List of all ECHO teams
ECHO, "Encountering Christ in Others" is a retreat program
designed for high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors which
invites young people to learn about Christian living and God's love
The ECHO program was founded in 1968 at the request of Bishop James
L. Connolly, former Bishop of Fall River by the late Fr. Thomas
Mayhew. The "Encountering Christ in Others" acronym was
suggested by Msgr. John J. Oliveira based on a quote from Benedictine
spiritual writer Dom Marmion: "Joy is the echo of God's life
Originally designed for seniors at what was then Coyle High
School in Taunton, ECHO later developed in the Fall River-Attleboro
area and was introduced to the Cape in 1970 by Father
Francis B. Connors and Father Edward E. Correia. The first
Cape weekend was held at the St. Francis Parish Center in
Hyannis and was a boy's weekend. The first weekend for girls
was held at the Craigville Conference Center and that became
ECHO's home base for many years. The closings were held at
Our Lady of Victory Church. ECHO 59 in October 1975 was
the last ECHO at Craigville as the program moved to the LaSalette
property in Brewster for ECHO 60 with John Malloy as the rector.
For several years, ECHO weekends were held at the LaSalette property
in Brewster. When it was sold, ECHO moved to the Briarwood
Conference Center in Monument Beach. The closings were held
at St. John's Church in Pocasset. Most recently ECHO has returned
to its original home at the Craigville Conference Center in Barnstable.
In the spring of 1973 ECHO was introduced to the Dover, New
Hampshire area. With Mary Fuller as rectora, and Fr.
Jack Andrews, affectionately known as "Father ECHO"
for his devotion to the program, as spiritual advisor, ECHO
1 was held at the Franciscan Friary. Diane Black, Karen Corey,
and Martha Acton served on team.
Several changes have taken place in the ECHO weekend over the
years. When ECHO first began there was a dating talk following
the marriage talk on the girls ECHO. The last dating talk was given
by Tim Acton on ECHO 41.
On some weekends, there was also a vocations talk following the marriage talk. All three talks came under the title Universal
Call To Holiness. ECHO 62 in February 1976 was the first time
two assistants were used on a weekend.
A celebration of twenty years of ECHO was held on May 3,
1990 at St. John's in Pocasset with hundreds of former candidates,
priests, and team members in attendance. The Anchor reported
"Balloons, music, and rainbow colors set the festive
tone for the evening, but one gets the impression that their
absence would have done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm.
The spirit of celebration radiated from within."
The main celebrant was Fr. Thomas Frechette, the first ECHO
alumnus who later became a diocesan priest. In his homily,
Fr. Tom reflected, "No one person would place him - or herself at the core
of the ECHO program - it is Christ who is at the center. We
take our many gifts and talents and weave them into a beautiful
whole." He concluded, "the most profound thing ECHO
has given me is the understanding that Jesus works through
weakness, loss, suffering - it is the weakness we all share
that allows God to accomplish things through us."
Tim Acton, who was on the first Cape ECHO retreat, ECHO 6,
spoke, "What a gift to be given as a young adult facing
many difficult decisions resulting from peer pressure and
all the choices of young adulthood. I have met
many people along the way, especially older people struggling
with the age old question 'What is the meaning of life? -
the purpose of living, the pot at the end of the rainbow?'
I believe that ECHO provides us with the answer to that question
- to find Jesus, and then to develop and nurture a close
relationship with him. I believe that is the greatest gift
ECHO has to offer us."
Suzanne Duffy a teenager shared that she draws "strength,
hope and love" from the ECHO community. This sentiment
was shared by many through the wonderful evening of celebration.
On May 3, l995, a twenty-fifth celebration was held at Our
Lady of Victory Church in Centerville. Bishop Sean O'Malley
O.F.M. who was unable to attend the celebration, but sent a letter
of congratulations. Fr. Richard Roy was the homilist for this
occasion and Sharon Acton, ECHO 20, and John Wheir ECHO 179
were the witness speakers.
A highlight of both anniversaries was a display of the names
and addresses list from every weekend from the very first
Cape Cod ECHO.
On March 7, 2015, ECHO celebrated forty-five years with a special celebration. Bishop Edgar daCunha celebrated mass at Christ the King in Mashpee. He became the first Bishop to ever celebrate an ECHO mass. 17 priests and deacons joined Bishop daCunha to con-celebrate mass. Joe Tierney, ECHO 120, and Lucy Cahill, ECHO 291, were the witness speakers.
ECHO has now been offering retreats to high school youth for 50 years. In that time, over 12,000 teens have participated in an ECHO weekend and over 100 clergy in the diocese have been part of the program. Many former candidates are involved in parishes as religious education teachers, youth ministers, parish
council members, and serve as lectors, Eucharistic ministers, and
parish office secretaries. They have accepted the challenge on the
back of the their ECHO cross, "Christ is Counting on YOU!"