US & World

Pope Francis to visit Mexico in February, cardinal says

Pope Francis arrives to attend an audience with the representatives of the Union of Catholic Entrepreneurs, in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015.
Pope Francis arrives to attend an audience with the representatives of the Union of Catholic Entrepreneurs, in the Pope Paul VI hall at the Vatican, Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015.
Andrew Medichini/AP

A leading Roman Catholic official in Mexico says Pope Francis will visit that country starting Feb. 12, 2016.

Cardinal Norberto Rivera made the announcement Sunday during a homily in Mexico's capital. Rivera didn't provide any more details about the visit, only saying the pontiff would arrive in Mexico City on that date.

Archdiocese spokesman Carlos Villa Roiz confirmed Rivera's comments to The Associated Press, adding that a Vatican official would be traveling to Mexico soon to arrange the pope's agenda. During the visit, Francis is expected to address the violence in Mexico as well as migration, one of the central themes of his papacy.

Francis has said he wanted to enter the U.S. from Mexico in a sign of solidarity with migrants during his recent U.S. trip but that the schedule didn't allow for it. Some Mexican church officials are hoping the pope will tour the U.S. border region.

The last pope to visit Mexico was Benedict XVI in March 2012.