Pope arrives in Peru on 3-day visit, fulfils dreams of Chile couple by marrying them mid-air

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Pope Francis has arrived in Peru for a three-day visit for official and apostolic reasons. After his arrival on Thursday, he is expected to visit the Amazon city of Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo.

The pontiff is currently in the middle of the first leg of his six-nation Latin American trip, for which he went to Chile earlier. There, he was greeted by Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and his wife and children. The hosts were wearing white and yellow in honour of the Vatican.

After resting in Jesus Maria district, Pope Francis will move on to the Amazon region on Friday. in Puerto Maldonado, he is expected to meet representatives of the Peruvian, Bolivian and Brazilian indigenous communities. The discussion will be the dangers their lands face from climate change and illegal mining.

On Saturday, the Pope will visit Trujillo, which is still reeling from the El Nino devastation in early 2017. On the last day of this trip, he will preside over an open-air Mass at the LAS Palmas airbase, which is expected to be attended by millions.

On his way to Iquique from Santiago via the papal plane, Pope Francis conducted the wedding ceremony of two flight attendants from Chile. The LATAM Airlines staff members, Carlos Ciuffardi and Paula Podest Ruiz, have been married for eight years, having two daughters. It was their dream to have a Catholic wedding.

However, the church in Santiago where they were supposed to tie the knot was destroyed in the earthquake of 2010. Pope Francis made their dreams come true when he offered to marry them aboard the flight. This was the first marriage ceremony to be conducted by the Pope mid-air.

LATAM Airlines Group Chairman Ignacio Cueto was the witness of the wedding. The Pope blessed the rings and asked one of the cardinals to draw up the document of the wedding. He also made the atmosphere light by joking with the couple.

When the couple said that they met when Paula was Carlos' boss, the Pope asked whether she is still the boss. "That's why the marriage has worked out," the bride joked.

(With inputs from IANS)