World Wide Marriage Encounter convention focuses on ‘Loving Greatly’

By Laura Keener.

The World Wide Marriage Encounter (WWME) Midwest Region convention was held the weekend of July 19–21 in the Diocese of Covington. Wayne and Jeanie Hodges, parishioners, St. Mary Parish, Alexandria, co-chaired the event with Thomas and Ginny Segbers, Cincinnati, and Father John Moriarty, Diocese of Lexington.

World Wide Marriage Encounter is the largest pro-marriage organization in the world. Its mission is to promote overnight experiences for couples who want to make a good marriage even better, said Mr. and Mrs. Hodges. The Midwest region encompasses Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern and Central Kentucky.

To achieve its mission, WWME hosts retreat-like weekends (and sometimes mid-week) “experiences” for couples. Couples that have already completed a WWME weekend host the weekends. The experiences allow couples time away from their daily routines to focus on each other and their marriage. During the weekend couples learn practical communication techniques. The goal is to rediscover their hopes and dreams for each other and their marriage.

Priests and religious are also encouraged to make a WWME experience so that they can take time away from their everyday life to rediscover their hopes and dreams for their vocation.

The theme for this year’s WWME convention was “Loving Greatly.” The theme, the Hodges said, is based on the book “Daring Greatly,” by Dr. Brene Brown.

“Presenters shared their shame of ‘not being enough’ in areas of their lives,” said Mrs. Hodges. “Being vulnerable, sharing their weaknesses and their feelings in their marital relationship is important. We must be vulnerable and deal with our shame of not being enough in order to love and be loved. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and sharing our inner selves is ‘Loving Greatly.’”

The convention opened Friday evening with Mass celebrated by Bishop Roger Foys at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington. The Gospel reading was St. Paul’s familiar discourse on love — love is patient, love is kind, it is not jealous, is not pompous, is not rude, it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things … love never fails. (cf. 1 Cor 13)

In his homily Bishop Foys said, “The most important phrase, to my mind, in that chapter is that love never fails — endless love. Endless love is difficult for human beings to imagine. Everything that we know has a beginning and an end. To convince anyone of us to believe something is endless can be very difficult. And yet, Paul says love never ends. That is true if it is true love, if it is genuine, if it is unconditional — that kind of love never ends. That genuine love speaks of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for that love is without end.”

Bishop Foys reminded the couples that Jesus encourages his people to “love one another as I have loved you.”

“That’s frightening because Jesus Christ loves us enough to go to the cross — to give up everything and everyone, even his own life, for us.”

Bishop Foys ended his homily encouraging the couples and the work of WWME.

“The work that you do in Marriage Encounter is essential — it is vital. You can be examples and witnesses to the fact that there is real love, true love, unconditional love, endless love,” Bishop Foys said. “As you begin your days together, I thank you for your witness that you love and bear for God and for each other. May that love spill over to the lives of others so that they can come to understand that there is such a thing as endless love. May your days together bear much fruit. May God bless you every day of your lives.”

WWME convention presentations were held at the St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center, Erlanger. Closing Mass, celebrated by Bishop John Stowe of the Diocese of Lexington, was held Sunday at the training center.

To learn more about World Wide Marriage Encounter visit www.esharing.org or call (937) 886-5196.

 

Upcoming World Wide Marriage Encounter Experiences

Sept. 10–11 (Tuesday and Wednesday)

Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center, Cincinnati

~Ideal for priests, religious and couples who have an easier time getting away during the week

 

Weekends

Oct. 18–20

Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center, Cincinnati

 

Nov. 1–3

Maria Stein Retreat Center, Maria Stein, Ohio

 

Attendees stay overnight. All meals and materials are provided.

For information visit esharing.org or call (937) 886-5196.