Encounters of Married Couples
ALSO KNOWN AS
Dialogues was established in Poland by a married couple Irena and Jerzy Grzybowscy together with Stanisław Boguszewski, a Polish national living in Canada through whom they learned about Worldwide Marriage Encounter (see page 297). He collaborated with them in organising the meeting which was held, as an experimental measure, at Laski (Warsaw) in 1977. The first community of the movement was set up at the second meeting at Pewel near Żywiec in January 1978. In the years that followed the experience spread, adapting to local conditions, to various other Central and Eastern European countries. In 1996 the Delegate of the Polish Bishops’ Conference for Catholic movements, Monsignor Mieczyław Cisło, approved the first statutes of the movement. On 15 August 2004 the Pontifical Council for the Laity decreed recognition of Encounters of Married Couples to be an international association of the faithful of Pontifical Right.
Dialogues set out to revive the unity of the couple and their relationship with God on the one hand, showing that the grace of the sacrament of marriage does not finish with its celebration but accompanies the couple throughout the whole of their lives, and on the other hand working to build up the family at all times as the domestic Church. The work of the movement takes the form of "grassroots retreats", lasting three days, led by three married couples and a priest. In the course of the retreats the couples are encouraged to adopt a fresh approach to dialogue with each other, based on the teaching of the Church which emphasises the dimension of the family as a community of persons animated by mutual love. Attending retreats, which are open to married couples of all ages, whether or not they are involved in the life of the Church, often heals critical situations and helps many to undertake or to resume the path of faith. The movement not only organises retreats for married couples but also for divorcees, couples waiting to adopt babies, and engaged couples. Special programmes are also drawn up for priests, consecrated people and seminarians. The training of leader couples, who have a specific vocation to work in this field together with priests and experts in the psychology of interpersonal communication, is based on the study of the Magisterium of the Church regarding marriage and the family.
The movement is structured into Diocesan Centres, comprising at least three couples of married animators and a priest, each led by a Council. All the diocesan Centres of a given country constitute the National Centre, run by a National Council. The leader couples in all the countries meet every two years to pray together, update and exchange their experiences. At the international level, Dialogues is managed by an International Council, as the symbol of the movement’s unity. Its members are elected at the international meetings of community leaders held every two years. The composition of the Councils, made up of 6/8 people including the President, the Vice-President and Treasurer, is identical at all levels.
The movement is present in seven countries in Eastern and Central Europe.
Encounters of Married Couples
c/o Irena & Jerzy Grzybowscy
Ul. Meander 23 m. 22 - 02-791 Warsaw - Poland
Tel. [+48] 22.6496614