Historical Background

In the early 1970’s, Rev. Fr. CHARLES “Chuck” GALLAGHER, S.J., convened a group of priests and lay people for a reflection on Pope Paul VI’s “(Evangelii Nuntiandi)” As the discussion progressed, it became clear to all present that, for evangelization to become a reality, it required a “people focus”. It should begin with a conversion experience that is oriented to the parish, the basic structure of the Catholic Church, and that it must start with the family, the basic unit of society. With this in mind, the group developed some general directions and guidelines for a program to be conducted over the period of a weekend during which the participants could commute from their respective homes. Since that meeting, Fr. Gallagher piloted the Parish Renewal Experience (PREX) in the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey. Since then, it has spread to more than a thousand parishes in the USA and Ireland. Around 1,200 priests in the USA and 600 in Ireland have trained in order that they could give the Weekend Experience to people in their own parishes. It has since been introduced into Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Fiji and the Philippines.