List of pastoral visits of Pope Francis outside Italy

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Pastoral visits of Pope Francis.

This is a list of pastoral visits of Pope Francis outside Italy.

Francis and Pope John XXIII are the only popes within the past eighty years who had never travelled to the United States before being elected pope.[1]


 Brazil (22 to 29 July 2013)[edit]

Pope Francis visits a favela in Brazil during the World Youth Day 2013.

Francis visited Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for World Youth Day. This was the only scheduled foreign trip for him in the year. Francis was officially welcomed to Brazil during a ceremony at Guanabara palace and met with Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff.[2] Throughout the celebrations, Francis gathered up to 3.5 million pilgrims to celebrate mass at Copacabana Beach.[3] During his vigil address, Francis urged the pilgrims not to be "part-time Christians", but to lead full, meaningful lives.[4] The trip was previously scheduled for his predecessor, Benedict XVI, before his resignation.[5]


 Israel,  Jordan, and  Palestine (24 to 26 May 2014)[edit]

Pope Francis waving for the people after the mass in Bethlehem. (By/ Mustafa Bader)

Francis visited Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem during his three-day trip to the region from 24 to 26 May. The trip was announced during the Sunday Angelus on 5 January 2014.[6][7] Francis arrived in Jordan on 24 May and after meeting with King Abdullah II, celebrated mass at Amman International Stadium.[8] During his trip, Francis prayed at the Israeli West Bank barrier and also visited the Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.[9] Francis concluded his tour by meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew I to continue inter-faith dialogue with the Orthodox Church.[10]

 South Korea (14 to 18 August 2014)[edit]

Pope Francis travels through Gwangwhamun Square during the beatification ceremony.

Pope Francis arrived in Seoul Air Base on 14 August to start his five-day visit to South Korea on the occasion of the Sixth Asian Youth Day.[11] Upon arrival, Francis was greeted by South Korean President Park Geun-hye.[12] Afterwards, Francis held a private meeting with the families of victims of the MV Sewol ferry disaster.[13] He later made a speech in English, his first as Pope. Speaking at the Presidential Office in Seoul he said "I came here thinking of peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula." [14] Francis held the first public mass of his trip on 15 August in front of a 50,000 strong crowd at Daejeon World Cup Stadium where he asked Koreans to "reject inhumane economic models which create new forms of poverty and marginalize workers."[15] He beatified the first generation of 124 Korean Martyrs in Gwangwhamun Square on front of an estimated crowd of 800,000 people on 16 August.[16] Francis concluded his five-day visit with a Mass for peace and reconciliation of the divided Korean peninsula in Seoul's Myeongdong Cathedral.[17]

 Albania (21 September 2014)[edit]

Pope Francis announced in his Angelus address on 15 June 2014 that he would make a one-day visit to the city of Tirana in Albania. He said: "With this brief visit, I want to confirm the Church of Albania in the faith, and bear witness to my encouragement and love for a country that has suffered for so long in consequence of the ideologies of the past".[18] Security concerns were raised in the days before the visit after Iraqi governmental officials warned they had received intelligence reports suggesting Islamic fundamentalists may be planning an attempt on the Pope's life while in Albania.[19]

The 11-hour visit was the first European trip made by Francis. He said in August that he had chosen Albania as the first destination because it has set a model for harmony between the various religions by establishing a national unity government that includes Muslims and Orthodox and Catholic Christians.

During his stay, he met Albanian President Bujar Nishani, celebrated mass in Mother Teresa square in Tirana, and met with religious leaders, including those of the Muslim, Orthodox, Bektashi, Jewish and Protestant faiths. He also honored those persecuted under the rule of former communist dictator Enver Hoxha. Some 130 Christian clergy died in detention or were executed during the 1944-1985 dictatorship of Hoxha, who declared Albania the world's first atheist state in 1967. Pictures of some of the priests persecuted or executed during the period were hung in Tirana's main Martyrs of the Nation boulevard ahead of the pope's visit. Albania has since seen a revival of Catholicism partly owing to the popularity of Mother Teresa, who had Albanian origins despite being born in what is now Macedonia.[20]

 France (25 November 2014)[edit]

Francis making his address to the European Parliament.

