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The Pope Francis 2016 schedule is focused mostly on the Jubilee of Mercy, but the Pope will also travel to Mexico and Poland.

Pope Francis confirmed that he will be visiting Mexico in the first half of 2016 while celebrating Mass on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe last December 12. The Holy See will begin in Mexico City, and then will go on to make two day trips: to Chiapas to meet indigenous individuals, and to the Morelia, a high-crime area, to meet young people. The Pope is scheduled to return to Rome via Ciudad Juárez on the Mexico-U.S. border. This will be his first time visiting the country and second time in the North American continent. His itinerary also includes a visit to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine.

According to Catholic Online, “his interest in helping migrants enter the U.S. is one of the reasons the Pope wants to visit the country. It is also reported that the pope is considering visiting the area in Mexico where migrants try to cross illegally, a gesture that is believed to be considered because of his recent trip in America.”

The Pope’s immigration policy is pure and simple, a policy of love. Indeed, in one of the most historic papal speeches in history that happened in September, Pope Francis declared to the United States Congress: “In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants.”

Pope Francis will also be leading World Youth Day in Kraków, Poland, the city of Pope John Paul II and Divine Mercy mystic, St. Faustina Kowalska. Austen Ivereigh of Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) weekly comments: “Kraków will be a fascinating crucible for reconciling the legacies of the Argentine and Polish popes, and their two — in some respects contrasting — understandings of God’s mercy.” The Pope announced World Youth Day 2016 while holding the concluding mass for World Youth Day 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Pope originally planned to visit Milan, Italy in May of this year, but the trip has been deferred, along with other visits to Italy, to 2017. It is reported that the postponement is due to a “crowded jubilee itinerary.” Some sources close to him say, however, that the wider intervals in between trips are to avoid wearing out the Catholic leader. He stated on a return flight from Africa: “Trips at my age aren’t healthy. One can survive them, but they are leaving their mark.”

Visiting Armenia in April 2016, the 101st anniversary of the 1915 genocide, is a possibility for the Pope, although this has not been absolutely confirmed.  He hopes to visit the country, but admits, “I am old and these trips are heavy.” He may also visit three South-American nations: Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. Argentina, Chile and Uruguay are also awaiting a visit from the Pope. It is speculated that these trips could be joined with his visit to the shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida in Brazil, whose 300th anniversary he promised to celebrate in the country in 2017.

The real focus of the Pope’s 2016 schedule will be the Jubilee of Mercy, which may attract 25 million visitors. He will be modeling the corporal and spiritual works of mercy in Catholic doctrine, starting with a Jubilee for Pilgrimage Workers from January 19-21, 2016. The entire 2016 Jubilee-related schedule can be found here.

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