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Pope Francis to Visit Peru, Chile in January 2018

FILE - Pope Francis greets faithful during his weekly general audience, in the Pope Paul VI hall, at the Vatican, Jan. 18, 2017.

Pope Francis will visit Chile and Peru in January, the Vatican said on Monday, the latest in a series of trips to his home continent.

Starting in Chile on Jan. 15, the Argentine pontiff will go to the cities of Santiago, Temuco and Iquique, before heading to Peru, where he will stop in Lima, Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo.

The Vatican said in a statement Francis had accepted invitations from the heads of state and bishops of the two countries. The trip will wrap up on Jan. 21.

Since his election to lead the world's 2 billion Catholics in 2013, Francis has visited Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Cuba and Mexico, but has not made a pastoral trip to Argentina.