Mother’s Day Celebration Supports Spousal Retreat

Mother’s Day is always a great time to let our family matriarchs know how much we appreciate their guidance, wisdom, support and love. And, for the Mary, Mother of the Redeemer parish in Calgary, it’s also a great time to fundraise for the annual Spousal Retreat held by their Movimiento de Encuentros Conyugales (Marriage Encounters Movement) (MEC) program.

MEC is a Spanish language program devoted to “guiding marriages in becoming the core of the family unit.” They “promote, disseminate and preserve the doctrine and Catholic principles” by “feeding our faith and strengthening our commitment as spouses and parents through the various activities that MEC develops.” Spousal Training Retreats and Growth Groups help the parish movement achieve their goals.

The Marriage Encounter Movement is a worldwide phenomenon that began in Spain in 1952. Father Gabriel Calvo developed a series of conferences that focused on developing “an open and honest relationship within marriage and learning to live out a sacramental relationship in the service of others.”

After 10 years of traveling through Spain, Calvo offered the conference as a weekend retreat and the sessions began to spread around the Spanish speaking world. In January 1969 an executive board was formed to manage expansion into the United States and Canada.

About 275 people enjoyed the parish party, which featured a buffet, plenty of family fun time, a live band and dancing to Latin music. The event helped to raise around $6,000 for their seventeenth retreat, where they expect to see 25 to 28 couples participate.

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Event organizer Carlos Serrato says that since the party is always held at the parish and they have limited capacity, they advertise only in the church and through an email group for MEC. Serrato adds that “sharing a celebration like Mother’s Day with family and friends is the most memorable moment, and seeing the smiles of everyone attending is priceless.”

Serrato notes that “organizing this event has always been rewarding, and we learn every year to do things better. Planning with enough time in advance, and considering all the factors involved is crucial during development. When it’s show time, deal with the issues that come up in a relaxed manner and try not getting stuck on small things that only the organizers will notice. Remember, the show must go on.”

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