After Pope Francis found out that a flight attendant couple’s marriage wasn’t blessed by the church, he offered to marry them mid-flight at 36,000 feet in the air. Paula Podest, 39, and Carlos Ciuffardi, 41 have been married for eight years.
After an earthquake damaged their church in Chile, the couple was forced to cancel their service. They have two daughters, 6-year-old Rafaela and 3-year-old Isabela, who they love very much.
“We told him that we are husband and wife, that we have two daughters and that we would have loved to receive his blessing,” Ciuffardi recalls. “All of a sudden he asked us if we were married in the church too.”
“He liked us, and he asked, ‘Do you want me to marry you?'” In unison, the couple answered, “Are you sure?” The Pope replied, “Yes, of course!” A Vatican official hand-wrote a marriage certificate and the head of the airline witnessed the ceremony.
Never before has a pope married someone aboard a plane, making this a historic event. Ciuffardi said the pope told him and his wife that “This is the sacrament that is missing in the world, the sacrament of marriage. May this motivate others to get the sacrament of marriage. I’ll do it for this reason.”
Pope Francis also gave them some advice, saying, “The wedding rings shouldn’t be too tight, because they’ll torture you, but if they’re too loose, they’ll fall off. So we have to be careful.” The internet and the passengers aboard the Santiago to Iquique flight rejoiced alongside the couple.
Podest and Ciuffardi say they’ll leave for a quick impromptu ‘mini-honeymoon’ before returning to Santiago.
This article was inspired by BUZZFEED NEWS // These Flight Attendants Were Spontaneously Married By Pope Francis Mid-Flight