Despite Early Reports, Mexico and Guatemala Are Still on Agenda

Beatifications Will Be Done at a Brief Ceremony

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 18, 2002 ( Mexican and Guatemalan media greeted with enthusiasm the official confirmation of John Paul II´s visit to both countries following World Youth Day.

News agencies last month had reported that the Pope might cancel the two last stages of what would be his 97th international trip.

According to the official program, published today by the Vatican Press Office, the Holy Father will arrive in Guatemala on July 29. The next day, in the capital city´s racecourse, he will canonize Brother Pedro de San José Betancurt (1626-1667), first Central American saint.

Born in the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife, Brother Pedro became the apostle of the poor and protector of Indians, immigrants and orphans in Guatemala. He founded the Congregations of the Bethlemite Brothers and Sisters to continue the work of evangelization.

Following a 26-hour stay in Guatemala, the Pope will travel to Mexico City on July 30 in the afternoon. The next day, in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, he will canonize Juan Diego, the Indian visionary of the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in 1531.

The program also lists the beatification of two other Indians, Juan Bautista and Jacinto de los Angeles, fathers of families, who were martyred in 1700 in the state of Oaxaca.

The beatification will not take place during a Mass but in the context of a simple and brief Liturgy of the Word, in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The Pope departs from Mexico City´s international airport on Aug. 2 in the morning, for his return trip to Rome.

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