Pope marries flight attendant couple mid-flight

POPE-CHILE

The pontiff asked if they would like him to conduct the ceremony right there on the plane, and they agreed.

Carlos Ciuffardi and Paola Podest were married mid-flight by the pope himself and couldn't have been more thrilled.

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

The pair, identified by the Associated Press as Carlos Ciuffardi and Paola Podest, had told Francis during the flight that they had had a civil ceremony but that their religious ceremony was put on hold because a 2010 quake in Chile had destroyed their church, according to ANSA.

The Chilean couple married in a civil ceremony in 2010 but were never formally Wednesday in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

In response, the Pope offered to marry them on the spot.

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

"You can not assert yourself by destroying others, because this only leads to more violence and division", the pope said, speaking at an airfield in Temuco, the capital of the southern Araucania region. Below, their marriage certificate drawn up by cardinals who accompanied the Pope on his flight. He asked Ciuffardi if his wife was still the boss; Ciuffardi laughed and said yes.

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.

In his five years in office, Pope Francis gained a reputation for tossing protocol and embracing spontaneity.

The Pope also gave the couple two rosaries, Podest received a white rosary and Ciuffardi a black one.

Ciuffardi told reporters that the Pope told them, "This is the sacrament that is missing in the world, the sacrament of marriage".

Podest was a bit quiet during the interview because she was still in shock. They fly back home Friday - with a remarkable story to tell.

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