Diocese prepares for encounter weekend for married couples, May 4

By Bishop Michael Pfeifer, OMI

   I am convinced that strong family life, which also includes strong marriages, is a foundation to a strong church.
   A good marriage is a blessing to the church.  Every forgiving marriage tells us of God’s mercy.  Every lasting marriage tells us of God’s fidelity.  Every enduring marriage tells us of God’s patience.  Married couples can come to know God by the way they live out their marriages.
   It has been said that marriages are made in heaven, but we are responsible for the maintenance work.  The Marriage Encounter movement is dedicated to keeping marriages alive and exciting.
   I am pleased that Worldwide Marriage Encounter is returning to the San Angelo diocese.  Pope John Paul II has said that Marriage Encounter inspires married couples with a true vision of their vocation to marriage and family life.
   Worldwide Marriage Encounter offers a weekend experience designed to give married couples the opportunity to learn a technique of loving communication that they can use for the rest of their lives.  It’s a chance to look deeply into their relationship with each other and with God.  It’s a time to share their feelings, hopes and dreams with each other.   What is Marriage Encounter?  It is the most successful and dynamic marriage enrichment experience in the world today.  Since its beginning in 1968, more than 1 million couples in almost 100 countries have experienced a Marriage Encounter Weekend.  The Weekend is designed to give married couples the opportunity to examine their lives together – a time to share their feelings their hopes, disappointments, joys and frustrations and to do so openly and honestly with each other.  The emphasis of the Weekend is on the communication between husbands and wives.  It provides a conducive environment for couples to spend time together, away from the distractions and tensions of everyday life, while encouraging them to focus on each other and their relationship for an entire weekend.  Every marriage deserves that kind of attention!
   Who is it for?  A marriage can never be too good.  Marriage Encounter is designed to deepen and enrich the joys a couple share together, whether they have been married for only a short time, or for many years.  Contrary to popular perception, Marriage Encounter is not designed for marriages in trouble, but rather for marriages seeking to grow further and deeper.
   What happens at a Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend?  A series of presentations is given by a team of Catholic couples and a Catholic Priest.  Each presentation allows you and your spouse a rare opportunity to privately look at yourselves as individuals, then to look at your marriage and relationship to one another, and finally to look at your relationship to God and to the world.  The weekend starts at 8:00 on Friday night and ends with a Mass on Sunday around 5:00.  Meals are provided.
  I would like to thus invite you to give yourselves the special gift of our scheduled Marriage Encounter weekend to be held from May 4-6th at Christ the King Retreat Center in San Angelo.  For more information, please contact Valentin and Maria Gomez at 325-835-7044 or vgomez@wcc.net.

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