Visit Comes on Heels of Restoring Diplomatic Ties Between US and Cuba
Pope Francis will visit Cuba before his arrival in the United States in September, the Vatican confirmed Wednesday morning.
In a brief statement issued by the Holy See Press Office, the Rev. Federico Lombardi said, "I am able to confirm that the Holy Father Francis, having received and accepted the invitation by the civil authorities and bishops of Cuba, has decided to pay a visit to the island before his arrival in the United States on the trip announced some time ago."
The date of the Pope's historic visit has yet to be confirmed. However, earlier this week the Vatican announced that Pope Francis will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 23.
The Pope will then address a joint session of Congress on Sept. 25.
He will also celebrate a papal Mass at the World Meeting of Families on Sept. 27. That event is being held in Philadelphia from Sept. 22-27.
Pope John Paul II made an historic visit to Cuba from Jan. 21-25, 1998. It marked the first time a Roman pontiff had visited the island nation, and the first time he was welcomed since Fidel Castro rose to power in the Communist Revolution of 1959.
Pope Benedict XVI made a three-day visit to the island in March 2012.
However, Pope Francis' upcoming trip is particularly significant in light of the key role the Vatican played in restoring diplomatic ties between the United States and Cuba earlier this year.
Diane Montagna is Rome correspondent for Aleteia’s English edition.
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