By John Follain and Nathan Gill
July 4, 2015 (Bloomberg) -- Pope Francis will fly to South America on Sunday for a nine-day visit in which he is likely to focus on the poor and may challenge policies on oil and gas drilling.
The first Latin American pope, who was elected in March 2013 and called for “a poor Church for the poor,” will visit three of the region’s poorest countries, Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.
During the visit, the Argentine Francis, 78, will meet prisoners, slum-dwellers and grass-roots groups representing indigenous peoples and landless peasants. He will deliver 13 speeches and six homilies to crowds likely to run into the hundreds of thousands.
Francis’s message is for God’s “children most in need, to the elderly, the sick, the imprisoned, the poor, to those who are victims of this throw-away culture,” he said in a statement on the eve of the trip.
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