In an unprecedented moment, the Holy Father Pope Francis delivered the sacrament of marriage to two cabin crew members onboard LATAM flight LA1250 from Santiago to Iquique in Chile today. The ceremony was witnessed by Ignacio Cueto, Chairman of LATAM Airlines Group’s board of directors, and Monsignor Mauricio Rueda, both of whom are part of the delegation accompanying Pope Francis on his visit to Chile and Peru.
During the flight, the couple approached Pope Francis to request a blessing – since they only had performed the civil ceremony – but the Supreme Pontiff instead offered to perform the marriage ceremony 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.
Paula Podest Ruiz and Carlos Ciuffardi Elorriaga, both cabin crew managers and recipients of LATAM’s ‘Service Leader’ award – the company’s highest distinction for employees – held their civil marriage ceremony in 2010. They had the intention of carrying out a church ceremony, but the earthquake which hit southern Chile in March 2010 damaged the venue where they were going to hold the service, so they decided to postpone the marriage.
“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 Paula.
Paula and Carlos have both worked for LATAM for over 10 years and were selected to accompany the Supreme 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 Supreme 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 Ignacio Cueto, Chairman of the Board, LATAM Airlines Group.
LATAM is the official airline of Pope Francis on his first trip to Chile and Peru and is transporting the Supreme Pontiff on the following visits:
Wednesday, 17 January: Santiago-Temuco-Santiago (Chile)
Thursday, 18 January: Santiago-Iquique (Chile)-Lima (Peru)
Friday, 19 January: Lima-Puerto Maldonado-Lima (Peru)
Saturday, 20 January: Lima-Trujillo-Lima (Peru)
Sunday, 21 January: Lima (Peru)-Rome (Italy)