December 9, 2013
Pope Francis confirms visit to Argentina 'not before 2016'
Ever since ex Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was appointed to head the Roman Catholic Church, versions and rumors have alleged to a papal visit to Argentina in the near future. However, Pope Francis himself said he is not planning such a trip, at least, not before 2016.
“I don’t know about plans to go there (Argentina); certainly not before 2016. What is certain is that if a visit Argentina, I have to visit Uruguay and Chile, so there we’ll be,” a Vatican statement confirmed after the pontiff met a group of former Uruguayan Jesuit students today at the Apostrolic Palace.
“You bring me so many memories from there (Uruguay). The only thing I find strange is than none of you is carrying your Mate. When your president (José Mujica) came here we were with the Mate,” the first Latin American pontiff in history told his visitors referring to the traditional Mate Uruguayan drink, an infusion based on the Yerba Mate herb very much popular also among Argentineans.
“People here are very nice, are good colleagues and they all work together but there is lot of job to do and it’s difficult to keep up with it. Pray for me, for my colleagues, so that we can go ahead,” Francis told the Jesuit group.
Meanwhile, in other scheduled activities, the Pope met the President of Panama Ricardo Martinelli and presented the Ratzinger award created in 2011 by the Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation. This year it was granted to the English Biblical scholar Richard A. Burridge and the German lay theologian Christian Schaller.