No wedding could be quite as unique as this one. This morning, on a flight across Chile from Santiago to Iquique, Pope Francis spontaneously married a couple who were flight attendants on board.
The couple, Paula Podesta and Carlos Ciuffardi, approached the Pope to simply ask for his blessing on their marriage. They'd gotten married civilly massive but the church wedding they longed for was ripped from them when an 8.8 earthquake destroyed their parish in Santiago in 2010.
Instead of just offering a word of blessing, the Pope offered to perform the ceremony right there. With the airline's owner, Ignacio Cueto, as a witness, and an impromptu marriage certificate, drawn up on a piece of copy paper by a few cardinals on board, the two were married in the seat beside Pope Francis.
The Holy Father celebrated the marriage of 39-year-old Paola Podestà Ruiz and 41-year-old Carlos Ciuffando Elorriaga, during the LATAM 1252 transfer flight from Santiago to Iquique. ðŸ“¸Credit: Vatican Media/CNA #FranciscoEnChile Read the full story here: https://t.co/XOOr9rR9mT pic.twitter.com/ORtfTN1TpL— Catholic News Agency (@cnalive) January 18, 2018
Ciuffardi said that the Pope double and triple checked that they wanted to be married, asking, "Are you sure, absolutely sure?" The exuberant couple said yes, the Pope blessed their rings, spoke some insightful reflections on marriage, and pronounced them man and wife. He gave them each a rosary as a parting gift.
"What he told us was very important," Ciuffardi said afterward. "He told us 'This is the sacrament that the world needs, the sacrament of marriage. Hopefully, this will motivate couples around the world to get married'."
The flight was part of a larger tour around Chile, a trip on which Pope Francis has been addressing some issues plaguing the Church there, the two biggest issues being numerous sexual abuse cases by Catholic priests and violent opposition from the indigenous peoples in the Araucania region.