Pope Francis has arrived in Chile, beginning a week-long Apostolic journey that will take him to 6 cities in as many days in Chile and Peru. This his 6th apostolic visit to Latin America.
The Pope was met at Santiago International airport by Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, and the President of the country’s Bishops’ Conference. There were no official discourses as the Pope went immediately to the Apostolic Nunciature to rest. The official programme of the visit begins today with his meeting with civil authorities and members of the diplomatic corps.
Formal and informal meetings
Highlights of the trip are expected to include some less formal meetings with indigenous people and migrants in both countries, as well as traditional encounters with young people, members of the local Bishops Conferences, and his customary conversations with priests and religious.
Visit to the Jesuit Community
But there will also be a more personal visit to the Jesuit Community at the St Alberto Hurtado Shrine on Tuesday evening, in keeping with the Pope’s tradition of taking time off to catch up with his Jesuit brothers in the country he is visiting. Hurtado was a Chilean Jesuit who became the country’s first male saint when he was canonized by Benedict XVI.
Migrants and indigenous peoples
Two particularly moving encounters are likely to be those at the women’s prison in Santiago, soon after Pope Francis arrives in Chile, and his stop in the northern port city of Iquique, just before he leaves. The city is a refuge for thousands of economic migrants who come to Chile from neighboring countries in search of a better life. Wednesday will see him in the city of Temuco, traditionally considered the poorest area in the entire country and home to an indigenous community that accounts for 23 percent of the population.