Pope Francis marries LATAM cabin crew couple at 34000 feet

CHILE-BISHOP

Pope Francis marries LATAM cabin crew couple at 34000 feet

Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriga, 41, and Paula Podest Ruiz, 39, both flight attendants, met 8 years ago.

As far as Catholic weddings go, it's pretty hard to beat being married by the pope - on an airplane. Their planned religious ceremony could not take place in the local parish church due to structural damage arising from the 2010 natural disaster. Ciuffardi turned around and asked his boss, the CEO of the airline, to serve as witness.

Ciuffardi told journalists in the aisle of the Airbus 321 that Francis told him it was "historic" and no pope had ever before married a couple aboard a plane.

The event was "unexpected", Greg Burke, the Vatican spokesman, told reporters who were travelling on the plane with the Pope to his next destination.

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Pope Francis suggested performing the brief ceremony on his short flight from Santiago to the city of Iquique in northern Chile.

The newlyweds shared the conversation they had with the pontiff with the journalists, with Podest acknowledging that she was "still in shock", so he did most of the talking, even though, from what they told journalists, "she's still the boss in the house", as she was at the airline when they met.

"He liked us and he asked: 'Do you want me to marry you?' He asked: 'Are you sure?,'" Podest said.

"When people make a mistake it's necessary that they ask for forgiveness", said Monica Reyes, a nursing assistant who attended the pope's speech at the presidential palace.

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During his first day in Santiago, Pope Francis spoke to a crowd of dignitaries, which included Chilean President, Michelle Bachelet, as well as politicians, judges and other authorities at La Moneda Palace.

During the flight, the couple approached Pope Francis to request a blessing - since they only had performed the civil ceremony - but the Supreme Pontiff instead offered to perform the marriage ceremony onboard.

And that document may be more special than the average marriage license, as it was drafted by hand by another Chilean cardinal who happened to be on the flight. May this motivate others to get the sacrament of marriage.

The trials and difficulties of immigrants trying to keep their families together had left many feeling like "their lives had been watered down", he said as 50,000 people faced the stage and the ocean. "Marriage works...we hope it will promote marriage".

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