Local Feedback

World Marriage Day Celebrations


Previous Years' Highlights

Mary Jane Diaz, California

One thing we are doing is having the most recent newlyweds bring up the gifts and we are given each person a candle, after they renew their vows, Father will go down and light the candle of the most recent married, who will turn to the couple on their right, light their candle and so on until all the candles have been lit, ending in the front with the couple who have been married the longest. They will then go up on the altar and light the unity candle for the entire group. We thought this would be kind of nice. We are also having a husband and wife read the intercessions. We have had all of our married couples fill out cards with their name, address, date married and location. We will seat people accordingly with the youngest in the back and the longest in the front, 0-10 years, 10-20 years, 20-30 years etc. We are going to serve sandwiches, chips and wedding cake. We are having a guest book, the children's choir will be singing and we have a prayer for married couples that everyone will receive a copy of. I am excited.

Marc & Judith Forget, Lunenburg, MA

We mailed approximately 750 packets out to all of the parishes in Massachusetts. Included in the packet was an invitation to have a WWME person speak at their parish on WMD, a letter from the Massachusetts WME Community with all of the MA team names on it. We also included a description of the difference between WWME and NME, an advertisement that they can hang in their parishes and brochures and a brochure holder that was made to hold them. Lastly, we gave them a few highlights from last year, sample prayer services and liturgies and general information, along with renewal of vows information, general intercessions and prayer of blessing for married couples.

It was quite a task to put it all together, but the community had a wonderful time doing it.

Dottie & Andy Kielb, West Seneca, NY

This year we are planning our 1st celebration of "Marriage Day" and I am so very impressed with all the work being done in so many places. Thank you for all the ideas and suggestions which really encouraged me. I can't wait to share this information with the two other persons on our "Community Life Committee". Our parish church is having an event on the Friday before World Marriage Day, so we will be celebrating with you 'in spirit' and have our own day on Feb. 16th. Our day will be a 10:30 AM Liturgy with special music selected for this celebration and a blessing of all the married persons present, along with those who are widowed,etc. and a Pancake Breakfast will follow.

Anne Kruse St. John the Baptist parish in Mankato, Minnesota

for world marriage day this year, we had a special blessing for married couples at each mass, and also had married couples read the intentions that were supplied by the WMD package. They were really good. Then we offered a lovely couples dinner that was good food, a little entertainment, and lots of romantic atmosphere.

Diane & Tony Liuzzo, St. Maurice Parish, Nepean, Ontario, Canada

Through the auspices of Knights of Columbus Council 12296, St. Maurice Parish, Nepean, all married couples at the parish are receiving a special blessing on February 9, 2003. Being our first participation in World Marriage Day, we decided to celebrate in a very modest way. Under the auspices of the Knights of Columbus St. Maurice Council 12296, we made an announcement of World Marriage Day through posters and the parish bulletin one week prior to February 9th. Married couples received the Church's special blessing at all four masses on February 8th and 9th. Parishioners enjoyed a piece of WMD cake and coffee afterwards in the parish hall. We hope to expand the social aspects next year with a dinner/dance.

Carroll II & Kathleen Mitchell, Baker City, Oregon

We used a suggestion given in the packet we received the day of the Process Meeting. First we contacted the Parish Priest well in advance. We talked to him during Christmas week. He thought it was a fine idea. Our Pastor was very helpful as he is encountered. The already set schedule had our permanent Deacon preaching the second Sunday of Feb. We thought that would be fine. Our Pastor liked the idea of finding the longest Married Couple in the Parish and honoring them during Mass. We got up and gave a short overview of what WMD was all about. We cheated we used the history paragraph in the packet and divided it up between us. Then Father Rob Irwin had all the Married couples stand and gradually sat them down till all that was left standing was a couple who have lived here since they were youngsters and have been married 65 years the 24th of Feb. We presented them with a certificate recognizing their many years of marriage, and a bouquet of flowers. The Knights of Columbus who always do a breakfast on the 2nd Sunday treated them to a free breakfast. A copy of the Holy Fathers Apostolic Blessing was displayed in front of the Alter. We had a wedding cake for them to cut and they took home the top layer. The feed back we have gotten is that they were thrilled and so excited about it. We felt that it was a great success and are looking for an idea for something different for next year. We are submitting an article about it to the Sentinel (our Catholic newspaper) as soon as we get the pictures back. We used couples in all Lay Ministries possible. The Rosary before Mass, Greeters two couples, Readers, A couple to bring up the gifts. The Head Usher and his wife also took pictures, plus two extra couples as regular ushers. Eucharistic Ministers: we had two couples ministering the cups. We also found out the priest did a small piece at each of the missions and at the Spanish Mass on WMD.

