Pope Francis married a couple thousands of feet above the earth aboard the papal plane Thursday while traveling from Santiago to Iquique, Chile.
The couple, flight attendants Paula Podesta and Carlos Ciuffardi, has been together for 10 years and was civilly married in 2010, but just before they were to have a church wedding, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Chile and destroyed their church, according to Crux Now. Francis, upon hearing that an earthquake prevented their wedding, offered to officially marry them himself in the first-ever marriage that a Pope has conducted aboard an airplane.
“It was historic,” Francis told the couple, according to Crux. “Never has a pope married a couple on a plane.”
Podesta and Ciuffardi were shocked at Francis’ offer and asked him whether he was sure, but to the couple’s delight, Francis proceeded with the ceremony. Francis asked for witnesses to the sacrament, and the couple chose the CEO of LATAM airlines, Enrique Cueto Plaza, to vouch for the validity of the union. Francis then asked the present Cardinals to draft a marriage license, which they hand wrote.
— Ines San Martin (@inesanma) January 18, 2018
Ciuffardi told Crux that Francis held their hands and blessed the rings they had worn for more than seven years “in the name of God.”
“What he said to us is very important: ‘This is the sacrament the world needs, the sacrament of marriage. Hopefully, this will motivate couples around the world to get married,'” Ciuffardi said.
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