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Nominations have been submitted from all over the country for the longest married couple project sponsored by Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME), the original faith-based marriage enrichment program in this country. The project honors one national winner and winners from each of the 50 states and U.S. territories.

It appears that nominations will follow the same pattern as the last two years when hundreds of families enter names of couples during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season. That’s the latest report from Dick & Diane Baumbach and Fr. Dick Morse, who serve as the coordinators for the project.

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“As we entered the holiday period the last two years we saw an upsurge of nominations as families gathered together and spent time with family members who have long marriages.” explained the coordinators. They added, “What has been amazing is how many younger couples are nominating their parents and grandparents for the honor. We’ve also had folks nominate themselves as well as friends of couples who have been married for many, many years.

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Plans call for Ron & Judy Pekny and Fr. Rocky Grimard, the United States Ecclesial Team for WWME, to personally present the longest married couple in the United States with special gifts during the February, 2012 Valentine week period. The individual state winners will receive a special certificate of achievement from the Worldwide Marriage Encounter movement.

“This project is being done to honor the commitment of married couples and to give hope to younger couples that they can have long and lasting marriages,” the Baumbachs and Fr. Morse said.

Nominations, which are open to all husband and wife couples regardless of faith expression, may be submitted by email, regular mail or by calling a special phone number. The contact information for sending in a nomination, which simply requires the name of the couple, their wedding date and where they currently reside plus a phone or email address, is as follows: email dickanddiane66@bellsouth.net ; regular mail Dick & Diane Baumbach 8934 Puerto Del Rio Dr. Suite 204 Cape Canaveral FL 32920 and special phone number 321-613-5180. Nominations must be received by January 10th, 2013.

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Worldwide Marriage Encounter has been offering weekend experiences for over 44 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 just under 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.