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Pope Francis is heading to Colombia, schedules trip for 2017

Pope Francis is flanked by Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia and Father Leonardo Sapienza at the end of an audience with workers of the Catholic Shrines in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis is flanked by Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia and Father Leonardo Sapienza at the end of an audience with workers of the Catholic Shrines in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis is headed to Colombia next year.

The head of the South American country's Catholic Episcopal Conference announced the long-rumored trip on Saturday following a meeting with the pontiff at the Vatican. The confirmation was posted on the conference's website.

President Juan Manuel Santos welcomed the announcement in a Twitter post, saying Colombians "will receive him with enthusiasm and in peace."

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The dates of the trip are not yet set, though Francis has said he plans to visit Brazil for the 300th anniversary of the Virgin of Aparecida there.

The first Latin American pope already has a trip scheduled this year to Mexico.

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