Pope to arrive in Cuba Saturday

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HAVANA, Cuba — Pope Francis is flying toward Cuba and the United States for a 10-day visit with millions of people expected to be on hand for various public events.

It’s uncharted territory for the pope, who has never visited either country. His popularity ratings are high in the U.S., but he also has gained detractors, particularly among conservatives over his critiques of the excesses of capitalism. Francis has also criticized Cuba’s socialist — and atheist — revolution. Immigration issues are also high on Francis’ agenda.

Havana is anxiously awaiting Francis, who is seen as something of a hero for helping prod the United States and Cuba to keep moving forward toward normal relations.

The first Latin American pope will achieve a couple more firsts. He’ll be the first pope to address the U.S. Congress and he will also proclaim the first saint on U.S. soil. He’ll also grab the world stage at the United Nations to press his agenda on migration, the environment and religious persecution.

He plans to make clear that Hispanics in the United States are the bedrock of the American church.