By Junno Arocho Esteves | Catholic News Service
ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT TO IQUIQUE, Chile – Love was in the air as Pope Francis performed an impromptu wedding ceremony at 36,000 feet aboard his flight in Chile.
During his flight to Iquique Jan. 18, Pope Francis was approached by LatAm flight steward Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga and asked for a blessing for him and his wife, stewardess Paula Podest Ruiz.
The couple were supposed to be married in their home parish in Santiago Feb. 27, 2010. However, tragedy struck when an earthquake destroyed the church. Eight years later, they remained only civilly married.
Ciuffardi told journalists aboard the flight that, after he explained their story, he asked the Pope for their blessing.
At that moment, the Pope surprised the couple with offering to marry them right there on the plane.
Ciuffardi said he asked his boss and owner of LatAm airline, Ignacio Cueto, to be his best man.
The Pope was on his way from Santiago, Chile, to Iquique before heading to Peru later in the day.