Pope Francis marries couple on Chile flight

Pope Francis celebrates the marriage of crew members Paula Podest and Carlos Ciufffardi during the flight between Santiago and the northern city of Iquique, 18 January 2018Image copyright

Image caption

The couple asked Pope Francis to simply bless their marriage, but he had other ideas

Pope Francis has made history by performing a wedding ceremony for two flight attendants on board a plane travelling between cities in Chile.

Paula Podest Ruiz, 39, and Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriga, 41, had been married earlier in a civil service but asked the Pope to bless their marriage.

“Do you want me to marry you?” he said.

The couple said they were unable to conduct a ceremony in their church in the Chilean capital, Santiago, after it was damaged in an earthquake in 2010.

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

  • Pope urges end to Chile’s Mapuche conflict
  • Pontiff meets sex abuse victims in Chile
  • Why Pope’s trip to Chile is a challenge

Image copyright

Image caption

Paula Podest Ruiz (left) and Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriga kiss after the brief ceremony

He then carried out a Catholic wedding service for the couple, lining up the airline’s boss as a witness.

A travelling cardinal provided a hand-written religious marriage document on a single sheet of paper, which was signed by the bride, groom, and witness.

A correspondent for CBS News, Steve Dorsey, tweeted a photo of the document.

Image Copyright @steve_dorsey

Twitter post by @steve_dorsey: The hand written marriage certificate after Pope Francis married couple on Latam plane. Photo credit  Courtney Walsh Image Copyright @steve_dorsey

The flight was provided by Latin America’s largest airline, Latam, and the journey forms part of the pontiff’s tour of Chile.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Francis arrives in his Popemobile at the Lobitos Beach, near the city of Iquique

On Wednesday, Pope Francis visited the city of Temuco in Chile’s southern Araucania region, where he called for unity in one of the country’s longest-running conflicts.

In a public address, the pontiff said that “destructive violence” between the indigenous Mapuche people and the state was not the answer.

The region has experienced conflict for centuries, sparked by issues including ancestral land ownership and legal recognition for the Mapuche language and culture.

Pope Francis has also used his trip to meet victims of sexual abuse by priests in Chile.

He is wrapping up his visit to the country on Thursday with an open-air mass celebration in Iquique, before heading to Peru for the final leg of his two-nation trip.