Pope Benedict: Mexico and Cuba trips on 2012 agenda

2011-11-10 Vatican Radio

On Thursday, responding to journalists questions Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office, announced that Pope Benedict XVI is currently studying the possibility of an Apostolic Voyage to Latin America and the Caribbean next year, more precisely to Mexico and Cuba. Below the full text of Fr. Lombardi’s remarks: Decision and timing In recent days, the nuncios in Mexico and Cuba have been instructed to notify the highest religious and civil authorities of both countries that the Pope is working on a concrete plan to travel to visit the two countries, in response to invitations received. The project will be detailed in the coming weeks and in the light of this the Pope will make a final decision and communicate it in the manner and time he sees fit. The period for the expected trip is next spring, so the time for the final decision on the program and preparation are rather close at hand Reasons for journey The expectation of the Mexican people is well known, the Pope is aware of this and is happy to finally be able to respond. The Pope was in Brazil, but the Spanish-speaking Latin American countries desired visit and Mexico is the most populous of them. Cuba is another country that the Pope very much wanted to see, having never forgotten the historic journey of Blessed John Paul II. It is also a country where the Church and all the people are currently experiencing an important period in their history, one in which the Pope's visit will be of great encouragement, particularly on the important anniversary of the fourth centenary of the discovery of the image of Our Lady of Caridad del Cobre. Itinerary It is enough to look at a map to see Cuba and Mexico are in the same direction with respect to Rome and so it is logical to combine these two countries in one trip, rather than others that require a longer and more complex route. In any case it is a long journey that will have many stages, but very few, of great symbolic and pastoral value. The altitude must also be taken into account, it is not advisable that the Pope should go to Mexico City. Therefore the best alternative to this is one of the issues that needs to be addressed quickly. Finality After the Continental Conference of Aparecida, which the Pope took part in four years ago, Latin America is engaged in the great continental mission of evangelization and the Pope will be able to encourage the whole Church in this great task, also in the prospect of preparation of the celebration of the Year of faith. ( Photo: Cuban Cardinal and Archbishop of Havana Jaime Ortega Alamino smiles after knowing Spanish government decided to honour him with the Order of Isabel la Catolica, in Havana, 28 October 2011)