3,500 Moonie Couples Get Hitched

First mass wedding since death of church founder

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 17, 2013 7:07 AM CST

(Newser) – They definitely do: The Moonies have staged their annual mass wedding, joining some 3,500 couples in matrimony in a South Korea stadium, reports Sky News. The group nuptials were the first since the death of Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon in September, and were presided over by his widow, Hak Ja Han, aka "Mother Moon." Many of the couples had only met days earlier and were of different nationalities, and some don't speak the same language. "Yeah, I was pretty nervous," said a 21-year-old man, himself the product of an Australian father and Japanese mother matched by Moon. Of his 21-year-old Japanese bride, he says, "We struggle a little to communicate right now, as I speak no Japanese at all, and she only speaks a little English, but we see it as an exciting challenge and proof of our faith."

Says another new bride: "I've been waiting for him all my life. Language isn't such an issue. We're connected by the church."

Newly-married groom Juan Proano from Miami holds a wedding ring and a picture of his bride, who didn't appear, during a mass wedding ceremony in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.
Newly-married groom Juan Proano from Miami holds a wedding ring and a picture of his bride, who didn't appear, during a mass wedding ceremony in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Couples from around the world arrive for their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.
Couples from around the world arrive for their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Rev. Hyung-jin Moon, the youngest son of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon delivers a blessing during a mass wedding in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.
Rev. Hyung-jin Moon, the youngest son of the late Rev. Sun Myung Moon delivers a blessing during a mass wedding in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Groom Patrick Sweeting from Bahama exchanges a wedding ring with bride Miki Sasaki from Japan in a mass wedding ceremony in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.
Groom Patrick Sweeting from Bahama exchanges a wedding ring with bride Miki Sasaki from Japan in a mass wedding ceremony in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Hak Ja Han Moon sprinkles the church's holy water onto newly-married couples in a mass wedding ceremony in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.
Hak Ja Han Moon sprinkles the church's holy water onto newly-married couples in a mass wedding ceremony in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Couples arrive for their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. Some 3,500 couples married.
Couples arrive for their mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. Some 3,500 couples married.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Mongolian bride Enkhzul Baatarchuluun, left, holds the picture of groom Otgonbold Myagmardorj from Mongolia, who didn't appear, in a mass wedding in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.
Mongolian bride Enkhzul Baatarchuluun, left, holds the picture of groom Otgonbold Myagmardorj from Mongolia, who didn't appear, in a mass wedding in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Couples from around the world participate in a mass wedding at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.
Couples from around the world participate in a mass wedding at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
A couple takes a nap before their mass wedding at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.
A couple takes a nap before their mass wedding at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
A bride checks her make up in a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.
A bride checks her make up in a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Newly-married couples from around the world cheer in a mass wedding at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.
Newly-married couples from around the world cheer in a mass wedding at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Natalia Ladstaotter, from Austria, and her groom Colin Brouard, from England, cheer during a mass wedding in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.
Natalia Ladstaotter, from Austria, and her groom Colin Brouard, from England, cheer during a mass wedding in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Couples from around the world participate in a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.
Couples from around the world participate in a mass wedding ceremony at the CheongShim Peace World Center in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Couples from around the world bow to their family members and guests in a mass wedding ceremony in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.
Couples from around the world bow to their family members and guests in a mass wedding ceremony in Gapyeong, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
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