Father Chuck Gallagher, Founder

Fr. Charles A. Gallagher S.J.
Entered the Society of Jesus July 30, 1945
Ordained to the priesthood June 21, 1958
Entered eternal life July 21, 2013

Fr. Chuck Gallagher was a compelling and prophetic voice in the Catholic Church for the Sacrament of Matrimony and the joy of the incarnation for over five decades.  He was the originator and driving force behind the Worldwide Marriage Encounter movement that became a force of renewal in the church during the 1960’s and 1970’s changing the lives of millions of couples and priests while spreading to all 50 states and around the world to 56 foreign countries.  A man of vision and relentless passion, Fr. Chuck shared his knowledge and experience of the gifts of the Catholic Church to inspire couples to live the Sacrament of Matrimony to it’s fullest potential.  His work has had a lasting impact on our understanding of what matrimony is intended to reveal to the world as well as a legacy of significant leadership training and empowerment of the laity.

Fr. Gallagher was also the originator and author of Engaged encounter, the Parish Renewal Experience (PREX or Called to be Catholic), and the Parishioner Empowerment weekend.  He personally trained over 6,000 priests and 45 Bishops in the United States and more than 1,000 priests in other countries to give the parish renewal weekend in their parishes.  Applying everything he had learned from the witness of loving couples to the experience of being the Body of Christ.  Father Chuck created a parish based retreat that released a joyful sense of belonging and identity as Catholics.  The Parish Renewal Experience became a major evangelization movement in the United States reaching over I million parishioners but also reached Ireland, England, Australia.  PREX continues to spread rapidly to this day in the Philippines.

In addition, Fr. Gallagher was the founder and executive director of the Marriage Encounter Resource community which later became the Pastoral and Matrimonial Renewal Center, a global network of specially trained couples and priests who helped Fr. Chuck to produce dozens of powerful, parish based programs and retreat workshops (a detailed list is attached) including Evenings for the Engaged, Barnabas for singles, Celebrate Love, Living in Love, and Preparing to Live in Love.  To help couples experience the presence of God in their intrinsically sexual conjugal love as a revelation and manifestation of Christ’s love for the church, he has authored 10 major books and over 50 booklets.  As early as 1975, he began to explore with couples the concept of the language of the body that was later so clearly articulated by Pope John Paul II in what is now known as the Theology of the Body.  

Fr. Chuck’s seminal book “One Flesh” published in 1980 holds up the Sacrament of Matrimony as the living sign that reveals the church to itself.  A brilliant Jesuit at once keenly insightful and disarmingly relevant, Fr. Chuck was an extraordinary public speaker whose warmth and humor captivated, thrilled, and roused audiences of tens of thousands, yet he was most at home in living rooms with the everyday Catholic families to whom he gave his life and to whom his only desire was to bring the Father’s joy.


View a tribute to Fr Chuck celebrating his 50th Anniversary of Ordination and chronicling his contributions to the Church and the gift of his Priesthood.

Programs and Publications

Fr Charles (Chuck) Gallagher, S.J.

Major Books authored or co-authored:

  1. One Flesh
  2. The Celibacy Myth
  3. Sex is Holy
  4. Embodied in Love
  5. Sexual Healing in Marriage
  6. Good News for Married Lovers
  7. The Marriage Encounter
  8. Love is a Couple
  9. Love takes Greatness
  10. Prayer, Saints, Scripture and Ourselves

Major Conversion/Empowerment Retreat Workshops (chronological order):

  1. Boys Youth Retreat
  2. Marriage Encounter
  3. Engaged Encounter
  4. Parish Renewal Experience ( Called to be catholic or PREX)
  5. Priest Training 4 day Retreat
  6. Parishioner Empowerment Weekend
  7. Parish Healing weekend
  8. Barnabas Retreat
  9. Living in Love/Celebrate Love

Parish Based Programs;

  1. Evenings for the Engaged
  2. Evenings for Couples
  3. Evenings for Parents, and More Evening for Parents
  4. Matrimony, Jesus Invites us to Love (for teens)
  5. We the Parish
  6. Barnabas  (for singles
  7. Luke 18 ( for Junior High)
  8. Parish Family weekend
  9. Calling Disciples
  10. Evenings of joy and inspiration for parish leaders


  1. Celebrate Love Series (24 booklets)
  2. Mission and Ministry series (3 booklets)
  3. Touching the Body of Christ
  4. Being the Body of Christ
  5. Prayer Movement :The Vision and the Dream