MIAMI SHORES(CBSMiami.com) – Pope Benedict XVI may be preparing to make a trip to Cuba and Mexico as early as the Spring of 2012, and if the Pope makes his way to Cuba the Archbishop of Miami said he will accompany him on his travels.
According to the Associated Press, despite the pontiff’s age, he’ll turn 85 in April, he has asked papal envoys in Cuba and Mexico to tell both political and religious authorities that the Vatican is “studying a concrete project, to visit the two countries.
Archbishop Thomas Wenski told CBS4’s Tiffani Helberg he’s up for the trip with the Pope.
Cuba was visited by Pope John Paul II in 1998 and the Vatican’s number two person in 2008. The foreign minister of the Vatican came to the communist country in 2010.
Pope John Paul II was very well received. He held mass and thousands came out to see him, Helberg reported.
“The Pope’s presence in Cuba in 1998 was a liberating presence and his message is, I think, set the benchmark for a for a transition for Cuba… a future Cuba where there would be hope for the people on the island,” Wenski said. “So I think another visit by another pope would have a similar positive impact.”
Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said that if Pope Benedict XVI visited the communist country, it would offer “great encouragement” to the island’s faithful, according to the Associated Press.
Rev. Lombardi said the visit would be especially meaningful to the Catholic community in Cuba because they are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the image of the Virgin of Charity of Cobre, which is Cuba’s patron saint.
The Pope is expected to announce his decision on December 12, 2011, Helberg reported.
According to the AP, no other foreign trips in 2012 are being studied at this time.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)