MIAMI -

The last time a pope visited South Florida was in 1987, when then Pope John Paul II embarked on a 10-day trip with his first stop in Miami.
Thousands of Catholics and President Ronald Reagan welcomed His Holiness.

Now, 27 years after that visit, there are new reports that Pope Francis could be coming to the United States.

With those reports come the possibility that he might be coming to South Florida.

Last fall while on a trip to the Vatican with his wife, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez met with the Pontiff.

"We got to talk to him probably three or four minutes and during that time, I invited him to Miami," Gimenez said.

Gimenez said he extended the invitation during a brief encounter after mass.

"We're noted as the gateway to the Americas and in a sense. We're like the capital of the Americas," Gimenez said. "I think it would be important for the church to come here because its easy for all of Latin America to get here."

The Archdiocese of Miami and the Vatican would not comment on the possible papal visit.

The first pope of the Americas, his Holiness, visited Brazil last year. His predecessor visited Cuba in 2012.