Pope Francis made a four-hour visit, the shortest made by any Pope abroad, to Strasbourg on 25 November 2014, where he addressed the European Parliament and the Council of Europe raising issues such as the dignified treatment of immigrants arriving illegally in Europe and better conditions for workers.[21]

 Turkey (28 to 30 November 2014)[edit]

Pope Francis accepted an invitation to visit Turkey at the behest of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in September 2014. This invitation also came from Patriarch Bartholomew I in order to commemorate the feast day of Saint Andrew.[22] Francis arrived at Esenboğa International Airport on 28 November where he was met by Turkish dignitaries before he traveled to Anıtkabir, laying a wreath in memory of the Turkish republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.[23] Francis then traveled to the Presidential Palace where he met with President Erdoğan and gave a speech urging interfaith dialogue to counter fanaticism and fundamentalism and called for a renewed Middle-East peace push, saying the region had "for too long been a theatre of fratricidal wars".[24] The following day, Francis visited the Blue Mosque where he prayed silently alongside senior Islamic clerics.[25] Francis concluded his visit with a liturgy in the Church of St. George alongside Bartholomew I, asking for his blessing "for me and the Church of Rome" and also urging the re-unification between the two Churches, telling the Orthodox faithful gathered in St George's that "I want to assure each one of you gathered here that, to reach the desired goal of full unity, the Catholic Church does not intend to impose any conditions except that of the shared profession of faith".[26]


 Sri Lanka and  Philippines (13 to 19 January 2015)[edit]

Pope Francis in Colombo, Sri Lanka. 14 January 2015
Pope Francis rides around the faithful after the open air Mass in Tacloban. 17 January 2015

Pope Francis visited Sri Lanka on 13–15 January and the Philippines (15–19) in January.[27][28][29]

In Sri Lanka, the pope addressed the difficulties of healing after the devastating war between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which ended in 2009. He urged the country’s multiethnic, multi-religious population to promote “human dignity, respect for human rights and the full inclusion of each member of society.” “Sri Lanka for many years knew the horrors of civil strife and is now seeking to consolidate peace and to heal the scars of those years,” Pope Francis said. “The process of healing…needs to include the pursuit of truth….as a means of promoting justice, healing and unity.”

The pope’s comment appeared to refer to the establishment of an investigation into abuses during the war and the possibility of bringing perpetrators to justice. Mr. Rajapaksa resisted an international investigation. Mr. Sirisena also opposes an international inquiry but has pledged to set up a credible domestic body.

The pope greeted well-wishers during a procession in his open-top Popemobile on 13 January 2015. Forty brightly decorated elephants were arranged by the start at the airport. Yellow-and-white Vatican flags flew along the roads into the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo. Later on in the evening, the pope participated in an inter-religious meeting, marked by a Buddhist chant and blessings by Hindu and Muslim clerics.

“I hope that interreligious and ecumenical cooperation will demonstrate that men and women do not have to forsake their identity, whether ethnic or religious, in order to live in harmony,” he said.

The pope had singled out Asia as a special priority since his March 2013 election, seeing opportunity in a continent that has a small, but growing Catholic population. In 2010, about 3% of Asians were Catholic, compared with 72% of Latin Americans and a third of Europeans, according to the Pew Research Center.

Sri Lanka and the Philippines embody different challenges for the Catholic Church. In Sri Lanka, Catholics make up just 7% of the population, where two-thirds are Buddhist. The Philippines is home to half of Asia’s Catholics. With 80 million faithful, it has the third-largest Catholic community in the world.

On Wednesday 14th January 2015, he traveled to Madhu, a town in northern Sri Lanka that is predominantly Tamil and home to an important sanctuary that was the site of a 16th-century massacre of Christians.

Sri Lanka is still divided along ethnic and religious lines. The U.N. said in 2011 that 40,000 civilians were killed in the last phase of the war, and tensions remain high over responsibility for war crimes during the conflict, the release of political prisoners and the return of confiscated land.

Hard-line Buddhist groups have denounced conversions by Christian evangelicals and clashed with Muslims, who make up about 10% of the population. Although the Sri Lankan constitution proclaims religious freedom, it gives Buddhism “the foremost place” in the country and commits the state to protecting it.

