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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Pope Francis will be spending eight days combined in Cuba and the United States starting Saturday.

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In Cuba, preparations are being rushed to completion, as people await his afternoon arrival.

Workers spent last weekend putting the finishing touches on the cathedral in Havana.The pope will hold a mass in capital’s Revolution Square on Sunday morning.

He’s also expected to meet with Cuban Leader Raul Castro. According to the Vatican, a meeting with Fidel Castro in Havana is “likely” but hasn’t been scheduled yet.

From Cuba, the pope will make his way to the United States for the first time ever on Tuesday, Sept. 22 first stopping into Washington, D.C. as part of the five day U.S. tour.

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The pontiff will have 18 speaking engagements in the U.S. but only three will be done in English. One of them will be at the White House, a second to address Congress, which will be the first ever by a pope. His third and final engagement, spoken in English, will be the greetings he delivers to United Nations staff and benefactors in Philadelphia at the tail end of his trip.

His remaining 15 speaking engagements in the U.S. including mass, homilies, and conferences will be conducted in his native Spanish because according to the Vatican, the 78-year-old pope finds it easier to express himself that way.

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Pope Francis will arrive in New York City on Thursday, Sept. 24th where he will conduct mass at Madison Square Garden at 6:30 pm on Friday, Sept. 25th. Exactly 80-thousand tickets were distributed last week for the event. Many of them have popped up on Craigslist and eBay. Attendees are being encouraged to show up four and a half hours early because of tight security. Other than that, they will be treated to a star studded show at 3 p.m. while waiting. It will feature performances by Gloria Estefan, Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Hudson.

On Saturday, Sept. 26th the Pope Francis will leave the U.S. concluding his visit.

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CBS4’s Rick Folbaum will be travelling to Cuba later this week. Look for his live reports starting this Friday.