It's official. The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will travel to Cuba. The statement was made through a press release, which specifies that the Pope will visit the island before heading to the U.S in September.
The visit will surely trigger world wide attention. Especially since Pope Francis was key in restoring the relationship between the U.S and Cuba.
MSGR. JUAN DE DIOS HERNÁNDEZ
Cuban Conference of Catholic Bishops
December 23, 2015
"I think we all must be deeply grateful to Pope Francis. Maybe I'm still emotional about this. But, if there's a Pope who would have to come to Cuba, it's Pope Francis.”
It was back on December 17th, which was actually the Pope's 78th birthday that Washington and Cuba announced that both countries were working on normalizing their diplomatic relations. This after 50 years of a strict embargo. The Pope's role was key in making this transition possible.
December 18, 2015
"We can rejoice because we've seen how two countries, that were distant for so many years, yesterday took a step towards one another.”
John Paul II visited Cuba in 1998. Years later, in 2012, Benedict XVI also visited the island, asking Cuba to open itself to the world and for the world to do the same. With improved diplomatic relations, Pope Francis visit will be under a different political setting.
After visiting Cuba, the Pope will head to the U.S in late September. He is planning on visiting New York to speak before the United Nations, then Washington D.C to speak before Congress and meet with the president. In Philadelphia he will lead the World Meeting of Families.