Dave & Kay Nowak, Orlando, FL

Our World Marriage Day Celebration was moving. Fr. Phillip Nunez prepared a bi-lingual service (we co-sponsored the service with his parish - St. James Cathedral) that included an Epistle (in Spanish), a sung Psalm (in English), and a Gospel Reading (in English with a Spanish explanation). Intercessions, exchange of vows, and blessing of hands (the hands of Matrimony) were all done in both languages. The celebration ended with an energetic traditional closing wedding march (Here Come the Bride and Groom!). A reception followed which included: a three piece string band, pictures taken under an ivy trellis, wedding cake, wedding photos of some of the couples whose home parish is the Cathedral.

Bob Reimer, South Carolina

South Carolina and its third annual Diocesan Anniversary Celebration on World Marriage Day. It was at Immaculate Conception Church in Goose Creek. Bishop Robert Baker said the Mass. There were probably around 400 people there. All the couples received certificates, and there was a reception after the Mass. One of the parishes in Charleston had their own celebration. Christ Our King parish had a speaker in the morning, and a dinner and dance. We saw it advertised in the diocesan newspaper, so we don't know anything else about it

Irene Szyszka, California

We are having a Renewing of the Wedding Vows; longest married couple and newest Newlyweds receiving recognition and a bouquet of flowers, followed by wedding cake and punch/coffee in the hall.

Lucille & Shawn Smith, St. Andre's Parish in Biddeford, ME

World Marriage Day only began in our Parish after we attended a Marriage Encounter weekend and became aware of the event. Now Father Reggie says it's our show to run every year (if we want to). It gives us a sense of closeness (my husband and I). We decorated the front of the church with a beautiful gazebo decorated with ivy and lights, so most parishioners would have to walk through it to receive holy communion and to walk to the altar when we renewed our vows. We had couples do the readings at each mass, couples do the offertory. We ordered gold and white balloons with wedding bells on them. My husband drew up a poster that we put on the altar saying Welcome to World Marriage Day 2003. He drew doves, and candles with one unity candle and the cross in the background. We held one reception in the evening of February 8. We served wedding cake, and purchased some sparkling cider and champagne glasses. My husband gave a toast and all the couples intertwined their arms with their spouses like they did on their wedding day. We played wedding music and danced a little bit. All and all it was a positive experience for most. Our pastor, gives us all the support we need. He thinks it's very important to celebrate this day. It was beautiful to hear the kids sing wedding songs. Very touching.

Marty & Diane St. Germain, Our Lady of Lourdes, LA

Our parish Our Lady of Lourdes this past weekend. Fr. Hall and the Liturgy committee agreed to celebrate WMD on the weekend of Feb. 8-9, 2003. This was the first time WMD was celebrated at OLL. Pete, our deacon, and his wife Kathy Faler, a former WWME presenting team, gave the homily at all the Masses on how they met and how they were affected by their weekend and how they became active as a couple in the Church. It was beautiful and we could see smiles on the faces of many of the couples in the Church as they listened.
At our Liturgy meeting weeks before, it was decided that renewal of the vows would not take place for various reasons discussed. At the last minute, Father Hall told Pete that the vows would be said. Pete chose a beautiful way to do it. At the end of the homily, Pete said that he was going to renew his vows with his wife and invited couples to join them by standing and repeating what they said. Many couples in the Church did join them. Then he introduced us as the marriage ministry coordinators and we asked Fr. Hall to give a special blessing to all married couples, which he did beautifully. We then conducted the contest to recognize the longest married couple and presented one couple at each of the Masses with a bouquet of red roses. We had one couple married 73 years! The Lector of each Mass had his or her spouse up at pulpit with them. The Intercessory prayers were focus on marriage and on those who have lost a spouse. The Offertory gifts were brought up by a few married couples. At the 8:30 Mass, we had 5 couples, married well over 50 years, walk up together and it was so impressive. Father Hall opened each Mass and closed each one with words about WMD and its importance. We were very pleased with our first year of celebrating WMD at OLL.


