Encounters of Married Couples
ALSO KNOWN AS
The movement was born in Poland in 1978, on the initiative of Irena and Jerzy Grzybowscy. In 1977, Stanislaw Boguszewski, a Pole living in Canada, introduced the Irena and Jerzy to the reality of another movement, World Marriage Encounters, and collaborated in the organisation of an experimental meeting in Laski, near Warsaw. The first community of the movement was formed at the second meeting in Pewel in January 1978. On this occasion, the founders gave life to a new programme of apostolate, providing the coordinates for the spiritual formation of Encounters of Married Couples: they defined the form of the so-called "basic retreats", specifying also the theological and psychological principles of the movement. The following years saw the spread of the Polish experience to other countries. On August 15, 2004, the Pontifical Council for the Laity decreed the recognition of the Encounters of Married Couples as an international association of the faithful.
The special charism of the association is the gift of dialogue as a way of encountering God, first and foremost between husband and wife, but also between couples preparing for marriage and, more generally, between all people. This encounter is inspired by the 'principles of dialogue', the foundation of the association's spirituality, focusing on the priority of listening over speaking, of sharing over discussion, of understanding over judgement and, above all, on the importance of forgiveness. Dialogue, understood in this way, is considered by the members of the association as a privileged spiritual modality on the path to holiness. This dialogue supports one throughout one’s whole life, which is lived accordance with the Christian commandment to love God and neighbour (Mt 22, 37-40), responding to Jesus' call: "Abide in my love" (Jn 15, 9). A good part of the work of Encounters of Married Couples can be summed up in the service of the "poor, crippled, lame, blind" (Lk 14,13), meaning by this the poor in love, the crippled by virtue of wounded and lacerating relationships, those made lame by the difficulties involved in following a path of love, the blind unable to see the good that each one bears within himself. The methodologies adopted in the association’s activities, based on the testimonies of daily life, refer both to psychological sciences and to the Magisterium of the Church.
The association is structured in diocesan centres, which are managed by a board of directors. All the diocesan centres in a country make up the national centre, which is led by a national governing council. The national centres are coordinated at the top by a governing board. Meetings between the animators and those in charge of the association take place on a regular basis.
Only married couples of animators (who coordinate and lead the retreats), priests, consecrated persons and permanent deacons can join the association as members.
The association's main mission is to offer its basic activities to as many participants as possible. Meetings, in the form of retreats, are the basic activity that the association offers to married couples. In addition, the association organises preparation courses for the sacrament of marriage, meetings for couples and retreats for engaged couples; there are also retreats for divorced people in a new union and specific courses for priests, consecrated persons and seminarians. More intensive training is offered to couples who wish to proceed in this direction after the basic retreats, through participation in training groups. The preparation of animators is also ensured through workshops and retreats.
Encounters of Married Couples has inspired the birth of associations with the same spirit in other Christian denominations, with which dialogue and cooperation have been consolidated.
Bulletin - newsletter for animators.
Lettera from the Hearth - newsletter for new participants.
Formation Materials for Animators – published in Polish and Russian.
The Book of Testimonies (periodically updated) - published in English, Polish and Russian.
Encounters of Married Couples - Spotkania Małżeńskie
ul. Meander 23 m. 22, 02-791 Warsaw - Poland
Tel. +48 791 317 100
E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org