Pope Francis has performed an impromptu wedding ceremony midflight aboard the papal plane in Chile. Source: CNS.
During his flight to Iquique overnight, the Pope was approached by LatAm flight attendant Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga and asked for a blessing for him and his wife, flight attendant Paula Podest Ruiz.
The couple were supposed to be married in their home parish in Santiago in 2010. However, tragedy struck when an earthquake destroyed the church. Eight years later, they remained only civilly married.
Mr Ciuffardi told journalists aboard the flight that, after he explained their story, he asked the Pope for their blessing.
At that moment, Francis surprised the couple with offering to marry them right there on the plane.
Mr Ciuffardi said the Pope asked the couple, “Well, do you want to get married?”
“I said, ‘Well, yes. Are you sure?’ Then the Pope said, “Are YOU sure?’ I told him, ‘Yes! Let’s get married,'” Mr Ciuffardi recalled excitedly.
The newlywed said he asked his boss and president of LatAm airline, Ignacio Cueto, to be his best man and one of the Vatican prelates drew up a handwritten marriage certificate.
“The Pope said it was historic! Never has a pope performed a wedding on a plane!” Mr Ciuffardi said.
The Pope was on his way from Santiago to Iquique before heading to Peru later in the day.
Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, says the wedding was "totally legit" and "doctrinally OK", Vatican News reports.
Mr Burke said, "Doctrinally it's OK, because to be married the actual ministers are the people themselves. You just need a witness. There are a couple of other things, normally there are publications. And there were things that had to be passed over, but it's totally legit, and everyone's happy!"
He said it "was not the Pope's idea; it was their idea, but the Pope was happy to do it."