Wednesday 19 September 2018

Love is in the air as Pope Francis performs first wedding on a plane

Paula Podest and Carlos Ciuffardi with Pope Francis
Paula Podest and Carlos Ciuffardi with Pope Francis

Nick Squires

Pope Francis notched up another first by marrying a couple on board a papal flight at 36,000ft.

In what is believed to be a first in the history of the Church, the Pope formally joined in matrimony cabin crew members, Carlos Ciuffardi (41) and Paula Podest (39).

They had hoped to have a church ceremony when they married in 2010 but their parish church in the capital, Santiago, was badly damaged by an earthquake.

The magnitude 8.8 quake caused widespread damage and triggered a tsunami, resulting in the loss of more than 500 lives.

Instead, they had a civil ceremony and have since had two children.

On board the papal flight, the couple initially asked the Pope to bless their civil marriage, but he went one step further.

"We told him that we are husband and wife, 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 for the Church too," said Mr Ciuffardi.

"He liked us and he asked: 'Do you want me to marry you?'"

Francis formally joined them in matrimony on board the papal plane as it flew from Santiago to the northern city of Iquique, on the third day of his South American trip.

The couple were presented with an improvised, handwritten marriage certificate which bore the Pope's signature.

The president of the airline, who was on board the flight, acted as the witness.

Irish Independent

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