Vatican releases details of pope's visit to South America

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis' July 5-12 visit to Latin America will not take him to his native Argentina, but it will put him closely in touch with his Jesuit roots and with one of the main characteristics of his ministry as archbishop of Buenos Aires: direct contact with the poor, the sick and those striving to bring the Gospel to bear on social inequalities.

The pope will begin his three-nation South America tour in Ecuador before moving on to Bolivia and Paraguay, the Vatican announced May 8 when it published a detailed itinerary for the visit.

Although local Jesuit communities have enjoyed Pope Francis' special attention on several of the seven foreign trips he already has made as pope, the South American trip is the first time the Vatican has listed the encounter on the official schedule. He will have lunch July 6 with the Jesuit community at Colegio Javier in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

The next evening, he will pay a "private visit" to Quito's Church of the Society of Jesus, known as "La Compania," a jewel of Spanish Baroque architecture. The first Jesuits reached Ecuador in 1574, just 34 years after the society was founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Work on the church in Quito began in 1605.

Pope Francis will spend less than four hours in Bolivia's capital, La Paz. Vatican sources said the city's high elevation made it advisable for him to visit only briefly. The same evening he arrives in Bolivia, July 8, he will fly on to Santa Cruz after the welcoming ceremony, a visit with the president and a meeting with civil authorities.

Pope Francis will have the official welcoming ceremonies and private visits with the presidents of Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay as dictated by protocol; in addition, the pope will meet "civil society" leaders in Ecuador, government officials in Bolivia and members of the diplomatic corps in Paraguay.

But the heart of the visit is expected to be his public Masses and the time he spends with people often on the margins of society. On July 8, he will visit a home for the aged run by the Missionaries of Charity in Quito; in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, he will address participants in the second World Meeting of Popular Movements, a group of grass-roots activists, and will visit a prison; and in Asuncion, Paraguay, he will visit both a pediatric hospital and the residents of one of the city's poorest neighborhoods, Banado Norte.

Here is the pope's itinerary as released by the Vatican. Times listed are local, with Eastern Daylight Time in parentheses. Bolivia and Paraguay are on Eastern Daylight Time.

Sunday, July 5 (Rome, Quito)

- 9 a.m. (3 a.m.) Departure from Rome's Fiumicino airport.

- 3 p.m. (4 p.m.) Arrival at Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito. Speech by pope.

Monday, July 6 (Quito, Guayaquil, Quito)

- 9 a.m. (10 a.m.) Departure by airplane from Quito for Guayaquil.

- 11.15 a.m. (12:15 p.m.) Mass outside the Shrine of Divine Mercy in Guayaquil. Homily by pope.

- 2 p.m. (3 p.m.) Lunch at Colegio Javier with the Jesuit community and members of the papal entourage.

- 5.10 p.m. (6:10 p.m.) Departure by plane for Quito.

- 6 p.m. (7 p.m.) Arrival in Quito.

- 7 p.m. (8 p.m.) Courtesy visit to the President Rafael Correa at Carondelet Palace.

- 8:10 p.m. (9:10 p.m.) Visit to the Quito cathedral. Greeting by pope.

Tuesday, July 7 (Quito)

- 9 a.m. (10 a.m.) Meeting with the Ecuadorean bishops in the convention center at Bicentennial Park.

- 10:30 a.m. (11:30 a.m.) Mass in Bicentennial Park. Homily by pope.

- 4:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m.) Meeting with representatives of schools and universities at the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. Speech by pope.

- 6 p.m. (7 p.m.) Meeting with representatives of civil society in the Church of St. Francis. Speech by pope.

- 7:15 p.m. (8:15 p.m.) Private visit to the Church of the Society of Jesus.

Wednesday, July 8 (Quito, La Paz, Santa Cruz)

- 9:30 a.m. (10:30 a.m.) Visit to a home for the aged run by the Missionaries of Charity.

- 10:30 a.m. (11:30 a.m.) Meeting with clergy, religious men and women, and seminarians at the El Quinche National Marian Shrine. Speech by pope.

- Noon. (1 p.m.) Departure by airplane from Quito to La Paz, Bolivia.

- 4:15 p.m. Arrival at El Alto International Airport in La Paz. Arrival ceremony. Speech by pope.

- 6 p.m. Courtesy visit to President Evo Morales in the Palace of Government.

- 7 p.m. Meeting with civil authorities in the La Paz cathedral. Speech by pope.

- 8 p.m. Departure by airplane for Santa Cruz.

- 9:15 p.m. Arrival at the Viru Viru International Airport in Santa Cruz.

Thursday, July 9 (Santa Cruz)

- 10 a.m. Mass in Christ the Redeemer Square. Homily by pope.

- 4 p.m. Meeting with priests, religious men and women, and seminarians in the Don Bosco school. Speech by pope.

- 5:30 p.m. Participation in the second World Meeting of Popular Movements at the exposition grounds. Speech by pope.

Friday, July 10 (Santa Cruz, Asuncion)

- 9:30 a.m. Visit to the Palmasola prison. Speech by pope.

- 11 a.m. Meeting with the bishops of Bolivia in Holy Cross Church.

- 12:45 p.m. Departure ceremony at Viru Viru International Airport.

- 1 p.m. Departure by plane for Asuncion, Paraguay.

- 3 p.m. Arrival at Silvio Pettirossi International Airport in Asuncion. Welcoming ceremony.

- 6 p.m. Courtesy visit to President Horacio Cartes at Lopez Palace.

- 6:45 p.m. Meeting with authorities and members of the diplomatic corps in the garden of Lopez Palace. Speech by pope.

Saturday, July 11 (Asuncion)

- 8:30 a.m. Visit to the Ninos de Acosta Nu General Pediatric Hospital. Greeting by pope.

- 10:30 a.m. Mass outside the Caacupe Marian shrine. Homily by pope.

- 4:30 p.m. Meeting with representatives of civil society at the Leon Condou Stadium at St. Joseph's School. Speech by pope.

- 6:15 p.m. Vespers with bishops, priests, deacons, religious men and women, seminarians and members of Catholic movements at Assumption Cathedral. Homily by pope.

Sunday, July 12 (Asuncion, Rome)

- 8:15 a.m. Meeting with the people of the Banado Norte neighborhood in the Chapel of St. John the Baptist. Speech by pope.

- 10 a.m. Mass in the field at Nu Guazu Park. Homily by pope.

- 1 p.m. Meeting with the bishops of Paraguay in the Cultural Center of the apostolic nunciature.

- 1:30 p.m. Lunch with the bishops of Paraguay and members of the papal entourage.

- 5 p.m. Meeting with youths along the Costanera riverwalk. Speech by pope.

- 7 p.m. Departure by plane for Rome.

Monday, July 13

- 1:45 p.m. (7:45 a.m.) Arrival at Rome's Ciampino airport.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015