Pope Francis will be visiting Cuba when he comes west in September, the Vatican has said.
The Pope already is scheduled to visit the US in September and the Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said a stop in Cuba has been confirmed, according to the BBC. He will stop in Cuba before he visits the US.
The two previous popes – Benedict XVI and Saint John Paul II – both visited Cuba. Pope Benedict made the trip in 2012 and Pope John Paul visited in 1998.
A trip to the communist Caribbean island for Pope Francis could come at a historic time, as the US and Cuba are closer to restoring diplomatic relations than they have been in more than 50 years. Pope Francis has been credited with helping the leaders from the two countries bridge their half-century divide.
“The presence of His Holiness in Cuba will be memorable,” Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said, according to the BBC. “He will receive the warmest hospitality of the Cuban people.”
Pope Francis will make his first visit to the White House on 23 September, where he will meet with President Barack Obama.
Prior to the White House invite, Francis will speak before the annual UN General Assembly on 25 September and address a joint session of Congress on 24 September. It will be the first time the pope has ever addressed congress, Fox News reported.
During his visit, Pope Francis will also visit New York City and Philadelphia, and has left open the possibility of a visit to Boston.
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