Aboard the papal plane, Jan 23, 2019 / 08:07 am America/Denver (CNA).
Pope Francis will visit Japan in November of this year. The pope confirmed the timing of the upcoming trip during remarks to journalists on the flight from Rome to Panama City, Panama, Wednesday.
According to Vatican News, while greeting members of the media aboard the papal plane Jan. 23, Pope Francis responded to a question from a correspondent of the Japanese Kyodo News Agency, who asked if he will visit the country in 2019. “I’ll go to Japan in November, get ready!” the pope said.
Francis also expressed his desire to travel to Iraq but noted that the local bishops have made it clear the country is not yet secure enough for a papal visit.
Interim papal spokesperson Alessandro Gisotti released a statement Jan. 23 to say that a papal trip to Japan is in the “study phase.”
Regarding a possible trip to Iraq, he said, “as was already also affirmed by Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, on his return from visiting that country last December, the conditions do not exist at present for a visit by the Holy Father.”