Rev. Francisco Cortes, who has described himself as a "Mr. Nobody," will be the only person to get a private audience with Pope Francis during the latter's visit to Ecuador. The pontiff is on his first trip to Spanish-speaking Latin America since being elected pope in 2013.
Over one million people are expected to be present Monday at a Mass at the Shrine of the Divine Mercy in the Ecuadorean port of Guayaquil, following which the pope will reportedly meet with Cortes for five minutes in a small room, before the two lunch together along with a group of fellow Jesuits.
"I don't know why he set the meeting. We haven't even corresponded," Cortes told the Associated Press (AP) in an interview. "I'm really just a Mr. Nobody.”
The nearly 91-year-old Cortes last saw the pope 30 years ago in Argentina in 1985, AP reported, adding that, at the time the pope was the Rev. Jorge Mario Bergoglio and was in charge of the Jesuit order in Argentina.
Cortes reportedly said that he did not know what to ask the pope, adding: “He said he wanted to see me and I'm amazed that he's coming. For the first time, I have known a pope."
The Argentina-born pope’s visit to Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay -- three of the region's poorest and smallest countries -- will focus on poverty and the environment.
"From the peak of Chimborazo to the Pacific coast, from the Amazon rainforest to the Galapagos Islands, may you never lose the ability to thank God for what he has done and is doing for you," the pope reportedly said, in a speech attended by President Rafael Correa on Sunday.
"May you never lose the ability to protect what is small and simple, to care for your children and your elderly who are the memory of your people, to have confidence in the young and to be constantly struck by the nobility of your people and the singular beauty of your country."