The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, SJ, has confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Cuba ahead of his visit to the United States in September 2015.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Father Lombardi said, “I am able to confirm that the Holy Father Francis, having received and accepted the invitation from the civil authorities and bishops of Cuba, has decided to pay a visit to the island before his arrival in the United States for the trip announced some time ago.”
The visit to Cuba is especially significant in light of the role played by Pope Francis in diplomatic negotiations between the United States and Cuba. Leaders from both nations have publicly thanked Pope Francis for his aid in negotiations.
Pope Francis will be the third Pope to visit Cuba. In 1998, Saint John Paul II made the first papal visit to the island nation, meeting Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Later, in 2012, Benedict XVI also visited Cuba.
Pope Francis’ visit to Cuba will precede his journey to Philadelphia in the United States for the World Meeting of Families. During his Apostolic Voyage, the Holy Father will also visit Washington, D.C. and New York City.
No other details of the Holy Father’s planned visit to Cuba have been released.
Source: Vatican Radio