As far as Catholic weddings go, it’s pretty hard to beat being married by the Pope. On an airplane.
But that’s what happened ursday morning when Pope Francis married two ight attendants in an impromptu ceremony on his papal plane some 36,000 feet over Chile.
Vatican o cials say it marks the rst time a pope has married a couple on a papal plane.
It all started when the pair, Paula Podest Ruiz and Carlos Ciu ardi Ellorriaga, began chatting with the ponti when they were seated next to him during a group photo shoot. e plane was ferrying the Pope on a short ight from Santiago to the northern city of Iquique.
Pope Francis asked them if they were married and the couple told him they had been scheduled to be wed when the 2010 Chile earthquake hit, destroying the church where they were to tie the knot.
Life went on for the two ight attendants, who had met at work — Podest is Ciu ardi’s boss — and have two children: Rafaela, 6, and Isabela, 3. ey were married civilly, with the legal documents to prove it, but they’d never had a formal wedding ceremony before an o cial of the church.
The excited couple explained Pope Francis with the couple he joined in holy matrimony to CNN and other journalists on the papal plane that it was Francis’ idea to marry them. He rst asked them, “Are you sure?” ey responded, “Okay!”
According to the couple, Pope Francis blessed their rings and then said “we need a witness.” Ciu ardi turned around and asked his boss, the CEO of the airline, to serve as witness.
Then the Pope asked his cardinals to draft the paperwork, Ciu ardi said. One cardinal aboard the ight drafted the wedding certi cate on a sheet of paper from the airline by hand. e document was signed by Pope Francis, the couple and the witness.
Pope Francis gave the bride a white rosary and the groom a black rosary.
At one point the Pope asked Ciu ardi, “Is she still the boss?” Ciu ardi laughed and answered, “Yes, she is.” Ciu ardi told reporters that the Pope told them, “ is is the sacrament that is missing in the world, the sacrament of marriage. I hope this motivates couples around the world to marry.”
Podest was a bit quiet during the interview because she was still in shock. Both she and her new husband said they were overwhelmed with emotion.
The couple plans to celebrate with co-workers in Iquique and then have a “tiny honeymoon,” said Ciu ardi. ey y back home Friday — with a remarkable story to tell.
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