Vincent and Mary Callahan were high school sweethearts, but high school seemed a distant memory when they had three kids and Vincent was entering his second decade in the US Navy. By the mid 1990s, their marriage was struggling, and neither one of them knew what to do.
Today, the two lead an annual marriage retreat through the Foundation Camp program called the Character of Relationship Retreat (CORR). Vincent and Mary first organized the retreat in 2012 after seeing a need for couples ministry in the San Antonio area.
At that time, the first thing Vincent did was change his job. He didn’t leave the military, but he did shift to chaplain work for his last seven years of service.
As a licensed and ordained minister, Vincent first began to reflect on God’s will for his marriage. “The marriage relationship was designed and ordained by God,” he said, “and he alone is the solid foundation upon which any successful relationship must rest.”
This past October marked the Callaghan’s sixth CORR in the Canyon. More than 80 people from all over Texas and Louisiana settled into Singing Hills for a rich weekend learning about the character of God and the character of their own relationships. The location continues to be an important part of the retreat, Vincent and Mary said. “My wife and I and the CORR staff are truly humbled,” Vincent said, “to invite people to such a beautiful, spiritually impacting place.”
Just as Vincent and Mary receive the use of Foundation Camps for free, they pass that gift along to their guests, offering the retreat for free to married couples and couples considering marriage. This year, Vincent was especially excited to be hosting 23 individuals at the event.
The couple’s own relationship no doubt becomes a model for guests at the retreat as they lead the event together. Vincent handles the teaching, guiding couples through open discussion, prayer, and individual counseling. Mary organizes hospitality and logistics, setting the atmosphere for the retreat, handling decorations, meals, and worship.
The highlight of this year’s retreat had little to do with the programming. One unmarried couple’s time in the Canyon led to a marriage proposal. “The first CORR marriage proposal,” Vincent said.
Three decades after their own marriage difficulties, Vincent and Mary are working to inspire a new generation of healthy marriages.
“We thank God for Howard Butt, Sr.,” Vincent said, “along with his wife Mary Holdsworth Butt and the generations of the Butt family for the vision that allows CORR and others to come and encounter God in this amazing place.”
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