Love one another as I have loved you
The Mission of Marriage Encounter is to proclaim the values of Marriage
and Holy Orders in the Church and in the World.
For more than 50 years, Worldwide Marriage Encounter has helped over 3.5 million couples in almost 100 countries unlock the power of their relationships with new ways to do the “I do.”
Fr. Gabriel Calvo
The roots of Worldwide Marriage Encounter go back to 1952, when a young priest in Spain, Fr. Gabriel Calvo, developed a series of conferences for married couples. Their focus was on the development of an open and honest relationship within marriage and learning to live out a sacramental relationship within marriage, and also learning to live out a sacramental relationship in the service of others.
In 1962, Fr. Calvo presented the conferences as a weekend retreat to 28 couples in his native Barcelona. Marriage Encounter was on its way!
In 1966, Fr. Calvo and a couple addressed the International Confederation of Christian Family Movement in Caracas. The Weekend spread to Latin America and to Spanish speaking couples in the United States.
Fr. Chuck Gallagher
In 1968: Fr. Chuck Gallagher, S.J., a youth retreat master, attended a weekend in New Jersey, USA, and his dream to change the world began taking shape. The next year a National Executive Board for “Marriage Encounter Weekends” was formed in the USA.
Guidelines were developed to coordinate the expansion of the movement in the United States and Canada. Fr. Gallagher – drawing from the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius – proposed the first outline for Marriage Encounter weekends.
In 1999, Nelson and Lucy along with Fr. Gino Henriques, who were part of the prayer group, felt the need to bring a family-oriented program to Dubai. This was not an easy task, as the church could not provide accommodation required for a live-in weekend; they had to go searching for hotels that would be willing to host the program. Despite facing initial challenges they persevered, and their prayers were finally answered. Funded by the prayer group, and with the help of Fr. Michael Cardoz the first ME weekend was conducted in Dubai. Fr. Ivo and two couples from Bombay, India – Joe and Yola, Malcolm and Marietta - were the presenting couples.
With a tiny seed sown in Dubai, WWME Middle East is now blooming in Dubai, Abu- Dhabi, Oman and Qatar. Thanks to the bountiful support from our Bishop Paul Hinder and all the priests of our Vicariate, Marriage Encounter celebrates its 21 years of strengthening marriages in the Middle East.
Marriage Encounter would never be where it is today, without its priests and couples who have served as leaders selflessly by guiding, inspiring, and encouraging others, following the example of Jesus. Our hearts remain grateful to our ME India team priests and couples, for their generous outreach in our growing years.
Reaching couples in almost 100 countries
Fr. Chuck Gallagher’s vision, drive and determination have enabled millions of couples, priests, and religious to experience this special marriage enrichment weekend. Today, Worldwide Marriage Encounter is in 94 countries, and more than 3.5 million couples and 27,000 priests and religious, have experienced this enriching and transformative weekend experience.