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Globetrotting Pope Francis to travel to Latin America

/ 11:25 PM January 19, 2015
Pope Francis gestures before boarding his plane as he departs from Manila on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. Pope Francis flew out of this Catholic bastion in Asia on Monday after a weeklong trip that included a visit to Sri Lanka and drew what Filipino officials says was a record crowd of 6 million faithful in a Manila park where he celebrated Mass.  AP PHOTO/AARON FAVILA

Pope Francis gestures before boarding his plane as he departs from Manila on Monday, Jan. 19, 2015. Pope Francis flew out of this Catholic bastion in Asia on Monday after a weeklong trip that included a visit to Sri Lanka and drew what Filipino officials says was a record crowd of 6 million faithful in a Manila park where he celebrated Mass. AP PHOTO/AARON FAVILA

LA PAZ, Bolivia–Francis, the first pontiff from Latin America, will return to the region in July when he visits Bolivia, President Evo Morales said, adding that Paraguay and Ecuador are also on the pope’s itinerary.

Morales told the newspaper La Razon that he communicated directly with the pontiff, who confirmed his travel plans.

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“I have received this message: I will be there in July,” Morales told the daily.

Morales long has expressed a desire for a visit from Francis, 78, hoping he might play a role in resolving a longstanding maritime dispute with neighboring Chile.

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The Argentine pope was born Jose Bergoglio on Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires.

Francis formerly served as archbishop of Buenos Aires, where he was known for his work in poor communities and his ardent support of Argentine football club San Lorenzo.

The announcement about his South America travel came as Francis on Monday wrapped up a triumphant visit to the Philippines and Sri Lanka, seeking to promote the Catholic Church in one of its most important growth regions.

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TAGS: Bolivia, Latin America, papal visit, Pope Francis
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