MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Pope Francis is expected to leave on Saturday for Cuba and then go to the United States next Tuesday for a five-day visit. The Pope has never been to the U.S. or Cuba and the Vatican said security would be tight on both countries. The Pope’s arrival in New York will coincide with the U.N. General Assembly gathering of world leaders.
CBS4 News Anchor Rick Folbaum and a CBS4 News crew are traveling to Havana Thursday to bring you live reports and some very special stories from the island.
Rick visited Our Lady of Charity church in Miami before leaving. It’s one of the many places in South Florida where excitement is building for the Pope’s journey to Cuba and the U.S.
In Miami, hundreds of people are preparing to travel to Cuba as well. Some are traveling to their homeland for the first time in 50 years. So this will be an emotional journey, on many levels.
In Cuba, they’re putting the finishing touches on preparations for the Pope’s visit and the cathedral in Havana is being spruced up ahead of the Pope’s arrival on Saturday.
The Pope will hold a Mass in Havana’s Revolution Square on Sunday morning.
He is the third Pope to visit Cuba but he’ll be the first to celebrate Mass there in his native language of Spanish.
While in Cuba, Pope Francis is expected to meet with President Raul Castro.
After Havana, he’ll travel to two other Cuban cities and offer his blessings and message of hope after he played a central role in the new efforts to normalize relations between the Cuba and U.S.
During the last weekly audience before the trip, Pope Francis asked pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s square to pray for him during the trip, which he called a ‘mission’ that he is approaching with great hope.