The Latest: Pope urges Chilean city to welcome immigrants

The Latest on Pope Francis' visit to South America (all times local):

11:55 a.m.

Pope Francis is urging the people of a Chilean coastal city to continue to be welcoming toward migrants as their ranks swell.

Francis made the comments during a homily in Iquique, which has experienced a boom of immigrants from several countries. The rise has been so fast that today there are nearly two dozen immigrant slums.

The pope said Thursday: "This land is a land of dreams, but let us work to ensure that it also continues to be a land of hospitality."

According to U.N. and church statistics, Chile had the fastest annual rate of migrant growth of any country in Latin American between 2010 and 2015.

Many of the newcomers are Haitians, who often face language barriers that limit their job prospects.

Chile has not experienced the kind of anti-immigrant backlash seen in the U.S. and Europe, but the incoming conservative government of President Sebastian Pinera has promised to crack down.


10:40 a.m.

Pope Francis has celebrated the first-ever airborne papal wedding, marrying two flight attendants from Chile's flagship airline during a flight from Santiago.

Bride Paola Podest and groom Carlos Ciuffardi said "I do" Thursday morning after telling Francis that they had been married in a civil service in 2010. However they said they were unable to follow up with a church ceremony because of the 2010 earthquake that hit Chile.

Francis then offered to marry the LATAM flight attendants aboard the aircraft en route to the northern city of Iquique, and they both readily agreed. The head of the airline served as the witness.

Ciuffardi told journalists in the aisle of the Airbus 321 that Francis told him it was "historic" and no pope had ever before married a couple aboard a plane.