Fr. Charles (Chuck) Gallagher S.J. (see bio)
Entered the Society of Jesus July 30, 1945
Ordained to the priesthood June 21, 1958
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif., July 22, 2013 /Christian Newswire/ -- The leadership of Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME), the original faith based marriage enrichment program, announced today the passing of Fr. Chuck Gallagher, S.J. (photo), the priest recognized as the driving force in creating the WWME movement.
"It is with profound sadness that we announce Fr. Chuck's passing. And, yet we know he is with the Lord at this very moment," said Tony and Cathy Witczak and Fr. Emile Frische, MHM, the WWME International Leadership Team. "Over the years we have spent time with Fr. Chuck and learned how his vision for the movement was able to become reality," they added.
Fr. Gallagher attended a Marriage Encounter weekend in 1968 and the dream of expanding the movement worldwide began as a result of his experience. By 1969 he and two other priests and couples had presented 22 weekends in the New York area. In the early 1970s the movement began to expand across the United States and into Canada. By the mid-1970s couples and priests were moving as far away as Australia to offer the WWME weekends.
The original Marriage Encounter weekend was developed by Fr. Gabriel Calvo in 1952 while he was serving as parish priest Spain. Over the next 20 years the weekend developed to a point where Fr. Gallagher took the basic premises and helped to create the Worldwide Marriage Encounter movement.
"Fr. Chuck is truly the father of the Worldwide Marriage Encounter movement. His vision, drive and determination have allowed millions of couples to experience this special marriage enrichment weekend," said Scott & Karen Seaborn and Fr. Tom Ogg, the WWME North American Leadership Team.
Fr. Gallagher was 85 when he passed away Sunday, July 21st, in New Jersey after a short illness. Funeral arrangements are pending.
"The impact of the vision Fr. Chuck had back in the late 1960s really resonated with couples across the United States. As a result of many of his efforts there are weekends that have and are being held in every state. When one thinks of WWME they also remember the gifts of inspiration and joy that Fr. Chuck gave to the movement," said Ron & Judy Pekny and Fr. Rocky Grimard, OMI, the WWME United States Leadership Team. They added, "Fr. Chuck gave so much of his life to ministering to couples, inspiring our WWME movement from its inception, and building up the Body of Christ."
Fr. Gallagher was recognized for all his efforts at the 2010 WWME North American convention, which was held in Atlantic City, NJ. He gave a short presentation and then met with couples individually as they thanked him for his devotion and dedication to the WWME movement.
"There are still couples in Canada who recall when the WWME movement first came to our country in 1970. What a gift that has been shared with so many Canadian couples. Without his fire and zeal we don't know if WWME would exist as it does today, "said Jamie and Connie McNeill and Fr. John Juhl, the WWME Canadian Leadership Team.
As a result of Fr. Gallagher's initial drive, along with leadership from numerous couples, there are now six secretariats across the world. Weekends are now presented in almost 100 countries and are held virtually almost every weekend of the year.
In addition to Fr. Gallagher's involvement with WWME he also was a prolific author and created other programs that help both individuals and couples on their life journeys.
Worldwide Marriage Encounter has been offering weekend experiences for over 45 years and is considered the original faith-based marriage enrichment program. The programs are continually updated to keep abreast of changes in society, and WWME now offers evening and half-day programs that are presented at parishes and other church facilities. The weekend program, traditionally presented as an overnight experience at a hotel or retreat center, can also be presented at the parish where the couples return to their homes in the evenings. WWME has a presence in almost 100 countries, which makes it the largest pro-marriage movement in the world. In North America, the WWME programs are presented in English, Spanish, French, and Korean languages.
Worldwide Marriage Encounter offers married couples the opportunity to spend time together away from the busyness of the world to focus on each other. It offers tools for building and maintaining a strong, Christian marriage in today's world. To learn more about the Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekends online, go to wwme.org, or you can call 1-800-795-LOVE (English) and 1-800-599-AMOR (Spanish), or 418-878-0081 (French) or contact the WWME Office at (909) 863-9963. *
Fr. Charles (Chuck) Gallagher S.J.
