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Thousands of Worldwide Marriage Encounter Couples Join with Pope Francis for a Year of Mercy Special Event at the Vatican
Contact: Dick & Diane Baumbach, Worldwide Marriage Encounter, 321-544-3440,
ROME, Sept. 22, 2016 /Standard Newswire/ -- Pope Francis offered his blessings and support of Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME) here during a special celebration and Mass at the Vatican earlier this month. The Papal program, which was held on September 10, 2016, was attended by over 4000 couples, 70 priests and three bishops who are part of the Worldwide Marriage Encounter movement, said Joe & Sue Talarico, the WWME United States Ecclesial Team who serve with Fr. Tom Ogg.

"The celebration at the Vatican by Pope Francis is something that will be forever in our hearts," the Talaricos said adding, "We were brought to tears as the thousands of Worldwide Marriage Encounter couples and priests sang our theme song – There Is A New World Somewhere."

The Talaricos were joined by the WWME North American Ecclesial Leadership Team Gene & Maggie Tokraks, who serve with Bishop Bill Skylstad.  "What a wonderful time for couples from across the world to be gathered together at the Vatican to celebrate our Sacraments of Matrimony and Holy Orders," the Tokraks said adding, "Being at the audience with Pope Francis with over 4000 WWME people from around the world was an awesome experience and it is one we will cherish in our hearts forever!"

WWME's International Ecclesial Team Daniel & Shelley Ee and Fr. Nathaniel Gomez met personally with Pope Francis.  The pope offered them a special message and said, "For all you participants in Worldwide Marriage Encounter, I thank you for all the good you do to help families! Go forward!"

The Ee's along with Fr. Gomez presented the Holy Father with a picture book of the WWME communities and its major events worldwide, as well as a report on the Movement.  Daniel said, "The three of us felt immense joy and were humbled to be able to greet the Holy Father on behalf of WWME. We will always remember his warm smile and gentle clasp of hand as he said thank you and encouraged our movement to carry on serving."

Leadership teams from Africa, Asia and Europe were also present for the event.  The overall program was part of Pope Francis's Year of Mercy project.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter has been offering weekend experiences for over 48 years and is considered the original faith-based marriage enrichment program. The programs are continually updated to keep abreast of changes in society, and WWME now offers evening and half-day programs that are presented at parishes and other church facilities. The weekend program, traditionally presented as an overnight experience at a hotel or retreat center, can also be presented at the parish where the couples return to their homes in the evenings. WWME has a presence in almost 100 countries, which makes it the largest pro-marriage movement in the world. In North America, the WWME programs are presented in English, Spanish, French, and Korean languages.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter offers married couples the opportunity to spend time together away from the busyness of the world to focus on each other. Priests are also encouraged to attend a WWME weekend, which offers insights into their relationship with the church and their parishioners, and how their Sacrament of Holy Orders interacts with the Sacrament of Matrimony. WWME offers tools for building and maintaining a strong, Christian marriage in today's world. To learn more about the Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekends online, go to, or contact the WWME national office at 909-332-7309.

Media inquiries should be directed to: Dick & Diane Baumbach (321) 544-3440