A new surprising and initiative of Pope Francis took place on the plane, which took him from Santiago to Iquique, Chile, on January 18, 2018: the blessing of the marriage of a flight attendant and an air hostess in mid-air. The Sacrament of Marriage is valid, said the Holy See.
During the 2-hour flight of the Latam company, which traversed the 1,800 kilometers between the capital and the North of the country, as part of his 22nd International Apostolic Journey, the Holy Father blessed the marriage of a Chilean couple: Paula Podesta Ruiz, 39, and Carlos Ciuffando Elorriaga, 41, who had been married civilly for eight years. In 2010 an earthquake destroyed the church where they intended to exchange their vows.
According to the press on board the plane, the couple asked the Pope to bless their wedding rings. Francis asked them if they wished to be married religiously. “They were talking with the Pope. They told him they weren’t married in the Church. The Pope asked them if they wished to be married immediately. They said “yes,” said Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, who accompanies the Argentine Pontiff on all his trips.
The Vatican stated that the act of religious marriage of the couple — written on a simple A4 white paper — is valid: “Everything is official. There are witnesses, there is a document,” said the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke.
Paula Podesta Ruiz and Carlos Ciuffando Elorriaga have two children: Rafaella, 6, and Isabella, 3.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester