Latin America to be the Host of Holy Father's First Apostolic Visit of 2018

January 15, 2018

The first apostolic journey of 2018 will take Pope Francis to Chile and Peru: this is the 22nd journey of his pontificate and his 6th visit to Latin America. 


On the evening of January 15, the Holy Father’s plane will land in Santiago, Chile. After the welcome ceremony, the pope will go to the Apostolic Nunciature.

The morning of January 16 will be consecrated to the customary visits to the civil authorities, including President Michelle Bachelet, followed by the celebration of Holy Mass in O’Higgins Park. The pope will visit a female penitentiary, then meet with the bishops, clergy, religious, and seminarians. In the evening, he will have a private meeting with the members of the Society of Jesus.

On January 17, Francis will go to Temuco to celebrate Mass and have lunch with the inhabitants of the region at the Madre de la Santa Cruz house. Upon his return to Santiago, he will meet with the youth and visit the city’s Pontifical Catholic University.

On January 18, the pope will fly to Iquique, in the north of Chile, where he plans to celebrate Mass before leaving for the capital of Peru in the late afternoon.

In Lima, the day of January 19 will begin with a meeting with the civil authorities and the diplomatic corps, particularly President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. The pope will then fly to Puerto Maldonado, capital of the department of Madre de Dios. He will have lunch there with representatives of the peoples of Amazonia and will give a much-awaited speech in preparation for the Synod on Amazonia scheduled for October of 2019 in Rome.

On January 20, the pope will go to Trujillo, where he will visit the Argentinian district of the city after Mass, then meet with the local clergy. A ceremony in honor of the Virgen de la Puerta is also planned for this day.

Lastly, on January 21, Francis will pray in front of the relics of the Peruvian saints in the cathedral. He will meet with the bishops of Peru and celebrate Sunday Mass at Las Palmas Air Base in the afternoon, before taking off for Rome.

Statistics of the Countries Francis Is Visiting

The Holy See Press Office published on January 11, 2018, the statistics of the Catholic Church in the two nations that Pope Francis is visiting in January.

The statistics show Catholicism’s deep roots in the two countries visited by the pope. 74% of the population is Catholic in Chile, and 89.6% in Peru. 

In proportion to the number of baptized Catholics, there are relatively few priests in both countries: 2,283 in Chile and 3,361 in Peru. As for the number of seminarians, there are 1,539 in Peru and 568 in Chile.

Education is a priority for the Church, and she directs nearly 1,500 schools in each of the two countries.

The Church runs 38 health care centers in Peru and 18 in Chile.

Since the 1980’s, the Church in both countries has had to face in increase in urban secularism and the growing activity of Evangelical sects.