QUITO – Pope Francis will visit the cities of Quito and Guayaquil during the trip he will make to Ecuador on July 6-8, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa announced Thursday.
At a press conference with Ecuadorian Cardinal and Archbishop Emeritus Raul Vela, Correa confirmed that Francis will travel to the country on a tour that will also include Bolivia and Paraguay.
The president said that “in his generosity” the pope agreed to the request to also visit the coastal city of Guayaquil and not just the capital – which is much higher in elevation – as he had originally intended to do for health reasons.
“Fortunately, changing the itinerary, the Holy Father will also visit Guayaquil. He will arrive in Guayaquil, and from there he will climb to the city of Quito, he will continue to La Paz, then Cochabamba and then Paraguay,” said the president at the joint press conference with Catholic Church authorities.
The specific program for the pontiff’s trip will be announced in mid-May, after a second Vatican mission visits Ecuador in the coming days to continue the work of the first mission that came to the country in March to prepare for the papal trip.
Francis will travel to Ecuador 30 years after Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Vela said at the Ecuadorian Bishops Conference headquarters.
The president of the Conference, Fausto Travez, said that the pontiff’s visit is an “opportunity for all of us to show we’re united: Church, state, municipality and everyone; that we demonstrate to the world and to the Holy Father how in Ecuador we conduct ourselves well.”
Correa commented that the Church “calls for a world of justice, of equity” and Francis has made a call to people’s consciences for that commitment.
“Let this visit by Pope Francis be a call to our conscience to redouble our efforts, to fight for a world that is, in general – but in particular for a hemisphere, a country – more equitable and, above all, to fight against that attack on human dignity... that is poverty,” he said.