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Rome Reports

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How the Pope's trip to Colombia was organized and what to expect from his visit

It was this meeting that began to drop hints about Pope Francis' possible trip to Colombia. On December 16, the pope met with the Head of State, Juan Manuel Santos, and the former president, Álvaro Uribe, in the Vatican.

He assured that there would be no trip to Colombia until there was a settled peace situation in the country.

FR. FEDERICO LOMBARDI
Former spokesman of the Vatican
"The situation in Colombia, with a situation of long, internal conflict, has naturally caused people to wish and desire the pope's visit, also as a message of peace and reconciliation."

PROF. GUZMAN CARRIQUIRY
Secretary, Pontifical Commission for Latin America
"In Colombia, the polarization of the peace process is so strong there is a risk that many will be confused and think the pope is visiting Colombia in relation to the peace process. No, the pope is coming to make a pastoral visit and the great issues he will address in all these cities demonstrate this is how it will be."

On March 10 the Vatican issued an official statement. Pope Francis will travel to Colombia September 6-11. It will be a trip where he will visit four cities: Bogota, Villavicencio, Medellín and Cartagena.

PROF. GUZMAN CARRIQUIRY
Secretary, Pontifical Commission for Latin America
"Certainly we are looking forward to Villavicencio, because the themes of peace and ecology will be present there. The Amazon will be one of the main topics."

Shortly after announcing the trip, there was another surprise: the pope would beatify two martyrs during this apostolic visit: Msgr. Jesús Emilio Jaramillo and Fr. Pedro María Ramirez Ramos.

The beatifications will take place during the Mass celebrated during the pope's visit to Villavicencio on September 8.

CARD. DARÍO CASTRILLÓN HOYOS
"No doubt this will help some people, and we hope many, who are on the road to peace. There have been popes who've come to Colombia, all with the desire for peace, but we have not yet reached peace. We are bellicose people."

Many agree that it will be a historical trip, leaving its mark both before and after in Colombia.

GUILLERMO LEÓN ESCOBAR HERRÁN
Ambassador of Colombia to the Holy See
"The joy is overflowing, the fullness of optimism regarding what this means for Colombia is immense and undoubtedly. I hope to share with him words that we have already shared many times. Also, I hope to receive him with the satisfaction that for him Colombia was a unique and also unforgettable trip.”

Preparation for the trip is already well underway and the Vatican is working to sort out all the details of a journey that will be full of beautiful gestures, peace and hope.