In what could be described as a double blessing, Pope Francis on 18 January, administered the sacrament of marriage to two cabin crew members onboard LATAM Airlines flight.
Flight LA1250 was a papal flight flying Pope Francis and his delegation from Santiago to Iquique in Chile as part of his official visit to Chile and Peru.
The ceremony was witnessed by Ignacio Cueto, chairman of LATAM Group’s board of directors, and Monsignor Mauricio Rueda, both of whom were part of the delegation accompanying the Pope.
Paula Podest Ruiz and Elorriaga, both cabin crew managers, approached Pope Francis during the flight and requested a blessing, but the Pope instead offered to wed them onboard.
“We approached the holy father to ask for his blessing, but after an intimate conversation, he agreed to marry us,” said Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga, LATAM cabin crew member.
They had intended to carry out a church ceremony in 2010, but had to postpone it due to the earthquake which hit southern Chile in March that year and damaged the venue where they had planned to hold the ceremony.
“We always wanted to get married in the eyes of the church and it was something that was pending, but we never thought it would be the Pope that would do it.
“We have received the best possible wedding gift and we are very lucky,” said Ruiz.
Ruiz and Elorriaga have both worked for LATAM for over ten years and were selected to accompany the pontiff during his visit to Chile.
“We are delighted to have witnessed this marriage, which was performed by the Holy Father onboard.
“Carlos and Paula are part of the LATAM family and were chosen to accompany the pontiff and his delegation for their professionalism, long service and for representing the values of the company.
“We wish them the very best for the future,” said Cueto, LATAM chairman.