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Church Confirms Date of Pope Francis' Mexico 2016 Visit

MEXICO CITY -- Pope Francis will arrive in Mexico on Feb. 12 to start his long-awaited visit to the heavily Roman Catholic country, a church official said Sunday.

Mexican Cardinal Norberto Rivera didn't provide any more details about the visit, only saying the pontiff would arrive in Mexico City on that date. Local media reported that the visit would last until Feb. 20.

Image: Pope Francis waves during his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican
Pope Francis waving during his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican November 1, 2015. TONY GENTILE / Reuters

Archdiocese spokesman Carlos Villa Roiz told The Associated Press that a Vatican official would be traveling to Mexico soon to arrange the pope's agenda for the trip. During the visit, Francis is expected to address the violence in Mexico as well as migration, one of the central themes of his papacy.

Pope Visits Shanty Town in Rome 0:39

Francis had said he wanted to enter the U.S. from Mexico in a sign of solidarity with migrants during his recent U.S. trip but that the schedule didn't allow for it. Some Mexican church officials are hoping the pope will tour the U.S. border region.

The last pope to visit Mexico was Benedict XVI in March 2012.

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