Entered the Society of Jesus July 30, 1945
Ordained to the priesthood June 21, 1958
Fr. Chuck Gallagher has been a compelling and prophetic voice in the Catholic Church for the Sacrament of Matrimony and the joy of the incarnation for over five decades. He was the originator and driving force behind the Worldwide Marriage Encounter movement that became a force of renewal in the church during the 1960’s and 1970’s changing the lives of millions of couples and priests while spreading to all 50 states and around the world to 56 foreign countries. A man of vision and relentless passion, Fr. Chuck shared his knowledge and experience of the gifts of the Catholic Church to inspire couples to live the Sacrament of Matrimony to it’s fullest potential. His work has had a lasting impact on our understanding of what matrimony is intended to reveal to the world as well as a legacy of significant leadership training and empowerment of the laity.
Fr. Gallagher was also the originator and author of Engaged encounter, the Parish Renewal Experience (PREX or Called to be Catholic), and the Parishioner Empowerment weekend. He personally trained over 6,000 priests and 45 Bishops in the United States and more than 1,000 priests in other countries to give the parish renewal weekend in their parishes. Applying everything he had learned from the witness of loving couples to the experience of being the Body of Christ. Father Chuck created a parish based retreat that released a joyful sense of belonging and identity as Catholics. The Parish Renewal Experience became a major evangelization movement in the United States reaching over I million parishioners but also reached Ireland, England, Australia. PREX continues to spread rapidly to this day in the Philippines.
In addition, Fr. Gallagher was the founder and executive director of the Marriage Encounter Resource community which later became the Pastoral and Matrimonial Renewal Center, a global network of specially trained couples and priests who helped Fr. Chuck to produce dozens of powerful, parish based programs and retreat workshops (a detailed list is attached) including Evenings for the Engaged, Barnabas for singles, Celebrate Love, Living in Love, and Preparing to Live in Love. To help couples experience the presence of God in their intrinsically sexual conjugal love as a revelation and manifestation of Christ’s love for the church, he has authored 10 major books and over 50 booklets. As early as 1975, he began to explore with couples the concept of the language of the body that was later so clearly articulated by Pope John Paul II in what is now known as the Theology of the Body. Fr. Chuck’s seminal book “One Flesh” published in 1980 holds up the Sacrament of Matrimony as the living sign that reveals the church to itself. A brilliant Jesuit who is at once keenly insightful and disarmingly relevant, Fr. Chuck is an extraordinary public speaker whose warmth and humor have captivated, thrilled, and roused audiences of tens of thousands, yet he is most at home in living rooms with the everyday Catholic families to whom he has given his life and to whom his only desire is to bring the Father’s joy.
Programs and Publications
Fr Charles (Chuck) Gallagher, S.J.
Major Books authored or co-authored:
- One Flesh
- The Celibacy Myth
- Sex is Holy
- Embodied in Love
- Sexual Healing in Marriage
- Good News for Married Lovers
- The Marriage Encounter
- Love is a Couple
- Love takes Greatness
- Prayer, Saints, Scripture and Ourselves
Major Conversion/Empowerment Retreat Workshops (chronological order):
- Boys Youth Retreat
- Marriage Encounter
- Engaged Encounter
- Parish Renewal Experience ( Called to be catholic or PREX)
- Priest Training 4 day Retreat
- Parishioner Empowerment Weekend
- Parish Healing weekend
- Barnabas Retreat
- Celebrate love/Living in Love
Parish Based Programs;
- Evenings for the Engaged
- Evenings for Couples
- Evenings for Parents, and More Evening for Parents
- Matrimony, Jesus Invites us to Love (for teens)
- We the Parish
- Barnabas (for singles
- Luke 18 ( for Junior High)
- Parish Family weekend
- Calling Disciples
- Evenings of joy and inspiration for parish leaders
- Celebrate Love Series (24 booklets)
- Mission and Ministry series (3 booklets)
- Touching the body of Christ
- Being the Body of Christ
- Prayer Movement :The Vision and the Dream