Friday, July 10, 2009

Hafa Adai Lovers,

We're sending out this prayer warrior to our ME Community to urgently request special prayers for Fr. Chuck Gallagher who will undergo surgery beginning at 8pm tonight (Saipan time).

As we may recall hearing on our Weekends, Fr. Chuck was one of the pioneers who helped form Worldwide Marriage Encounter in the United States.

Please offer your prayers for this servant of the Lord who has given so much love to so many.

With love and prayers,

Vince & Hilma Castro and Fr. Isaac Ayuyu

The history of Worldwide Marriage Encounter began with Father Chuck Gallagher:

1969 - Fr. Chuck Gallagher, two other priests and couples from New York give 22 Weekends. As each Weekend finished, they learned more and made changes to make the Weekends even better. Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME) begins developing under the leadership of Fr. Charles Gallagher, S.J. and Edward & Harriet Garzero. The songs from “Man from LaMancha” are added to the Weekend. The Weekend went from Long Island, NY to Buffalo and Sioux City, Iowa. The Marriage Encounter symbol consisting of a heart symbolizing life, the two circles husband and wife and the cross symbolizing the church is created. The song I’ll Never Find Another You (There’s A New World Somewhere) by the Seekers is adopted as “our song”.

1970 – New York reaches out to Grand Forks, North Dakota. The importance of Daily Dialogue and the sharing of our feelings are recognized as the important cornerstones of Worldwide Marriage Encounter.

1971 – A decision is made to “encounter” the United States. The gift of WWME spreads through Pennsylvania, New Jersey and North Carolina, and through September of 1972 the following cities – Washington D.C., Boston, Detroit, St. Louis, San Antonio, New Orleans, Kansas City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco. The Catholic expression of WWME begins interfaith reach out to the Jewish and Episcopal denominations.

1972 – Worldwide expansion begins with a reach out to Belgium. The first National Convention is held in Hicksville, New York. WWME begins to organize in regions within the United States. WWME is offered in England.

1973 – The “Weekend” is offered in Chile, India and Ireland. The Second National Convention is held in Hicksville, NY. The World wide Family of Worldwide Marriage Encounter is created. The first Spanish-speaking Weekend is given in Brooklyn. Due to philosophical differences two distinct programs of Marriage Encounter developed. Both exist today. One is Worldwide Marriage Encounter the other National Marriage Encounter both have the origin from Encuentro Conjugal.

1974 – The Weekend is taken to Australia, France, Japan, Mexico and Germany. Spanish speaking Worldwide Marriage Encounters begin in San Antonio, TX. and spread to Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Puerto Rico. 100,000 couples are “encountered” in the United States. The Third National Convention is held at St. John’s University in NY. A nationwide hour-by-hour Prayer Vigil for religious vocations begins with the start of the Holy Year.

1975 – The first Worldwide Convention of Worldwide Marriage Encounter is held at St. John’s Univ. in N.Y. A pilgrimage is made to Lourdes and Rome. Weekends are offered in Spain, Indonesia, Brazil and Okinawa.

1976 – The Fifth National/Second Worldwide Convention is held in Philadelphia. Worldwide Marriage Encounter has been offered to 750,000 couples. As one country reaches out to another the Weekend spreads to Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Korea, Guam, Bolivia, Holland, Yugoslavia, Peru, Columbia, Guatemala, Philippines and the Virgin Islands. WWME participates in the 41st Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia.

1977 – Weekends are offered in Rome, Korea, (Korean Speaking), Fiji, Argentina, South Africa, Kenya and New Zealand. The first European Secretariat meeting is held in Belgium and Canada organizes their Secretariat structure.

1978 – WWME is ten years old and holds its first International Council meeting formed at Cuernavaca, Mexico with the Seven Secretariats of Asia, South Pacific, Pan-Africa, Europe, United States, Canada and Latin America. The first contact is made in Poland with Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, aka Pope John Paul II.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter continues to be the strongest pro-marriage movement in the world now presented in over 87 countries and made available in twelve faith expressions.