Latin America & Caribbean

Pope Francis will visit Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay

Pope Francis blesses people on 15 April 2014 during his weekly general audience at the Vatican Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Pope Francis will spend two days in each country

Pope Francis has officially announced his first visit to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

He will spend two days in each country, beginning in Ecuador on 6 July and ending in Paraguay on 12 July.

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa on Thursday hailed the planned visit as an "honour" and said his country was already celebrating.

Bolivian President Evo Morales has also welcomed the news, saying that it was a joy to have the visit confirmed.

The Vatican said in a statement that it would publish the Pope's full tour program shortly but some of his itinerary has already been announced.

In Bolivia, local media said the pontiff was expected to travel to the city of La Paz and then to Santa Cruz, where the main celebrations will take place.

Mr Correa said the Pope would visit Ecuador's capital Quito and the city of Guayaquil.

"We will work with all our energy so that his visit, like that of John Paul II 30 years ago, will be unforgettable," he added.

This will be Pope Francis' second trip to Latin America. His first was to Brazil in 2013.

During his five days in Brazil, he attended the biggest-ever Catholic World Youth Day and addressed up to three million pilgrims at a vigil on Copacabana Beach.

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