Pope Francis pronounced two flight attendants husband and wife in a midair ceremony aboard a Chilean Airlines plane Thursday morning, marking the first time a pope officiated an airborne marriage.
Paula Podest and Carlos Ciuffardi had planned to have the church wedding nearly eight years ago in February 2010, but their plans were put on hold when their church collapsed in a devastating earthquake that rocked Chile.
Podest, 39, and Ciuffardi, 41, had been married in a civil union, but not in a ceremony recognized by the Catholic Church.
When the Pontiff came aboard the LATAM flight from the Chilean capital of Santiago to Iquique, the couple approached him for a picture.
The Pope asked the couple if they were married and they revealed their story.
He then asked if they wanted to be married right then and there on the plane and the couple agreed.
“He told me it’s historic, that there has never before been a pope who married someone aboard a plane,” Ciuffardi told reporters.
The LATAM flight attendants later stood before multiple journalists on the Airbus A321 to talk about their marriage and the excitement involved.
Ciuffardi said the pope told them: “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."
All the bride and groom needed was a witness and a cardinal to draft the marriage.
Fortunately, the Holy Father was accompanied by a Chilean cardinal who produced a handwritten legal document that was formally signed. The witness was Mauricio Amaro, the chairman of LATAM Airlines.
Pope Francis also presented the couple with rosaries, a white one for Podest and a black one for Ciuffardi.
"We can't believe the Pope married us," the groom said. “We have a Vatican document — it's all valid."
LATAM Airlines showed off the couple via Twitter, celebrating the exclusive occasion with tweets from their Chile handle, American handle and general account.
“An emotional day for Paula Podest y Carlos Ciuffardi," the American account tweeted. "They share with us their excitement over their marriage on board.”
¡Un sueño cumplido! Paula Podest y Carlos Ciuffardi están felices con la bendición recibida por parte de @Pontifex_es en pleno vuelo a #Iquique y quieren compartir este momento con todos nosotros. #ElVueloDeFrancisco #FranciscoEnChile pic.twitter.com/CKdPsgOI04— LATAM Chile (@LATAM_CHI) January 18, 2018
The couple has two children, Rafaela, 6, and Isabela, 3, according to Time magazine.
The newlyweds plan to celebrate in Iquique for the night in a "tiny honeymoon" before returning to Santiago, CBS News reported.