VATICAN CITY – The Vatican says Pope Francis will visit Cuba before arriving in the United States in the last week of September.
The Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, confirmed the Cuba leg to reporters Wednesday. He didn't provide details or dates.
Francis has been credited with helping the United States and Cuba reach their historic rapprochement by writing to the leaders of both countries and having the Vatican host their delegations for the final negotiations. Francis' visit to Cuba would be a way for him to push the process forward.
He is scheduled to visit three U.S. cities starting around Sept. 23. He will address Congress and meet with President Barack Obama at the White House, address the U.N. in New York and attend a church rally for families in Philadelphia.