In this June 24, 2015, file photo, Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he arrives for his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca, File)
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VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis is taking his "church for the poor" to three of South America's poorest and most peripheral countries, making a grueling, week-long trip that will showcase the pope at his unpredictable best: speaking his native Spanish on his home turf about issues closest to his heart.Indigenous peoples will take center stage during much of Francis' July 5-13 visit to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay, while the Francis' own Jesuit order will be in the spotlight for its role in evangelizing the continent centuries ago and even today.He'll lunch with a Jesuit community in Guayaquil, Ecuador where he has something of a mentor in an elderly priest and where he frequently sent his own seminarians to study. He'll celebrate Mass at Paraguay's shrine to the Madonna of Caacupe, to whom Francis became particularly devoted after ministering to Paraguayan immigrants in Buenos Aires. It's likely to be a poignant moment, given Francis' own experience with the right-wing military dictatorship in Argentina. While Francis visited Portuguese-speaking Brazil in 2013 on a trip originally scheduled for Pope Benedict XVI, this is his first to Spanish-speaking South America and is one that he himself has planned. Lombardi said Francis didn't have the "minimum of uncertainty or concern," and that the trip was organized to make it brief and bearable.
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