Pope Francis to travel to Latin America

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.

AFP| Updated: Jan 19, 2015, 22:48 PM IST

La Paz: 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.

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

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

The Argentine pope was born Jose Bergoglio on December 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.