Days before their wedding, earthquake destroys church—but who marries them years later—unimaginable

January 22, 2018 4:15 pm Last Updated: January 22, 2018 4:16 pm

It takes months, even years to plan weddings. And that’s expected, given its a day that’s constantly fantasized about by many people. But it’s important not to rush a wedding. Because you never know what life will throw your way in the meantime.

Even though Carlos Ciuffardi and Paula Podest are a married couple with two children, they never had an official wedding.

(Facebook / Paula Podest Ruiz)

They were supposed to wed in 2010. Days before the ceremony, a massive earthquake leveled Chile, destroying the church they were going to elope at.

This setback didn’t stop them from participating in a civil ceremony that made them husband and wife. But still, the thought remained in their heads of having an actual ceremony one day.

Years later, in early 2018, the couple still wasn’t formally married.

But they did find themselves working together as flight attendants on Pope Francis’ plane, the papal plane.

(Twitter / antoniospadaro)

During the flight from Santiago to Iquique, the Pope was generous enough to take pictures with anyone on the plane, and Ciuffardi and Podest were up next. But they also wanted to ask him something.

“We told him that we would have loved to receive his blessing,” Ciuffardi told Telegraph.

The two had a conversation with the Pope, and this is when he learned of the circumstances surrounding the couple’s marriage.

Then, Pope Francis had a question of his own.

“Do you want me to marry you?”

This came completely out of nowhere for the two. Very few people, if any, dream of having their wedding on a plane.

But this was the Pope who was going to conduct it. And the couple couldn’t say no.

(YouTube / NBC News)

The mid-flight wedding administered by the Pope was the first ever of its kind. A minister on board also helped with the ceremony.


(Twitter / antoniospadaro)

There was even an improvised marriage certificate that was signed by the Pope.

(Twitter / joshjmac)

“We can’t believe the Pope married us,” Ciuffardi told CBS News.

The couple had their both their marriage and their wedding rings blessed as well. Not bad at all for an improvised wedding.

“Being married by a pope on board a flight is something priceless,” Podest said.

Ciuffardi and Podest planned to go on a second honeymoon after this, and will probably have no trouble telling everyone the way they just got married.

(Twitter / antoniospadaro)

It seems like everything happens for a reason. Though for years, the couple was likely disappointed to have never had an actual ceremony, it paved the way for what happened on the papal plane.

Not only is their marriage now recognized by the Catholic Church, but it was by the man who is the highest ranking official of that church. It doesn’t get any better than that.