16-May-2014 -- ZENIT.org News Agency |

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Regional Argentine Parliament Confirms 2016 Papal Visit

Fr. Lombardi Says Trip is Probable But Official Confirmation Must Wait

By Deborah Castellano Lubov

VATICAN CITY, May 16, 2014 (Zenit.org) - Pope Francis is to visit the Argentine city of Tucumán in 2016, during the celebration of the National Eucharistic Congress and the bicentennial of Argentina's independence, the parliament of Northwest Argentina has confirmed.

The Venezuelan publication "El Nacional" reported Thursday that both events will be held, July 9, 2016, and Tucumán will be the "epicenter of the celebrations."

Asked by ZENIT Friday if he could verify the announcement, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, said he could "confirm that the Pope has said on several occasions that he plans to make a trip to Argentina in 2016, and not before, since he has other travel priorities in 2014 and 2015."

But he added that the Vatican does not generally give official confirmation of eagerly anticipated papal trips until preparations are already underway.

A deputy governor of the northern province of Tucumán, Regino Amado, was received by the Pope at the Vatican on April 23. The Holy Father reportedly gave him and his fellow deputy governor the date when he will visit his native country. El Nacional said that Amado "confirmed the news, which had been announced in December via Twitter by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences."

In late 2013, the Archbishop of Tucumán, Alfredo Horacio Zecca, sent a letter to the Pope, formally inviting him to visit the Argentine National Eucharistic Congress.

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