With his visit to Marseille on September 22 and 23, Pope Francis will be making his 44th apostolic trip abroad since his election in 2013. In all, he will have spent 191 days traveling and visited around 60 countries.
I.MEDIA takes a look at the Pope’s travels around the world through graphs, maps, and charts:
On average, the Argentinian Pope has made four trips abroad per year. He was not able to travel in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, in 2013, when he was elected (in March), he only traveled to one place: Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for World Youth Day.
This average puts him on the same level as John Paul II, who in his 27-year pontificate made 104 pastoral visits abroad, resulting in nearly four per year on average as well. Pope Benedict XVI had an average of around three trips per year, as he made 24 visits in a little under eight years of pontificate.
Marseille will be the Argentine Pope’s fifth trip in 2023, following his visits to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan (February), Hungary (April), World Youth Day in Lisbon this summer and Mongolia in early September.
This is the second time Pope Francis has set foot in France, following his trip to Strasbourg in 2014. That visit was, like Marseille, not strictly speaking a visit to France. His very short trip was specifically dedicated to two European institutions: the European Parliament and the Council of Europe. The Pope did not make a pastoral visit to the diocese they were in, which had been visited by John Paul II in 1988.
John Paul II visited France eight times, making it the country he most visited after his native Poland, which he traveled to nine times.
Focusing on smaller countries
The year in which Pope Francis traveled the most was 2019. He went on seven apostolic trips that year, which took him to Panama, the United Arab Emirates, Madagascar, Japan, and more. Pope Francis’ longest trip was to Cuba and the United States in 2015, as it lasted from September 19-28, so 10 days.
Including his trip to Marseille, Pope Francis will have spent 191 days traveling outside Italy, meaning over 6 months. Since his trip to Canada in the summer of 2022, the Pontiff now uses a wheelchair on foreign visits and walks very little.
Looking at the map, the 266th Pope has traveled throughout North America and much of South America, except notably his home country of Argentina.
He has also still not set foot in Oceania. A trip to Southeast Asia/Oceania was scheduled for September 2020 but it had to be canceled due to the pandemic. The Pontiff was supposed to visit East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia.
With Mongolia, which he visited earlier this month, Pope Francis has visited seven countries which no pontiff had ever been to before: Myanmar, Northern Macedonia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Bahrain, South Sudan and Mongolia. In all, he has visited 61 countries since 2013.
The Pope has traveled all across Italy
Pope Francis, Bishop of Rome and Primate of Italy, has also traveled extensively throughout the Italian peninsula during his pontificate.
The Pontiff’s first trip was to the island of Lampedusa in the southeast on July 8, 2013, shortly after his election. Faced with the issue of migration in the Mediterranean, he denounced the “globalization of indifference.”
The Pope has made more than 30 journeys across Italy, visiting some cities several times. He has visited Assisi, the city of St. Francis, the “Poverello” whose name he chose the day of his election as successor of Peter, six times.
It took him 10 years, though, to make a private visit. On November 19, 2022, he went to Asti in northern Italy to celebrate his cousin’s 90th birthday, and met with many members of his family.