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Robert & Jaye Ann Smith, Alamogordo NM

We're having a dinner, renewal of vows and longest-married couple contest for our entire county, Otero County, New Mexico

Victor & Lynn Dvorak, New England ND

Picture display, hugs and kisses from Father (hershey hugs and kisses?

Kevin & Dianne Williams, The Woodlands TX

Wedding cake for everyone in the parish hall after mass, served up by couples involved in M.E., Unitas, and Sponsor couple group.

Shaun & Mary-Anne McKay, Auckland New Zealand

We had a 'Celebration of Marriage' Mass lead by the Bishop of Auckland at St Patrick's Cathedral, followed by refreshments and wedding cake for all.

Nelda & Rolando Garza, Corpus Christi TX

Reception after mass, "Not Necessarily Newlywed Game".

Toru & Yoshie Nagata, Tokyo Japan

We "TANE no kai" St Anselms Catholic Church WMD group are planning tea party and mass for WMD on the 9th Feb. 2002

Laura & Steve Dubreuil, Chicopee MA

Mass honoring married couples and a breakfast buffet following the mass with a toast to married couples, cake cutting, and a display of married couples Wedding pictures.

David & Alicia Trujillo, San Diego CA

Held a Mass celebrating World Marriage Day followed by a folkloric dance.

Joe & Julie Ceja, Los Angeles CA

Conducted a "Marriage in the New Millenium" seminar for encountered and non-encountered couples in many of the area around Los Angeles. A special Mass was held by the Bishop honoring couples married 1-25 years and 25-50 years. The longest married couple was honored – 61 years! A reception hosting more than 650 people was held after Mass where photos were taken of the anniversary couples with the Bishop.

The Kulpas, Wheeling WV

Scheduled a special Mass followed by a wine and cheese social and a buffet dinner.

Terry & Monika Ingraham, Orlando FL

Renewal of vows was included in a special prayer service on World Marriage Day for all married couples and priests. Since the parish is bi-lingual, the service was held in English and Spanish. It was complete with Latino band and lots of singing. More church members turned out for this event than any the parish conducts. The parish priest said "Marriage is like a pair of scissors. Both parts may be moving in different directions, but they punish anyone who comes between them."

John & Beena John, Cochin India

Held a convention on marriage for encountered and non-encountered couples and priests. Four presentations were given and Mass was celebrated.

The Bolens, Glen Ellyn IL

Held a candlelight service where couples lit unity candles one-by-one. The couples all brought their wedding photos to the service. Also, they could keep their candle for a souvenir of the evening.

Clive & Priscilla Miller, Australia

The Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne wrote letters to the church clergy encouraging the celebration of World Marriage Day and making marriage the theme of the day. It was also advertised in the diocesan magazine. ME couples were invited to some churches to make altar talks on the weekend. The main celebration was a picnic and afternoon of fellowship and fun in one of the public parks. Later that afternoon, the couples went to the cathedral for renewal of vows and lighting of special candles. The ceremony received widespread notice and resulted in requests for information on ME.

Ralph & Dottie Cornette, Winthrop ME

Held a special Mass with renewal of vows where married couples served as lectors and eucharistic ministers and children served as altar servers. The Pope’s apostolic blessing of World Marriage Day was on display in front of church and printed in the parish bulletin.

Tom & Chris Arnoldo, Westbrook ME

At Mass, the priest asked all married couple to stand and those who were without their spouse to "join in spirit" for a special blessing and renewal of vows. The choir sang "The Wedding Song".

Fr. Bob MacDonald, Van Buren ME

Had renewal of vows followed by a reception in the parish hall with a wedding cake, picture taking and showing photos from wedding albums.

Ivan & Sharon Coulombe, Sanford ME

The parish priest spoke of the significance of World Marriage Day, had all couples hold hands and face each other and conducted the renewal of vows.

