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Pope Francis performs an impromptu wedding ceremony for Latam Airlines employees Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga, 41, and Paula Podest Ruiz, 39, aboard the pontiff's flight from Santiago, Chile, to Iquique Jan. 18. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano) See POPE-CHILE-MARRIAGE Jan. 18, 2018.

Pope Francis marries couple on aeroplane

By Ryan McDougall

On Thursday morning, Pope Francis married a couple on an aeroplane, which in terms of Catholic weddings, is probably impossible to beat.

The spontaneous ceremony took place when crew members and couple Paula Podest and Carlos Ciuffardi were asked by Pope Francis if they were married, to which they replied that they were indeed married civilly, but not through the Church, as the parish their wedding was scheduled to take place at was destroyed in an earthquake in Chile in 2010. The earthquake hit 8.8 on the Richter scale.

Mr Ciuffardi told journalists present on the Papal plane that the Pope then asked them: “Do you want to get married?” The couple said yes, and the Pope made sure that they were positive about their decision.

They presented their rings to the Pope, who asked Ignacio Cueto, owner of the airline company to be a witness in the ceremony.

After blessing the rings, Pope Francis offered some short reflections and pronounced them husband and wife.

Mr Ciuffardi said that Pope Francis told them their ceremony was ‘historic,’ because ‘never has a Pope married a couple on a plane.’

The Pope referred to the rings, saying that they shouldn’t be too tight because ‘they would be a torture,’ and also shouldn’t be too loose, because they could lose them.

The Pope had the cardinals draft a marriage certificate for them to sign, one of whom also signed as a witness.

The newly wedded couple said they will travel to Iquique with the Pope, and then to another destination to celebrate.

Carlos told reporters: “It was something historic, really. Very exciting. What he told us was very important: he told us ‘this is the sacrament that the world needs, the sacrament of marriage. Hopefully this will motivate couple around the world to get married.’”

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