Pope Francis said he will visit Chile and Peru in January, the latest in a series of trips to his home continent.
Starting in Chile on January 15, the Argentine pontiff will go to the cities of Santiago, Temuco and Iquique, before heading to Peru, where he will stop in Lima, Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo.
The Vatican said in a statement on Monday that Francis had accepted invitations from the heads of state and bishops of the two countries. The trip will wrap up on January 21.
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, welcomed the news while Cardinal and Archbishop of Lima Juan Luis Cipriani said the pope would come as a “pilgrim of peace, justice, unity.”
Meanwhile, Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said he was very happy with the decision. The Apostolic Nuncio in Chile, Bishop Ivo Scapolo, was also delighted with the news and Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati Andrello and Archbishop of Santiago, said Francis’ visit would “do much good to our country (Chile).”
Since his election to lead the world’s two billion Catholics in 2013, Francis has visited Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Cuba and Mexico, but has not made a pastoral trip to his home country of Argentina.