Pope Francis may be traveling to India next November, according to a source within the Catholic Church, local Indian newspapers report.
The unconfirmed report emanated from several Indian newspapers that quoted Archbishop of Bombay Cardinal Oswald Gracias — the president of India's Catholic Bishops Conference — in saying that the pontiff was planning the trip that is more than a year away.
If such plans are in the works, the Vatican's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) tells IBNLive that it isn't aware of it, the Indian news website IBNLive reported
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If he should visit however, Pope Francis will most likely attend the St Francis Xavier's exposition that occurs every 10 years at the start of November in the Indian state of Goa, as well as address a congress that is being assembled by the nation's Catholic Church hierarchy.
Pope John Paul II was the last pontiff to visit India, having made two trips to the Asian nation during his nearly 27 years as head of the Roman Catholic Church — the first in 1986 and the second in 1999.
Since becoming pope in March, Francis has made only one visit outside of Italy, taking a trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for World Youth Day in July.
Another destination that might be on the Pope's travel itinerary in the near future is the Holy Land, Reuters reported
On Thursday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited with Francis, sharing a 30 minute private audience with the pope in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace.
After the meeting, Abbas told reporters "I invited him to the Holy Land."
Popes Benedict and John Paul II, Francis' predecessors, both visited the Holy Land during their terms as pontiff.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus is said to have been buried, is in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as part of their future state, Reuters noted.
Since assuming the position of Holy See in March, Francis has already made multiple appeals for peace in the Middle East and told Israel that he will visit next year.
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