Moe & Bonnie Ouelette, Limerick ME

Held a special couples Mass where the couples read aloud the Couples Prayer and renewed vows. A potluck supper followed. After supper, there was a wedding cake, wine toasts and a reading of a marriage creed. There was also dance demonstrations and honoring of the longest married couple.

Bruce & Emily Leonard, Howland ME

A potluck supper followed a Mass with renewal of vows. At the supper, a guest singer sang love songs and told stories of how the songs related to marriage. The couples married longest and least number of years were honored and "milestone" anniversary certificates were given out.

Rich & Millie Anderson, Brunswick ME

Couples married more than 25 years were honored and renewed vows. The choir sang special songs and a reception was held after Mass.

Shawn & Lucille Smith, Biddeford ME

Couples are honored at all Masses on that Sunday with the church decorated like a wedding ceremony. Couples register in advance. At the beginning of Mass, they go up to the altar to pick up heart-shaped name badges with their names and wedding dates embossed. They also receive carnations. A reception follows Mass with wedding cake and other goodies.

John & Sue Fink, Dubuque IA

Special World Marriage Day Masses were held with wedding cake being served after the Masses. A special bookmark with a prayer was also available to couples. The priest asked all couples to read the prayer.

Dave & Karen Demers and Fr. Larry Brault, Worcester MA

The World Marriage Day info packets were sent to all parishes in the area. This resulted in many special Masses, dances, renewal of vows, pulpit talks, etc.

Buddy & Jana Schwab, Austin TX

The church was decorated including white bows at each pew. There was a special homily and altar talks given at all Masses. A wedding cake and punch reception was held in the church hall. The church rented a heart-shaped archway that the ME community decorated with ribbons, flowers and bows. Photos of couples were taken under the arch for souvenirs of the day. Wedding "bubbles" were given to the children in attendance.

Carlos & Efrend Garcia, VA

A first time ever World Marriage Day celebration and dance (great band playing everything from salsa to romantic) was held for this Hispanic community. It was a fundraiser and a recruiting opportunity.

Rosendo & Irma Carranza, San Jose CA

Four zones join together for the World Marriage Day celebration. Couples married longest were honored in each parish – the longest was married 65 years. There was a folkloric dance (and a children’s dance) and Aztec dancers for entertainment.

David & Melinda Melton, San Angelo TX

Held a special Italian dinner with wine. Encountered couples and priests invited other couples and priests to come the Monsignor officiated over an exchange of vows. A 3-tier heart shaped cake was part of the celebration. At the end of the event, small heart shaped bags were given to each all. Each couple and priest wrote love notes to everyone attending and placed the notes in their bags for future "pick-me-ups".


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The Penas, Columbia OR

Held a family dance to start the celebrations. The local Catholic radio station did 30 second spots on marriage. Many parishes had renewal of vows and altar talks were given at many parishes.

Joe & Dawn Notarpole, Fayetteville NY

A great deal of media turned up for the Bishop’s celebration of a special World Marriage Day Mass. Two couples married longest were honored – 63 years. There was a reception with a wedding cake and hand made edible lilies.

Charles & Cindy Boudreaux, Galveston – Houston TX

The Family Life Office did an outstanding job of promoting World Marriage Day and the Bishop sent a letter to all parishes encouraging support for the day. A list of suggested activities was sent to each parish. The longest married couple was identified and interviewed with the interview published in the local newspaper. They were given a plaque, flowers and recognized from the altar at Mass. Couples married 25 years or more sat in reserved pews. There was renewal of vows at every Mass.

Nick & Dianne Monje, Arlington VA

Pulpit talks were held in churches throughout the Diocese.

Kevin & Dianne Williams, The Woodlands TX

Many advance announcements made the day special. Pulpit talks were given and renewal of vows was said. During Mass, the priest had couples stand and then sit down in 5-year increments until the couple married longest was left standing. A reception was held with wedding cake, coffee and juice. It was a good recruiting opportunity with the video playing and brochures available.

Fr, Harry Brown, Church of St. John the Baptist, Glandorf, OH

All parishes in the Toledo Diocese were told to celebrate World Marriage Day. We had a special homily and blessing at the Sign of Peace. A local K.C. hall (donated at no cost) was the site of a World Marriage Day Mass, dinner and dance with lots of fun and prizes. Renewal of vows was held after dinner. More than 300 people attended.

