Pope performs ‘unexpected’ wedding on a plane in Chile
ABC News(SANTIAGO, Chile) — Thursday morning Pope Francis married a couple on board his flight from the Chilean capital, Santiago, to the northern coastal town of Iquiqe, where he was headed to celebrate a large open-air mass.
It is the first time a pope has celebrated a wedding during a flight, according to the Vatican.
Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriga, 41, and Paula Podest Ruiz, 39, both flight attendants, met 8 years ago. They were married in a civil ceremony in 2010, but were unable to have a Catholic wedding in their parish church because it collapsed in the 2010 earthquake. They have two children.
The couple were introduced to the Pope on the plane and asked if he would bless their marriage. Instead, he asked them if they wanted him to perform their religious marriage. They said they were surprised, but agreed immediately.
The event was “unexpected,” Greg Burke, the Vatican spokesman, told reporters who were travelling on the plane with the Pope to his next destination.
The brief ceremony took place at the front of the plane and the official witness was an airline executive and a Chilean bishop, also on board the flight, signed the document to make it valid.
After the ceremony, the couple told the journalists on the plane, “It was very moving. We can’t believe the pope married us! Marriage works…we hope it will promote marriage.”
The couple both work for Latam, the Latin American airline based in Chile.
Late Thursday the Pope is scheduled to fly to the capitol city of Peru, Lima. The pontiff’s visit to Peru will last through Sunday.
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