When Pope Francis Francis announced last week that he planned to canonize the 17th-century missionary Junipero Serra in the U.S., a possibility was raised that the Pope could travel to Carmel, California.
A surprise announcement by Pope Francis is creating a lot of buzz about a possible visit to Carmel by the Pope.
Serra established nine missions in California and was buried at Carmel Mission.
During Monday’s news conference, however, the Pope said he would canonize Serra during a visit to Washington D.C., likely at the National Shrine. The Pope will be in the U.S. for three days in September.
Francis told reporters “God willing, I will canonize Junipero Serra in the United States.”
Usually it takes a second miracle for one to be canonized, but Francis said he was waving church rules because Serra has been considered a holy man for decades.
On Monday the Pope also ruled out travelling to El Salvador to beatify slain Archbishop Oscar Romero.
Francis said he would have loved to have entered the U.S. via the Mexican border, saying it would have been a “beautiful thing, as a sign of brotherhood and of help to the immigrants.”
“But you know that going to Mexico without going to visit the Madonna (of Guadalupe) would be a drama. A war could break out!” he said, laughing. He said a Mexico visit would come in the future.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, stressed that the travel plans were “provisional and that nothing has been decided.”
Francis will likely travel to Ecuador, Bolivia or Paraguay in July, Vatican officials said. Francis also confirmed he hoped to visit Argentina, Chile and Uruguay in 2016 – and Peru at some point.
Francis expressed his openness to going to China, and denied recent speculation that he had turned down a requested audience with the Dalai Lama out of fears of angering Beijing. Francis said the audience was rejected as a matter of Vatican protocol. “The reason was not a refusal of the person or fear of China,” he said.
China severed relations with the Holy See in 1951 after the communists took over. Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI and now Francis have sought to mend ties.
By FILEX CORTEZ