At the invitation of President Enrique Peña Nieto, Pope Francis will make his first pastoral visit to Mexico from February 12-17, 2016. His agenda will include a broad range of official and religious activities in Mexico City and the states of Mexico, Chiapas, Michoacan and Chihuahua.

This will be a pastoral visit with an official component. Pope Francis will be received as Head of State, given that Mexico and the Holy See established diplomatic relations on September 21, 1992.

The Pope’s official activities include a private meeting with the president in the National Palace, a parallel meeting between the Mexican delegation and the papal entourage, and a meeting with civil authorities and the diplomatic corps with remarks by the Pope.

The Mexican government recognizes the Holy See as an actor with great weight on international issues. The purpose of the visit is to give continuity to the political dialogue at the highest level in order to broaden cooperation and joint action, based on the common principles on which the bilateral relationship rests.

During the official meetings, ways to reach concrete solutions to issues such as environmental protection, peace and security, the protection of migrants, inclusive development, the fight against poverty, nuclear disarmament and human rights, among others, will be discussed.

Pope Francis’ visit will be the seventh visit by a pope to Mexico. President Peña Nieto attended the inauguration of the Pontificate of Pope Francis and, in June 2014, made an official visit to the Holy See.

The Pope will arrive in Mexico City on Friday, February 12 from Rome. The official activities of his visit will take place on February 13, in addition to a meeting with the Bishops of Mexico and a Mass in the Basilica of Guadalupe.

On Sunday, February 14, His Holiness will officiate a Mass in Ecatepec de Morelos, State of Mexico, visit a children’s hospital and meet with cultural representatives in Mexico City.

On Monday, February 15, Pope Francis will be in Chiapas. His agenda there includes a Mass with indigenous communities in San Cristobal de las Casas, and a meeting with families in Tuxtla Gutierrez.

The next day, His Holiness will visit the city of Morelia, Michoacan, where he will celebrate Mass with priests, religious, consecrated persons and seminarians in the morning and meet with young people in the afternoon.

Lastly, on Wednesday, February 17, he will be in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, where he will visit inmates, meet with labor representatives and celebrate Mass. The Pope will return to Rome on Wednesday afternoon, from Juarez International Airport.

Specific details about the times and locations will be announced by the Holy See and the Mexican Episcopal Conference at a later date. The Mexican government is working closely with the states to ensure the safety and welfare of all those who participate in the various activities on the pope’s agenda.