Trivandrum: Kerala is expected to be on the itinerary of the Indian visit of Pope Francis in 2017. His Beatitude Moran Mor Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Catholicos, the President of Indian Catholic Bishops Conference told media reporters here on 20 December 2016 that it could be finalized only after President Pranab Mukherjee approve the recommendations of the Central government as the Pontiff is also the head of the state of Vatican.
“We, the Episcopal Conference of India, have already initiated the preliminary step by inviting the Supreme Pontiff personally and officially. Now it is taken up by the Central government and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his positive approach in this regard. Now we are waiting for the final Invitation of Sri. Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India to the Holy Father” said his Beatitude. At the same time, His Beatitude explained the present situation of the Papal visit. “We also have to understand that Pope Francis is in his 80s. Pope John Paul was in his 60s when he first arrived India in 1986 and visited 14 places in different parts. When the Holy Father came second time in 1999 it was just New Delhi.”