2018 Worldwide Marriage Encounter 50th Anniversary North American Convention  June 22-24 Lombard, IL

Ed & Harriet Garzero

July 29, 2017

Editors Note: This first 50 From Our 50 story truly kicks off this special weekly project of highlighting couples and priests who have either impacted WWME or have been impacted by the Worldwide Marriage Encounter experience- as the 50th Anniversary WWME convention starts one year from now in June 2018 in Lombard, IL. Ed & Harriet Garzero, who were married 60 years, were asked 49 years ago if theyEd & Harriet Garzero would be interested in attending a Marriage Encounter weekend at a retreat house in Elberon, NJ,  that was being sponsored by the Christian Family Life movement.  They were also asked to see if they could bring a priest with them for the weekend.  Living in Port Washington, New York they approached their parish priest.  His name was Fr. Gerard Murphy.  Fr. Murphy agreed.  However, one week before the weekend he had a heart attack. The Garzeros began thinking of any other priest they could invite.  They knew of a young priest from an adjacent town, so they called him.  He agreed to rearrange his schedule to attend.  His name was Fr. Chuck Gallagher, SJ. Ed & Harriet and Fr. Chuck went on the weekend, and it was a life changing experience for all of them.   Harriet also shared that they received a call from Fr. Chuck on the Monday after the weekend, and he told them that he was so overwhelmed with the experience that when he was driving home on Sunday night, he pulled off the road and celebrated Mass by himself in his car.  He was so touched by the Holy Spirit. Harriet and Ed realized after the weekend “our eyes were opened to us as a couple, as a family and then as part of a larger family, the church.”  Fr. Chuck asked them if they would help him spread the message of Marriage Encounter.  “We also realized that there was real work involved with time spent in living the day to day of our marriage vows.” They also saw that “our marriage bore the marks of the church – one, holy, catholic and apostolic.”  At Christmas time that same year they were in Rome and they spoke to church officials about Marriage Encounter “Since our children were with us, we knew that we weren’t going to be the ones to bring Marriage Encounter to Rome and that others would.  And, they did.” Ed passed away earlier this year.  Harriet believes that “Marriage Encounter, if taken seriously, is a life changer and a gift that keeps giving.” Three words that sum up her thoughts about their experience with Marriage Encounter are “generous, committed and gifted.” The Garzeros are the first 50 From Our 50 WWME couples and priests.  Make sure to check out next week’s post about another inspiring story.    

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