Jose & Gloria Esparza, San Antonio TX

Held a special Mass with couples at the entrance of church giving couples a silk rose with a World Marriage Day prayer card. Renewal of vows was part of the ceremony.

Kathy & Tom Lensie, Charleston SC

The whole archdiocese celebrated marriage with the Bishop saying a special Mass which attracted almost 800 people. Four couples present had been married more than 60 years. 61 other couples had celebrated their 50th anniversary. One couple summed it up by saying, "It was beautiful that the diocese recognized us."

Dan & Helene Robillard, Springfield - Pittsfield MA

The area obtained a lot of media coverage. A local radio station interviewed several couples on what Marriage Encounter has done for their marriage. There were articles in local newspapers on Marriage Encounter.

Robert & JoAnn Cowan, Victoria TX

Made 8 ½ x 11" posters of the World Marriage Day logo and the theme, "Celebrate Marriage" and placed them in store windows all over the city. The WMD information packet was copied and made available to ministers of other denominations in town and they were able to celebrate the day, too.

The Naegers, Orchard Lake MI

Held a special Mass with petitions and blessings used from the information packet. Names of couples celebrating 10 – 50+ years of marriage were collected and published in parish bulletins. A reception followed Mass with wedding cake and souvenir photos taken of each couple attending

Werner & Annie Mammen, Tucson, AZ

Diocese held a special Mass and Valentine Celebration Dance on Saturday before WMD. Renewal of marriage vows was part of the special Mass.

Larose, LA

Our Lady of the Rosary Church

P.O. Box 10

Larose, LA 70373

Special Mass was held with WMD liturgy and a blessing of Pope John Paul II. There were flowers and banners to decorate the church and reserved pews for couples and families. A married couple delivered the homily. A reception was held after Mass with food, cake and drinks. Couples brought their wedding pictures to display and the Newlywed Game was played at the reception. WMD was featured in the local newspaper.

Don & Lorrie Gramer, Rockford, IL

A Marriage "Rally" was held from 1 to 11 p.m. which included guest speakers, video, dinner, dancing, awards and a live 14-piece orchestra. 200 plus couples attended. An essay contest was held among three school-age groups soliciting essays on "The Married Couple I Most Admire and Why". More than 800 essays were submitted and 16 winners were selected. The winners were videoed reading their essays, and the videos were shown at the Marriage Rally. The Diocesan newspaper carried an article on the essay contest and published several entries.

June & Bill Gautreau, Baton Rouge, LA

The Bishop gave a Mass of celebration at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in the Capitol City. The World Marriage Day celebration is combined with the diocese’s annual celebration of local couple’s 50th wedding anniversaries. More than 100 couples registered, and a reception was held after the Mass.

Kathy & Steve Somnitz, Southern Oregon

The Southern Oregon ME community took the opportunity to give altar talks and show the ME video at Masses in different locations in Oregon and California. Some unique things at various Masses: Kathy & Steve delivered the homily at all 3 Masses at their parish; at another Mass, one couple who had been married by a justice of the peace 10 years prior had their marriage blessed by the priest; at still another Mass, one couple due to be married the following week shared from the altar why getting married is important to them; finally, couples married 30, 40 and 50 years were recognized.

Tim & Brenda McDonald, Alliance, NE

This community did a media blitz for WMD, placed an ad announcing WMD, and obtained a proclamation from the town’s mayor. All parishes in the town were mailed the WMD material distributed by the National WMD Team.

Hank & Bev Boudreaux, Lockport, LA

Working with a nun in charge of Family Ministries in their diocese, Hank & Bev duplicated all the material distributed by the National WMD Team and sent it to 45 parishes. A special Mass featured a marriage banner and the priest used the WMD liturgy complete with intercessions and renewal of wedding vows. Roses were given to the longest and the shortest married couples. A couple speaking about WMD was featured on local radio and television, and the newspaper carried articles on WMD.


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Curtis & Lorraine Lauret, Simsbury, CT

One Mass for the day was announced as one to celebrate the sacrament of marriage. Longest married and shortest married couples were asked to participate at various points during the Mass. At each point, the celebrant would ask them to tell the congregation how long they had been married. A Unity Candle was lit in a special ceremony at the beginning of Mass. Portions of the WMD liturgy were followed, and the homily was specially written and delivered by a Deacon who had been encountered in ME’s early days. The choir sang special songs appropriate for the day. The celebrant quipped about "getting married to get all this attention".

