Father Charles A. Gallagher, S.J., considered a driving force in creating Worldwide Marriage Encounter, died July 21. He was 85.
Born in New York City, he graduated from Regis High School in 1945 then entered the Jesuit novitiate at St. Andrew-on-Hudson in Poughkeepsie. He was ordained in 1958 in the chapel of Fordham University.
In his earlier years as a Jesuit, he taught at Xavier High School in Manhattan and Canisius High School in Buffalo.
Father 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 Canada. By the mid-1970s, couples and priests were going as far away as Australia to offer the weekends.
The original Marriage Encounter weekend was developed by Father Gabriel Calvo in 1952 while he was serving as parish priest in Spain.
The aim of a weekend is to offer married couples the opportunity to spend time together away from the busyness of the world. It provides tools “for building and maintaining a strong, Christian marriage in today’s world.”
Father Gallagher authored 10 books and more than 50 booklets to help couples experience the presence of God in their marriages. He was also the originator and author of Engaged Encounter.
A Funeral Mass was to be offered Thursday, July 25 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Aedan’s, the St. Peter’s University Church in Jersey City, N.J. Burial was scheduled for Friday, July 26, in the Jesuit cemetery in Auriesville. —CNS