Buddhist militants, sometimes led by monks, have attacked Hindu temples, Muslim mosques and Christian churches, particularly evangelical churches, which are relatively new to Sri Lanka. Some groups destroyed mosques and churches in 2013 as security forces stood by, the U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom Report says. In 2012 and 2013, more than 100 attacks on Christians and churches were recorded, according to Christian group Aid to the Church in Need.

Pope Francis gave his speeches in English, a language he rarely uses. His native language is Spanish and he presides over most official occasions in Italian. Despite not being a very fluent English speaker, he gave all 11 speeches and homilies during his Asian tour in English, a possible[citation needed] warm-up for his visit to the U.S. in September.

Pope Francis canonized Joseph Vaz, a 17th-century priest credited with keeping Catholicism alive in Sri Lanka during a period of persecution, giving the country its first Catholic saint. In the Philippines, he traveled to Tacloban, the area that suffered heavy casualties and damage in the 2013 typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), and held a huge Mass in Manila that is expected to draw millions.[30]

Pope Francis’ visit to Philippines was the fourth papal visit to the island nation. Blessed Paul VI visited Philippines in 1970 and St. John Paul II came in 1981 for the beatification of then Blessed Lorenzo Ruiz and returned in 1995 for the celebration of the World Youth Day.

Upcoming visits[edit]

 Bosnia and Herzegovina (6 June 2015)[edit]

Pope Francis announced on 1 February 2015 that he intends to visit Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 6 June 2015.[31]

 Bolivia,  Ecuador, and  Paraguay (6 to 12 July 2015)[edit]

Pope Francis will visit Bolivia in July 2015, as well as two other Latin American countries which shall be Ecuador and Paraguay. Bolivian President Evo Morales confirmed that Pope Francis would meet with indigenous organizations on the sidelines of official functions.[32][33] It was announced by Holy See in April 2015 that the pope would be in Ecuador from 6-8 July, Bolivia from 8-10 July and Paraguay from 10-12 July 2015.[34][35]

 France (2015)[edit]

Pope Francis has scheduled an official papal visit to France where he shall travel to Paris and to Lourdes.[36]

 Cuba and  United States (19 to 27 September 2015)[edit]

Pope Francis has announced a possible intention to visit the United States in Philadelphia on the occasion of the World Meeting of Families which is slated for 22–27 September. Francis will also address a joint session of the United States Congress in Washington DC on September 25, the first pontiff ever to do so in congressional history. The Vatican has also announced that the Pope was considering a visit to New York City, the United Nations, but no date has been confirmed. [37] The pope himself confirmed that he would visit Philadelphia and New York City but no date was specified.[38] The pope, on board the papal plane to the Philippines earlier in the year, also announced his intention while there to canonize Blessed Junipero Serra, possibly at a location out in the West or along the Rio Grande River at the Texas-Mexico border. It was announced that the canonization would occur on 23 September in Washington D.C..[39]

The Director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., has stated that, while too early to confirm, there is a possibility that the pope might also visit Cuba while he is on his U.S. visit (Pope John Paul II historically visited Cuba in 1998 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, and Pope Francis played a major role as a mediator in the historic thaw between the U.S. and Cuba.[40] On 22 April the Holy See confirmed that Pope Francis will visit Cuba on his way to the United States.[41]

 Central African Republic and  Uganda (November 2015)[edit]

Pope Francis stated, aboard the papal plane returning from the Philippines, that he hopes to visit Africa late in 2015 and mentioned the Central African Republic and Uganda as likely sites.[42]


 Philippines (24 to 31 January 2016)[edit]

Pope Francis is invited to the 51st International Eucharistic Congress to be held in Cebu, Philippines, though he has yet to accept the invitation.[29]

 Argentina,  Chile, and  Uruguay (July 2016)[edit]

Pope Francis will visit his nation and two neighbour countries during the bicentennial of the 1816 Argentine Declaration of Independence. The date was also selected to be after the 2015 presidential elections, to avoid interfering with it.[43]

 Poland (25 to 31 July 2016)[edit]

Pope Francis will visit Krakow, Poland on 25 to 31 July on the occasion of World Youth Day 2016. This was announced in 2013 at the end of the previous event.