Father John A. Carroll, S.S.J.
454 Charleston Road
Mobile, AL 36603

Father John has two small parishes which he cares for. In one, he had 16 couples renew their vows; in the other, he had 31 couples renew their vows. He gave a special certificate and flowers to each couple. He commented that the WMD material distributed by the National WMD Team was "practical, down to earth, and usable".

Dave & Lucy Snyder, Tampa, FL

Dave & Lucy sent a mailing containing the WMD material to the pastors at all 82 parishes in the diocese. The mailing also contained laminated posters of the community’s weekend schedule. They also asked for permission to do altar talks in each parish and added encouragement to each pastor to consider making a weekend themselves. Six parishes were scheduled for altar talks within a week of the mailing and 2 priests had signed up for weekends.

Instead of holding their normal WMD Dance, the community planned a World Marriage Day Festival with booths of interest to couples and children. The festival featured games, a kissing booth, wedding cake and an ice cream social. Local companies donated prizes including a getaway weekend at the beach for a lucky couple. More than 150 people attended the festival. Encountered couples were signed up for two new sharing circles, 4 couples were recruited for a weekend, and 50 couples took brochures on the weekend and watched the video.

A special WMD Mass was celebrated at the Cathedral by the Bishop with community couples serving as lectors, ushers, etc. Many other parishes held their own celebrations and many included renewal of vows, which is encouraged by the local ME community. A 2-page spread appeared in the local diocese newspaper. Publicity spots and an hour-long interview featuring the Snyders was heard on the local Catholic radio station.

Jorge & Monica Aguilera, Clovis, CA

A special WMD lunch was prepared for the entire congregation of their church.

Joe & Julie Ceja, La Puente, CA

The community was able to conduct pulpit talks at each Mass. Wedding cake was served after each Mass. A "Marriage in the Millennium Seminar was held. Flyers were mailed to 150 parishes advertising the seminar and 70 couples attended – ½ encountered and ½ non-encountered. Three presentations were given – on Disillusionment/Romance, Communication, and Healing/Forgiveness/Joy and included a question and discussion time. The seminar ended with Mass and renewal of vows.

Joe & Judy Cifrian Apopka, FL

A celebration was planned which included a buffet dinner and dancing and wedding cake. Prior to one of the Masses, a couple gave a presentation based on Marriage in God’s Plan. Each woman receives a rose in a water tube and each man receives a boutonniere. Children are encouraged to be involved – passing out the flowers, making decorations, hanging balloons, and acting as DJs for the party.

Rosendo & Irma Carranza, Sunnyvale, CA

Zones 2, 3, 4 and 14 worked to make this WMD a success. There were many varieties of activities, singing, folkloric dance (including Irma dancing the Spanish Flamenco).

Dick & Carol Cronk, Dayton, OH

At the Christian Life Center, a marriage enrichment seminar was held with 19 couples attending. On Saturday, the high school age youth of the church sponsored a sweetheart banquet as their annual fundraiser with 60 couples attending. Each couple received a photo and a rose. During worship services on WMD, couples renewed their vows, the senior pastor delivered a special sermon, a short "marriage" skit was conducted, and the music minister and his wife sung a love song together.

After each service, couples were invited to attend a marriage reception. Refreshments, including wedding cake, were served and couples had the opportunity to receive a marriage photo around a blazing fire, autograph a marriage banner segmented into years married, and receive a special gift.

Annie & Mike Knakmuhs, Brainerd, MN

Announcements of WMD on pink paper were put into parish bulletins throughout the area. Annie and Mike delivered pulpit talks at one parish’s 3 Masses.

Bruce & Mary Ann Breslin, Canal Fulton, OH

The bishop of the diocese, who is encountered, attended the WMD Mass that day. A special social time was provided after the Mass serving cookies, coffee and tea. Couples were invited to view the new Marriage Encounter video.

