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Pope Outlines Mexico Trip With 4 Stops, Including Juarez

Pope Francis waves during the media's meeting aboard the papal plane while en route to Rome, Italy, Nov. 30, 2015.

Pope Francis says he hopes to add the key Mexico-U.S. border city of Juarez to his Mexico itinerary next year, confirming the trip will have a strong immigration theme.

Speaking to reporters en route home from Africa on Monday, Francis said he would begin his trip in the capital, Mexico City, to pray before the Virgin of Guadalupe "the mother of the Americas.''

He said he planned to visit Chiapas on Mexico's southern border with Guatemala, where many Central African migrants pass through en route to the United States. He said he was "almost sure'' that he would end his visit in Ciudad Juarez, on Mexico's northern border with the U.S. In between, he said he would stop in Morelia.

Church officials have said the trip will begin Feb. 12.

Francis also said he planned to return to Brazil in 2017 to mark a special feast of the Virgin of Aparecida, and that other countries on that trip are likely. He has yet to return to his native Argentina, and a planned Argentina-Uruguay-Chile trip rumored for 2016 has apparently been scrapped.

In other travel, Francis said he has promised the patriarchs of Armenia that he would visit, but no date has been discussed.