Vatican City — Pope Francis will preside over his first wedding ceremony as pontiff during a nuptial Mass in St. Peter's Basilica Sept. 14.
The Vatican confirmed Aug. 29 that 20 couples from the Diocese of Rome will be married by the pope, the bishop of Rome.
The papal Mass celebrating the couples' marriage will come just a few weeks before the start of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family, Oct. 5-19.
Since Pope Benedict XVI never celebrated a marriage ceremony as pope, the mid-September ceremony will be the first papal celebration of a wedding since 2000, when St. John Paul II married eight couples from different parts of the world as part of the Jubilee for Families.
John Paul presided over another joint wedding for a group of couples in 1994 as part of his celebration of the International Year of the Family. He also married a number of other couples at private Masses during his lengthy pontificate.