 2000.

Pope Francis' humble approach has given an enormous boost to the Church's appeal around the world.

In December, the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was named Person of the Year for 2013 by Times magazine.

"We are all children of one heavenly father. We belong to the same human family and we share a common destiny," Francis told pilgrims in his first New Year blessing.

"This brings a responsibility for each to work so that the world becomes a community of brothers who respect each other, accept each other in one's diversity, and take care of one another."