Today Pope Francis officiated at the first ever marriage aboard a papal plane during a flight as part of his apostolic journey to Chile and Peru.
The young Chilean couple, Paola Podest Ruiz and Carlos Ciuffardi, both flight attendants working for LatAm Airlines, were married by Pope Francis on his flight during his apostolic journey to Chile and Peru.
While speaking with Pope Francis, the couple explained that, while civilly married, the couple could not go through with their Church ceremony as their parish church was destroyed in an earthquake in 2010. Asking only for a blessing, Pope Francis surprised the couple by offering to marry them on the spot during the flight.
During the ceremony, which took place at 36,000 feet altitude, Pope Francis said, ‘We hope that what you have done will be an inspiration to other couples around the world.’ Witnesses at the ceremony were the couple’s boss Ignacio Cueto, owner of LatAm Airlines, who acted as best man, and Mgr Mauricio Rueda.
Speaking with press on the flight, Carlos Ciuffardi said that before declaring the couple man and wife the Pope smiled at him and joked: ‘But are you really sure?’
Paola Podest Ruiz and Carlos Ciuffardi have two children, Raffaella and Isabella, ages 6 and 4 respectively.
Pope Francis began his journey to Chile and Peru on Monday 15 January. While in Chile Pope Francis visited with prisoners and with survivors of clerical sexual abuse. He also met with the bishops, priests and youth of the country. Pope Francis will now begin the second part of his journey in Peru before returning to Rome on Monday 22 January.