Pope Francis marries flight attendant couple on Chile flight

Pope Francis conducted a Catholic wedding ceremony for crew flight attendants Paula Podest (L) and Carlos Ciuffardi (R) on his flight between cities in Chile on Thursday. Photo by Luca Zennaro/EPA

Jan. 19 (UPI) — Pope Francis performed an impromptu wedding ceremony for a flight attendant couple while aboard the papal plane on its way between cities in Chile.

Flight attendants Paula Podest Ruiz, 39, and Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriga, 41, told Pope Francis they had been married in a civil service, but were unable to conduct a religious ceremony after their Chilean capital, Santiago, was damaged in an earthquake in 2010.

“Do you want me to marry you?” the pope asked.

Pope Francis blessed the couple’s rings while the CEO of the airline served as a witness.

He then asked his cardinals to draft the paperwork and one wrote out a wedding certificate by hand on a sheet of paper form the airline.

“This is the sacrament that is missing in the world, the sacrament of marriage. I hope this motivates couples around the world to marry,” the pope said, according to Ciuffardi.

The two flight attendants met at work, where Podest is Ciuffardi’s boss, and have two children Rafaela, 6, and Isabela, 3.

At one point during the ceremony Francis asked Ciuffardi if Podest is “still the boss.”

“Yes, she is,” he replied.

The pope visited the city of Temuco on Wednesday as part of his trip through Chile and was on his way from Santiago to Iquique when he performed the ceremony.


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