 Armenia (2016)[edit]

President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia extended an official invitation to Pope Francis to visit Armenia in 2015, which the pontiff readily accepted, expressing his sincere desire to visit the country. No date was given for the visit.[44] It was confirmed in 2015 that the pope would visit Armenia sometime in 2016.[45]


 Brazil (2017)[edit]

Before he departed Brazil after W.Y.D. 2013 the pope announced that he would return to Brazil in 2017 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the appearance of the Virgin of Aparecida.[46][47]

 Indonesia (2017)[edit]

Pope Francis will visit Indonesia on the occasion of Asian Youth Day according to the secretary-general of the Indonesian Bishops Conference, Archbishop Johannes Pujasumarta. No official details have been released yet.[48]

 Portugal (May 2017)[edit]

Bishop Antonio Marto announced that on 25 April 2015 the pope confirmed that he would visit Fatima in Portugal to mark the centenary of the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. It was also made known that the government and Portuguese Episcopal Conference extended invitations to the pope. There is the potential possibility that the pope could also canonize Francisco and Jacinta Marto, two of the three seers of Fatima.[49][50]


 Czech Republic (2018)[edit]

President Miloš Zeman extended a visit to the pope who accepted to visit for an ecumenical meeting with leaders of the Orthodox Church. The president stated that the visit would occur in 2018.[51]

Unscheduled visits[edit]


Pope Francis, on 7 June 2014, accepted an invitation to visit Mexico at the behest of the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto. The date of the visit has not yet been announced.[52]


Pope Francis has reportedly accepted an invitation from Moncef Marzouki, the President of Tunisia, to visit that country, although no date has been set.[53]


Pope Francis confirmed to Ukrainian bishops in their ad limina visit that he would go to Ukraine for a papal visit. It was reported that an invitation by President Petro Poroshenko was also conveyed to the pope.[54]


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe invited the pontiff to visit Japan in his visit on 6 June 2013. The pope expressed his willingness to go there.[55]


King Felipe VI extended an invitation to Pope Francis to visit Spain in 2015 upon his visit in June 2014. The pope expressed his desire to visit but it was confirmed in 2015 he would not visit since he did not wish to interfere with elections. It has been hinted the visit could take place in 2016.[56]


Pope Francis reportedly expressed his desire to visit Nigeria according to President Goodluck Jonathan after the pair met in 2013.[57]


Pope Francis stated in November 2014 that he would want to visit Iraq according to Archbishop Bashar Warda but that his staff would not allow it for some time.[58]


The President of Romania Klaus Iohannis invited the pope to visit the nation to which the pope agreed to; a date must be decided upon.[59]


Pope Francis reportedly intends to visit Colombia at the earliest possible chances. It was believed that it would occur during his 2015 Latin America tour, but it was revealed that it would occur at some other point in the future.[60]


