ABOADE THE PAPAL PLANE —
Pope Francis on Thursday performed another first, a wedding ceremony for a steward and stewardess, aboard a plane taking him between two Chilean cities.
Paula Podest Ruiz, 39, and Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriga, 41, told the pope they had been married in a civil service but their planned religious ceremony in their parish church in Santiago could not take place because it was heavily damaged in the country's 2010 earthquake.
They asked him to bless their marriage. But he had something else in mind.
"Do you want me to marry you?" he asked them.
"Here?" they asked, astonished.
The pope said yes and he performed a brief ceremony in the front of the plane. An airline executive was the official witness and a document was signed by a Chilean bishop on board.
"Everything is valid. Everything is official," said Vatican spokesman Greg Burke. "We will show you a picture of the document later."
The ceremony took place while the pope and his entourage were flying from Santiago to the northern city of Iquique.