Published: Thu, January 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Pope Francis marries couple mid-air after natural disaster cancelled ceremony

Pope Francis marries couple mid-air after natural disaster cancelled ceremony

18 de enero de 2018, 09:43Iquique, Chile, Jan 18 (Prensa Latina) For the first time in history, Pope Francisco officiated a wedding on board the plane that moved him to this city in northern Chile, on his last day of visiting the southern country.

LATAM airline flight attendants Paula Podest Ruiz, 39, and Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriga, 41, told the pope they had been married in a civil service but the religious ceremony they had planned in their parish church in Santiago could not take place because it was heavily damaged in the country's 2010 quake. They were married civilly, with the legal documents to prove it, but they'd never had a formal wedding ceremony before an official of the church.

Flight attendants Carlos Ciuffardi and Paola Podest after Pope Francis married them. Ignacio Cueto, owner of the airline company, LATAM, was a witness in the ceremony.

It was then that Francis made a decision to perform the wedding. Below, their marriage certificate drawn up by cardinals who accompanied the Pope on his flight.

Life went on for the two flight attendants, who had met at work - Podest is Ciuffardi's boss - and have two children: Rafaela, 6, and Isabela, 3.

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"He liked us and he asked, 'Do you want me to marry you?'" Ciuffardi recounted.

The Pope also gave the couple two rosaries, Podest received a white rosary and Ciuffardi a black one. Ciuffardi laughed and answered, "Yes, she is".

During his flight to Iquique Jan. 18, the pope was approached by LatAm flight steward Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga and asked for a blessing for him and his wife, stewardess Paula Podest Ruiz. May this motivate others to get the sacrament of marriage.

The couple plans to celebrate with coworkers in Iquique and then have a "tiny honeymoon", said Ciuffardi.

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