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Pope marries flight attendants in mid-air wedding

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The Pope has married two flight attendants in a mid-air wedding on a plane during his trip to Chile.

Bride Paola Podest Ruiz, 41, and groom Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga, 39, said “I do” after Francis agreed to conduct the ceremony on the flight from Santiago to Iquique.

The couple had got married in a civil ceremony in 2010 but were unable to follow it up with a church service because of the earthquake that hit the country that year.

Paula Podest and Carlos Ciufffardi
Image: Paula Podest and Carlos Ciufffardi

Mr Elorriaga told journalists that Francis told him that no pope had ever married a couple on board a plane.

He said: “We told him that we are husband and wife. That we are married. That we have two daughters and that we would have loved to receive his blessing.

“All of a sudden he asked us if we were married by the church too. We are not married by the church because the 2010 earthquake happened on the day we got married.

Paula Podest and Carlos Ciufffardi kiss after being married
Image: Paula Podest and Carlos Ciufffardi kiss after being married

“He liked us and he asked ‘Do you want me to marry you?’

“He took our hands and he asked if there was love in our marriage and if we want to keep on being together for life. He asked if wanted to stay together until the end. We said ‘Yes’.

“We laughed for a while. It was very moving. He blessed us. He married us. It was a huge emotion, we are very, very happy.”

preview image

The couple met while working on a flight 10 years ago. The witness to the marriage was the chairman of the airline LATAM, Don Ignacio Cueto.

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said: “Something totally extraordinary happened today, which was that the hostesses and the stewards going to get their photos taken and one said: ‘We are a couple, we met on a plane.’

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“And as they walked back they said that the Pope married them in a religious ceremony, which obviously has never happened on a papal plane before.

“They were super happy. The first time the Pope heard about it was this morning, it wasn’t part of the plan.”

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