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Ecuador Ambassador to the Holy See: It won't be just Ecuadorians who come to see the Pope

Pope Francis will start his trip to Latin America in Ecuador on July 5th. It's a deeply Christian nation, in which 80 to 90 percent of the population identifies as Catholic.

The trip to Ecuador will be followed by stops in Bolivia and Paraguay. All three countries are relatively small and do not have much power in global affairs.  

But visiting a country like Ecuador is consistent with Pope Francis' policy of reaching out to the Church's peripheries. 

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI

Vatican's Spokesperson 

"He wanted to visit these three countries that aren't considered very important when evaluated with geopolitical criteria.�

Ecuador's president keeps a photograph of the Pope on his desk and is known to attend Mass. The socialist leader is also allied with the Church on gay marriage, abortion, and many economic issues. 

The Ecuadorian ambassador to the Holy See said his country is aligned with the Church's preferential option for the poor.

LUIS DOSITEO LATORRE TAPIA

Ecuador's Ambassador to the Holy See 

"The Holy Father is going not only to encourage these countries, but to also impel them to continue with the 'preferential option for the poor' policy. We are doing this in all three countries, so I think that is the why the Holy Father has chosen us.�

The Catholic Church has been a large part of Ecuador's history long before it was a country. The Archdiocese of Quito dates back to the 16th century, and today there are 11 dioceses and four archdioceses. Millions from the country of 18 million are expected to attend papal events.

LUIS DOSITEO LATORRE TAPIA

Ecuador's Ambassador to the Holy See 

"We calculate, in Guayaquil, at least a million and a half will attend. In Quito, there can be much more, because people from Colombia and other countries could come. We are looking forward to the visit, but we do not want to break records. We aren't trying to do that. But I believe that at least two million will arrive in Quito.�

The ambassador said that because the Pope is Latin American, he has a deep love for the region, as well as an understanding of its political, economic, and social issues. The admiration is mutual.

LUIS DOSITEO LATORRE TAPIA

Ecuador's Ambassador to the Holy See 

"It's always very emotional to meet with the Holy Father. Imagine what it means for the Catholics, and for people in general, to meet the head of the Church, a man so charismatic, a man who has really won the hearts.�

While in the country, Pope Francis will hold a Mass for Latin American families; meet with the president; visit a senior center; and take part in other events during several busy days. 

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