Martin & Mona McDonnell, Trumbull, CT

A first time ever WMD was held here and was very well received. At each Mass, a brief presentation was given on what WMD is. All married couples were asked to stand and, by process of elimination, those married longest were left standing. The longest married couples were presented with bouquets of flowers. With all couples standing, the priest gave them a special WMD blessing.

John & Peggy Koen, Sewell, NJ

Flyers were sent out early announcing the special WMD Mass and celebration in the parish hall. WMD posters provided publicity along with a WMD table in the church foyer. Couples were asked to register for recognition and names tags were provided. Corsages were given to couples married 50 years or more before Mass and gift baskets were given to them after Mass. Couples married 60 years or more were brought to Mass and the celebration in a limousine. The Mass followed the liturgy suggested in the WMD Coordinators packet and included the renewal of vows. The music ministry planned special songs for the day. Volunteer couples and youths hosted the parish hall celebration which featured table seating (honor couples up front at reserved tables) and plenty of good eats. The longest married couple cut a wedding cake after grace and toasts. Photographs were taken, the local television news had a feature on their evening program, and a front page article on the event appeared in the local newspaper.

Countries outside the United States where an inquiry was made about celebrating World Marriage Day:

New Zealand
Puerto Rico


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Couple Married the Longest

From the town of Milton, Washington, near Mount Rainier we have been blessed with Jessie & George Shepard, married in 1918 and are now 98 and 99 years old, respectively. They have shared eighty years together. They are still High School sweethearts. George and Jessie have 1 son, 4 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. They were nominated for Couple Married the Longest by Joe & Helen Hesketh of Bellevue, Washington.

Husband & Wife of the Year

The Machan family of Norcross, Georgia, introduced us to Bob & Martha Carpenter when they sent in their essays on "How the love of this husband and wife has influenced my life". Richard & Joanna Machan and their daughters, Anna and Amanda shared how Bob and Martha have been "a sign to us, each time we see them hold hands and look at each other" "They serve others with dignity and humility, and they do it together." They love our whole family "like we were their own children". 1999 Husband and Wife of the Year, Bob and Martha Carpenter were married on January 15, 1948. They have 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.

Corpus Christi, Texas

Local WMD Coordinators, Rolando & Nelda Garza helped to organize several events in their area. First, a "‘Not Necessarily’ Newlywed Game" attended by 15 couples and hosted by a local TV celebrity and his wife. There were two rounds to the game, preliminary and final rounds and prizes provided by area sponsors including a one night stay at a local hotel, gift certificate to a restaurant, champagne, roses, chocolates and much more!

Next, the Corpus Christi area was invited to a Renewal of Marriage Vows at Noon Mass at St Thomas More Catholic Church.

Also, as an addition to their most recent WWME weekend the follow-up talk focused on World Marriage Day and honored the longest married couple present with a gift basket which included one night’s stay at a local hotel, lunch for two, wine, chocolates and more!!!

Detroit, Michigan

Paul & Gerda Clark and their community share their "God blessed event". Their "World Marriage Day Prayer Celebration & Family Style Dinner" was attended by 398 people! The events guest speakers, Steve & Cindy Wright from Family Life Radio, WUFL AM 1030, shared the "Secrets Hallmark® Never Told You". To add to the afternoon of prayer and song and food the Michigan community petitioned Governor of Michigan, John Engler to issue an Executive Declaration in Observance of World Marriage Day.

Cranston, Rhode Island

Bonnie & Don Schiavone and the Cranston Area community had a great World Marriage Day Celebration where they honored 26 couples married over 60 years. Their reception and prayer service was attended by the 26 couples, Bishop Mulvee and Monsignor Frappier, Vicar of Social Ministry, 350 friends and family and about 50 Marriage Encounter couples, including couples from the Episcopal Marriage Encounter. Bonnie & Don shared, "for a noisy total of around 500 celebrants. Everyone had a great time. We hope to expand the number next year. The Cranston Area Couple Married the Longest was Joseph & Irene Coutu, married for 76 years. The event was covered by three TV stations, the Catholic radio program, and several newspapers.

