It is customary for the Pope to greet the journalists traveling with him after the first meal of the flight. After speaking to the whole group of them together, he typically makes his way around the plane to greet each one individually.
This time was no different. As he made his way down the line of the 76 international journalists on board – 10 of whom are from Mexico – Pope Francis paused to record the brief, 20 second video for Mother Angelica when asked by CNA/EWTN News Rome Bureau Chief, Alan Holdren.
"On behalf of Mother Angelica, I thank the Holy Father for his greeting and want him to know that Mother, her Nuns and the EWTN family will be praying for him and for the success of this historic journey," EWTN Chairman and CEO Michael Warsaw said in a statement responding to the blessing.
While Pope Francis has gained a reputation for his numerous interviews as pontiff, he was known during his time as a cardinal and archbishop for his aversion to speaking to the media.
He did, however, make a few exceptions. One of them was for EWTN's Spanish channel, EWTN Español, leading into the 2012-2013 Year of Faith, called for by Benedict XVI before he resigned from the papacy and closed by Francis after his election.
In the interview, the then-Cardinal Bergoglio spoke about the significance of the Year of Faith, the gift of the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity, and the importance of Latin America in the life of the Church.
A nun with the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, Mother Angelica founded EWTN in Irondale, Alabama in 1981. She was a leading presence at the network and hosted a call-in show called Mother Angelica Live until she suffered a disabling stroke in 2001. Now bedridden, she currently lives in Hanceville, Alabama.
In October 2009, Benedict XVI awarded the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Medal to Mother Angelica. The medal is the highest honor the Pope can bestow on religious and is given for service to the Church.