On the "exposition of Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier", the Indian territory of Goa sought to have Pope Francis visit there at some stage in 2014.[61]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Why Bergoglio travels so little". Vatican Insider. 29 March 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Pilgrims meet Pope Francis in Brazil". RTE. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Fr. Lombardi: Brazil is the only scheduled foreign trip for Pope Francis in 2013". Vatican Radio. 25 April 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Pope Francis celebrates Brazil Mass on Copacabana beach". BBC. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Pope Francis to visit the Holy Land - Europe". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Pope leaves Holy Land after hectic three-day tour". Haaretz Group. 26 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  8. ^ "Crowds welcome Pope Francis to Jordan at start of Holy Land trip". CNN. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  9. ^ "The Pope's Holy-Land Trip Wasn't About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict". The Atlantic. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "Why the meeting between pope and patriarch in Jerusalem matters". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Pope Francis Arrives in South Korea on First Trip to Asia as Pontiff". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "Pope Francis urges dialogue as he begins South Korea visit". BBC. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  13. ^ "Pope meets families bereaved by Korean ferry disaster". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 August 2014. 
  14. ^ "Pope prays for peace but North Korea fires projectiles". South Korea News.Net. 14 August 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  15. ^ "Pope Francis Holds First Public Mass in South Korea". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  16. ^ "800,000 South Koreans flock to Pope Francis mass in Seoul". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  17. ^ "Pope Francis Wraps Up Inaugural Asian Trip". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  18. ^ "Pope to visit Albania". Vatican Radio. 15 June 2014. Retrieved 15 June 2014. 
  19. ^ "Pope Francis starts series of European visits with Albania". Irish Times. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Pope Francis complains of 'haggard' Europe in Strasbourg". BBC. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  22. ^ "Pope Francis To Visit Turkey In November Following Invitations From Erdogan, Bartholomew". Huffington Post. 9 September 2014. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  23. ^ "Pope Francis condemns IS: 'Those who spread violence and savagery are in a state of rebellion against Allah'". Irish Independent. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  24. ^ "Pope Francis in Turkey urges faiths to combat fanaticism". BBC. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  25. ^ "Pope Francis prays at Blue Mosque during Turkey visit". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 29 November 2014. 
  26. ^ "Pope Francis issues call for unity". Irish Independent. Retrieved 30 November 2014. 
  27. ^ "His Holiness Pope Francis is to visit Sri Lanka in January next year.". 20 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  28. ^ "Pope Francis to visit Sri Lanka". 10 February 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  29. ^ a b
  30. ^
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  33. ^ "Pope Francis will travel to Bolivia in 2015". teleSUR. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  34. ^,_bolivia_and_paraguay_/1137160
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Pope Francis to visit Paris and Lourdes next year". Catholic Herald. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  37. ^ "Pope Francis is coming to America in September 2015: Philadelphia's archbishop". Daily News. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  38. ^ "Pope Francis will make NYC stop during 2015 U.S. visit". New York Daily News. 17 November 2014. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  39. ^ "Pope says to canonize Junipero Serra during US visit". Daily Mail. 15 January 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015. 
  40. ^ "Dichiarazione del Direttore della Sala Stampa, P. Federico Lombardi, S.I., 17.04.2015". Holy See Press Office. 17 April 2015. 
  41. ^ "Dichiarazione del Direttore della Sala Stampa, P. Federico Lombardi, S.I., 22.04.2015". Holy See Press Office. 22 April 2015. 
  42. ^ "Pope Francis rules out Mexico, border stop on US trip". Crux. 19 January 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015. 
  43. ^ "Detalles de la visita de Francisco a la Argentina" [Details of the visit of Francis to Argentina] (in Spanish). Clarín. 17 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  44. ^ "Pope Francis accepts invitation to visit Armenia". Public Radio of Armenia. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  45. ^ "Pope Francis to visit Armenia next year". 12 April 2015. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  46. ^ "Pope to return to Brazil in 2017". Vatican Insider. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  47. ^ "Pope says he'll be back to Brazil in 2017". Yahoo News. 24 July 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  48. ^ "Archbishop: Pope Francis to Visit Indonesia in 2017". Cempaka Culture and Tourism. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  49. ^ "Pope Francis Plans to Visit Fatima in 2017". Zenit. 27 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  50. ^ "Pope Francis confirmed that he will go to Fatima in 2017 (in Spanish)". Vatican Radio. 26 April 2015. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  51. ^ "Zeman: Pope Francis could visit Czech Republic". Prague Post. 24 April 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015. 
  52. ^ "Pope Francis accepts invitation to visit Mexico". Fox News Latino. 7 June 2014. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  53. ^ "Vatican confirms papal trip to Turkey in November". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 13 September 2014. 
  54. ^ "Report: Pope Francis to Travel to Ukraine". Breitbart News Network. 24 February 2015. Retrieved 25 February 2015. 
  55. ^ "Pope may pay visit to Japan next year". 7 June 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  56. ^ "Pope Francis Will Not Visit Spain for 500th Anniversary of Santa Teresa". Spanish News Today. 27 January 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  57. ^ ""Pope Francis Promised To Visit Nigeria" - Goodluck Jonathan". Naij. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  58. ^ "A visit by the Pope to Iraq is possible, says Archbishop of Erbil". Catholic Herald. 1 May 2015. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  59. ^ "Pope Francis accepted President Iohannis's invitation to visit Romania at a date to be subsequently agreed upon". Act Media. 18 May 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2015. 
  60. ^ "Pope Francis to visit Colombia, urges support for peace process". Yahoo! News. 3 April 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  61. ^ Paul, Cithara (30 June 2013). "BJP, Church bid to bring Pope to Goa raises hopes of new ties". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 

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