Atlanta, Georgia

Charley & Ida-Marie Anton and their Atlanta Area WMD 1999 committee hosted their 14th Annual World Marriage Day Valentine Ball honoring married couples in their area as well as the national winners of the Husband and wife of the Year Contest, Bob & Martha Carpenter. The semi-formal event, attended by 99 couples, was held at the Marriot North Central in Atlanta were "Overnight Dance Packages" were available. The evening included dinner, dancing, door prizes, a photographer available to capture the moment and the presentation of The Couple of the Year. The event was blessed in writing by the Most Reverend John F. Donoghue, Archbishop of Atlanta; Mayor Bill Campbell, Mayor of Atlanta and Member of Congress, Bob Barr. The event, and related articles were covered by "The Georgia Bulletin", the "Atlanta Journal Constitution" and St. John Neumann’s parish newspaper the "Neumann News"

New York, New York

Jim & Nancy Rizzi, coordinators of the 14th Annual World Marriage Day Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. At this year’s mass His Eminence Cardinal O’Connor and the archdiocesan Worldwide Marriage Encounter community honored the New York City Area’s Couple Married Longest, Adolph & Wilma Wagner. The Wagners have been married for 75 years; they knew each other as children growing up in Sullivan County N.Y. They have been blessed with two daughters, 6 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and 6 great-great-grandchildren, Adolph is 93 and Wilma is 91.

Wheeling, West Virginia

Bryan & Linda Reising and their St. Vincent de Paul Parish WMD team directed their area’s WMD celebration. "With This Ring" was the theme for the joyous event which included Mass with Most Reverend Bernard Schmitt, D.D. Bishop of Wheeling. Following mass was social time during which couples could the wedding photo display of the attending couples and have their pictures taken by a photographer. Dinner was then served followed by a few words from Bishop Schmitt, witness talk, recognition of the longest married couple and the newest newlywed couple present; the evening included love letter writing. There were 54 couples in attendance and the event was covered by a local TV station.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Baton Rouge coordinators, Bill & June Gautreau reported on their World Marriage Day Mass and Reception at which the celebrant was the Bishop of Baton Rouge. Couples Celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary were invited to attend. In addition to these couples and their families, Baton Rouge honored two couples that have been married for 70 years. The celebration of mass was followed by a reception sponsored by the Baton Rouge WWME community. 125 couples attended the mass and reception.

Spokane, Washington

WMD Coordinators, Neil & Joanne Membrey organized a Mass followed by a reception for their community. Fifty couples attended the mass that was centered around the Sacrament of Matrimony. Each couple worn name tags with the number of years they had been married. Each group of ten years honored starting with fifty years. The mass included a renewal of vows followed by a reception and dance in the school hall. The Mayor of Spokane and his wife shared in the celebration. Neil & Joanne shared, "This was a family event and the children had a great time when we did the ‘Hokey Pokey’ and the limbo."

Columbus, Ohio

Mike & Sally Leahy directed the "5th Annual WMD Evening of Dinner and Dancing". The evening gave couples time to focus on each other. Door prizes, in the form of gift baskets were provided by local WWME share groups. The event was attended by 55 couples, most of whom spent the evening "burning up the dance floor". Also in Columbus, the Family life Office sponsored a workshop titled, "No Hard Feelings: Nurturing Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness in Marriage" with author and family psychologist Dr. Dennis O’Grady as the presenter. The day was also blessed with a letter from the Most Reverend James A. Griffin, Bishop of Columbus. The event was covered by the local Catholic newspaper "The Catholic Times" and the "W.E.D.S.", the Columbus area WWME newsletter.

The World Marriage Day web site has played an important role in the success of WMD events around the country and world. The availability of information that is easily copied and adapted to fit an area’s plan for WMD has saved in both time and resources. The variety of information seekers have not only included some two hundred plus entries from the United States but a number of entries from places such as:

New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada,
Tamaulipas, Mexico
La Uruca, Costa Rica, Central America
Pelham, Ontario, Canada
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Quezon City, Philippines
Paramaribo, Suriname
Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Auckland, New Zealand
Nelspruit, South Africa
Barranquilla, Columbia
Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium
San Gwann, Malta
Silverdale, New Zealand
Kenitra, Morocco
Pukekohe, New Zealand
Manila, Philippines
Georgetown, Guyana
Couva, Trinidad
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Lentini, Italy
Saipan, Northern Marianas Islands
Fonthill, Ontario, Canada


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