Pope Francis to Stop in Cuba Before US Trip
Vatican officially confirms papal visit en route to United States.
-- The Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis will stop in Cuba before his visit to the United States this September.
The Holy See said earlier this month that a stopover was being considered. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi officially confirmed the stopover today but gave no further details.
Pope Francis is said to have helped speed up reconciliation between the U.S. and Cuba by encouraging leaders of both nations and hosting some of the final negotiations.
Some Vatican watchers have already questioned why the pope would chose to visit the United States and Cuba before Mexico, which has the second-largest Catholic population in the world.
Francis will be the third pontiff to visit Cuba. Pope John Paul II first visited the island nation in 1998, with Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI visiting in 2012.
During his visit in September, Francis will stop in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City.
The Vatican also confirmed Monday that Francis will canonize a controversial 18th-century California missionary during the trip.