Bogota, Colombia | AFP | Pope Francis starts his fifth visit as pontiff to his native Latin America region on Wednesday with a trip to Colombia as it moves on from a half-century civil conflict.
Here are five facts and figures about the 80-year-old Argentine-born pope’s trip from September 6-10.
– Three popes –
Francis is the third pope to visit Colombia, after Paul VI in 1968 and John Paul II in 1986.
– 7th LatAm country –
Colombia is the 7th Latin American country visited by Francis since he became pope in 2013. His first overseas trip as pope was to Brazil in 2013.
In 2015 he visited the region’s three poorest countries — Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay — where he apologized for atrocities against indigenous people during the Spanish conquest.
Later that year he visited Cuba to support its historic diplomatic rapprochement with the United States.
He toured Mexico in February 2016, stopping over in Cuba again on the way to meet with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.
– 12,000 trees –
As well as the capital, the tour will take him to the cities of Villavicencio, Medellin and the historic Caribbean city of Cartagena.
Cartagena will spruce itself up by planting 12,000 trees to decorate the areas that Francis will visit.
– Five million communions –
Trip organizers estimate that some 4.7 million well wishers will flock to see him pass through the streets and hold masses across the country, including a million in Bogota alone.
The Catholic church in Colombia forecasts some five million communion wafers will be fed to worshippers.
– $94 million in revenue –
Colombian authorities have spent more than $9.3 million preparing for the visit.
They forecast it will attract 1.5 million tourists and generate $94.4 million in revenue.