Pope Francis will next week visit Chile for what will be a rare visit to his native Latin America.
Organisers in Chile expect the three masses that the Pope will give to attract over one million people including thousands of Argentines, many of whom have grown frustrated with the distance the Pope has kept with his homeland because of political tensions.
With one week to go, streets sellers and newspaper stands in Santiago, Temuco and Iquique — the three cities Francis will visit — began loading up on merchandising to commemorate the Pope’s first official visit to Chile.
His visit will kick off on January 15. Among the peculiarities for this trip are the 600,000 pieces of sacramental bread that Francis and his entourage, including local clergymen, will hand out during the masses.
The mass in Santiago will take place in the giant O’Higgins Park, with gates opening from 2am to allow followers to find their place. In Temuco, Francis is expected to address the conflict between the State and the local Mapuche population over restrictions placed on the indigenous group in accessing sacred land. In Iquique, 1,800 kilometres north of Santiago, mass will take place on Lobito beach, where the Pope will discuss immigration.