• Pope Francis performed on Thursday the first-ever papal marriage ceremony aboard the plane bound for Iquique, the final day of his Apostolic Visit to Chile.

    The newly-weds – Paula Podest Ruiz and Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga – were already married civilly and had intended on being married in a Catholic Church but their church was destroyed in an earthquake in 2010.

    The two flight attendants met 8 years ago aboard a plane. Seizing an unmissable opportunity, the couple asked Pope Francis to bless their marriage. But he had something else in mind.

    “Do you want me to marry you?” Pope Francis asked them. “Here?” they replied, astonished.

    Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office, said the marriage was “totally legit” and “doctrinally OK”.

    As wedding gifts, Francis gave the bride a white rosary and the groom a black one. He asked Ciuffardi if his wife was still the boss; Ciuffardi laughed and said yes.

    The pope told the couple: “This is what’s missing in the world, the sacrament of marriage. I hope this motivates couples to marry.”

  • Photos: Vatican Media, Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters