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A Brief History



The story of Marriage Encounter began in 1952 when a young priest in Spain, Father Gabriel Calvo, began developing a series of conferences for married couples, whose focus was on the development of an open and honest relationship within marriage and learning to live out a sacramental relationship in the service of others. Each presentation ended with a question designed to encourage the couple to look at the concepts presented in terms of their own relationship. For approximately 10 years the "marriage teams of Pope Pious XII," as the presentations were called, traveled throughout Spain with this series of conferences for married couples.

The first weekends

In 1962, Father Calvo presented the conferences as a weekend retreat to couples on Barcelona. The experience was very successful and rapidly spread throughout Spain.

The movement spreads

In 1966, Father Calvo and a couple addressed the International Confederation of Christian Family Movements in Caracas. The Weekend spread to Latin America and to Spanish speaking couples in the United States.

Coming to America

In 1967 a couple and priest presented the Weekend to seven couples and a few priests at the Christian Family Movement convention at Notre Dame University. By the summer of 1968, 50 couples and 29 priests were presenting Weekends in the United States.

Formation in North America

By January of 1969, a national executive board was formed to coordinate the development of the movement in the United States and Canada. In New York state, under the leadership of Father Chuck Gallagher and a couple, the movement was growing rapidly. Philosophical differences with the national leadership began to appear. In New York, stress was placed on the follow-up to the Weekend, as well as on the Weekend itself. There was strong emphasis on the development of a Marriage Encounter "community" to provide support for living the values learned through the Weekend, especially for dialogue. In addition, the renewal of the Sacrament of matrimony was a strong focus, as a means for renewing the Catholic church. Thus developed Worldwide Marriage Encounter. As a result, Worldwide and National Marriage Encounter both exist today as two different expressions of the original Weekend developed by Father Gabriel Calvo.

Expansion and beyond

In the fall of 1971, the decision was made to spread the Worldwide Marriage Encounter experience throughout the United States and to other parts of the world. Teams traveled first to Grand Forks, North Dakota with the assurance of financial support, personnel and training from the New York family, until the new unit could support itself. The only condition was that once self support was realized, the same assistance would be given to other areas. The Weekend reached the west coast in December at Santa Barbara.

At about the same time, Worldwide Marriage Encounter began its international expansion with team couples being sent to Belgium and England. The expansion continues today and as of 2006, the Weekend is now offered in numerous languages and dialects in 87 countries.

And the rest, as they say, is history!


WWME is faithful to the Roman Catholic Church's teaching that marriage is a covenant that exists between one man and one woman. Any reference to marriage or couple made by WWME is in this context.


The mission of Worldwide Marriage Encounter is to proclaim the value of Marriage and Holy Orders in the Church and in the world.



Questions? Need more info?

Apply by phone: 563-920-9419  
WWME® Info: 563-608-3305  

Mon-Fri: 9:00am-9:00pm  
Sat: 9:00am-9:00pm  
Sun: 9:00am-9:00pm  
or by email  

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Weekend Status
Feb 4-Mar 18, 2021 [ VIRTUAL 3RE IL, IL ] Open
Apr 9-11, 2021 [ TBD, IL ] Open
Jun 5-6, 2021 [ CREST HILL, IL ] Open
Aug 13-15, 2021 [ TBD, IL ] Open
Oct 23-24, 2021 [ MUNDELEIN, IL ] Open
Dec 10-12, 2021 [ TBD, IL ] Open
Weekend Status
Dec 4-6, 2020 [ Virtual Weekend, MO ] Open
Feb 5-7, 2021 [ St. Peters, MO ] Open
Apr 23-25, 2021 [ St. Peters, MO ] Open
Aug 6-8, 2021 [ St. Peters, MO ] Open
Sep 24-26, 2021 [ St. Peters, MO ] Open
Dec 3-5, 2021 [ St. Peters, MO ] Open
Weekend Status
Nov 13-15, 2020 [ KANSAS CITY, MO ] Open
Feb 26-28, 2021 [ KANSAS CITY, KS ] Open
Apr 30-May 2, 2021 [ KANSAS CITY, KS ] Open
Jul 16-18, 2021 [ KANSAS CITY, KS ] Open
Sep 17-19, 2021 [ KANSAS CITY, KS ] Open
Nov 12-14, 2021 [ KANSAS CITY, KS ] Open
Weekend Status
Nov 6-8, 2020 [ Coralville, IA ] Open
Nov 20-22, 2020 [ Battle Creek, IA ] Open
Apr 24-25, 2021 [ EPWORTH, IA ] Open
May 28-30, 2021 [ Dubuque, IA ] Open
Oct 22-24, 2021 [ CORALVILLE, IA ] Open
Nov 19-21, 2021 [ Battle Creek, IA ] Open
Weekend Status
Nov 13-15, 2020 [ VIRTUAL Weekend, WI ] Open
Dec 4-6, 2020 [ VIRTUAL Weekend, WI ] Open
Jan 12-Feb 2, 2021 [ VIRTUAL WEEKEND, WI ] Open
Feb 12-14, 2021 [ Brookfield, WI ] Open
Feb 17-Mar 28, 2021 [ VIRTUAL WEEKEND, WI ] Open


-John 13:34-35

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.