Newlyweds Start Married Life With Papal Blessing

Couples Reflect on Meaning of Sacrament

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By Carmen Elena Villa Betancourt

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 22, 2008 ( Every Wednesday dozens of couples arrive to the papal general audience dressed in their wedding garments. «They must be getting married at St. Peter’s» is a typical comment from tourists and pilgrims.

But the couples are generally already married and have requested from the Holy See a privileged place at the audience, very close to the Pope, where they will receive a special greeting from him, some of them individually. There is no charge for these seats, or any others at the audience.

Today there were couples in St. Peter’s Square from Italy, Germany, the United States, Poland, Ghana and Mexico.

At the end of his catechesis, following the tradition, the Holy Father addressed a few words to the newlyweds.

«With the fresh energies of youth,» he told them, «with the spiritual support of prayer and sacrifice, and with the potency of conjugal life, learn to be missionaries of the Gospel wherever you go, offering your concrete aid to those who make an effort to take [the Gospel] where it is not yet known.»

For some of the couples, receiving the apostolic blessing shortly after getting married is a family tradition.

Such is the case for Marcela and Juan Carlos Gallegos from Mexico, who got married Oct. 4 and made the trip to St. Peter’s part of their honeymoon. Marcela’s sister did the same thing five years ago, with Pope John Paul II.

«Marriage is the beginning of a life together to form a family,» she told ZENIT. «It’s to have God always present.»

«To be in Rome after my marriage is an opportunity that not everyone gets,» Juan Carlos added. «It’s a very beautiful way to begin our union. For me, this is to begin a new life, a different stage, to share it with another person, always to be beside God and to await the arrival of a family.»

Italians Cecilia and Daniel did not have to travel far to get the papal blessing. But they still value the opportunity.

«This meeting is very beautiful,» Daniel said. «There are many couples from all around the world, not just Italians. This shows us that all of us as a Church are one family.»

His bride added: «The Pope says that couples should love each other and seek to overcome difficulties, which are so many in life, and be together till the end.»

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