Pope Francis spontaneously married a couple onboard his flight

There’s a first time for everything, right? This week, Pope Francis became the first pope to marry a couple onboard a papal plane!

Carlos Ciuffardi and Paola Podest, two LATAM flight attendants, could never have guessed that Thursday would be the date of their formal wedding ceremony (they were technically already married, but had it performed through a civil ceremony). And they certainly couldn’t have guessed who the officiant would be.

Pope Francis and his entourage had been touring Chile and happened to be on the same flight as the couple, each of whom were allowed to snag a picture with his holiness. The couple began to chat with the pope, who eventually asked if they were married. This led to Elorriga and Ruiz explaining that they had originally planned for a grand marriage ceremony that unfortunately was indefinitely put on hold due to the tragic 8.8-magnitude earthquake which collapsed their church on their wedding day.

Upon hearing that bittersweet story, Pope Francis asked the couple if they wanted him to perform a wedding ceremony right then and there, at 36,000 feet in the air! The ecstatic couple happily agreed.

The impromptu ceremony took place and once the rings were blessed, their union was sealed with a kiss. According to CNN, the pope had his cardinals draft the paperwork and wedding certificate on the flight. The document was signed by the pope, the couple and a witness, who happened to be CEO of the airline. That’s one powerhouse marriage certificate!

“We can’t believe the pope married us,” Ciuffardi told reporters on the flight, according to ABC News. “A pope has never married anyone on a plane. We hope it will promote marriage. We have a Vatican document, it’s all valid.”

CNN reports that Pope Francis told the couple, “This is the sacrament that is missing in the world, the sacrament of marriage. I hope this motivates couples around the world to marry.”

The thrilled newlyweds planned to celebrate with co-workers in Iquique, Chile and spend a short honeymoon together before returning to Santiago.