SANTIAGO – The Vatican and the Chilean bishops have simultaneously presented the program for Pope Francis’ visit. The pope will arrive in Santiago on January 15.
He will have an intense schedule on January 16. First, he will meet with authorities from the country. Later, he will preside over a massive Mass in O’Higgins park, visit a women’s prison, pray before the tomb of Jesuit St. Alberto Hurtado and meet with young people, priests and seminarians.
According to Benito Baranda, Coordinator, Papal Trip to Chile, “Pope Francis’ trip will be really moving because it will touch places representing both the state’s and Church’s point of view; he is going to come to Santiago. In Santiago, he will meet with the segregated city, where it’s difficult for us to unite. He will meet with young people who also have difficulties with integrating themselves into our Latin American societies and particularly in Chile.”
Mr. Baranda added the pope will visit an additional two cities John Paul II didn’t when he went to Chile. One of them is Temuco, in Mapuche territory, a nomadic indigenous population that still maintains a strong identity. Pope Francis will celebrate Mass there and have lunch with an indigenous community from Araucanía on January 17.
“In Temuco, he is going to have the opportunity to meet with the inhabitants of Temuco, and particularly with the Mapuche people, as much from Argentina as from Chile, because many are going to come from Argentina, too.”
The Chile trip concludes on January 18 with a visit to Iquique, in the north of the country, an area where many immigrants from many Latin American countries reside. The pope will also celebrate a massive Mass here.
“It is going to be the perfect place for the pope to deliver that deep message that he has been talking about since the beginning of his papacy, which is the message about the reception of foreigners, about this whole migratory phenomenon that causes pain, but also leads to great opportunities for the world.”
From Chile, the Pope will continue his tour to Perú, where he will be until January 21.