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Who We Are >> Founders

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Biographical Sketch of Jerry & Gwen Coniker

Founders of the Apostolate for Family Consecration

An international association of Christ's Faithful

Jerome F. and Gwen C. Coniker were both born (1938 and 1939, respectively) and raised in Chicago. Jerome was educated at de Paul University and while growing up, he worked at the law firm of Sidley and Austin. They were high school sweethearts and were married on August 15, 1959. Forty-two years and 13 children later, they are as much in love as the day they were married. They have 58 grandchildren and counting.

In 1961, when he was twenty-three years old, Jerry founded Coniker Systems, a systems and manufacturing company. His business career included invention of several communications and time management and sales control systems, methods, and products, including the "Taskmaster" and "Controlmaster." He has successfully installed his programs in leading Fortune 500 firms throughout the United States and Canada, such as Baxter Laboratories, Walgreen's, Kraft Foods, IBM, Bell Systems, Culligan, Wilson Sporting Goods, etc.

Beginning in the 1960's, the Conikers became increasingly concerned with the erosion of the Christian values all around them. As parents, they saw the negative peer pressure that threatened to weaken the faith and morality of their children. They were particularly concerned about abortion, sex education in the schools, and the threat to the moral fiber of our country.

Click to View Enlarged ImageThey invested eleven years in an effort to wake up people to this incredible, insidious movement that was threatening family life. The Conikers observed that their neighbors were becoming more and more isolated from God and from each other. Consequently, they felt a call to grow closer to God and to seek His wisdom for keeping their family together.

On April 28, 1971, they gave their life to Jesus through Mary through the 33-day de Montfort consecration. Five months later, on September 8th, after having sold their business, Jerry and Gwen and their seven children (with one on the way) moved to Fatima, Portugal. Jerry was thirty-three years old at the time. Their stay in Fatima actually became a two-year "novitiate" during which they were being prepared to do what God was calling them to do.

Click to Enlarge ImageTwo years of prayer and waiting led to their decision to devote full-time to combating the atheistic influences in the world, especially as they affected the family. In June of 1973, they returned to the United States, where Jerry served as the Executive Director of St. Kolbe's "Knights of the Immaculata" under Fr. Bernard Geiger, OFM, Conv., who has been Jerry's spiritual director since that time. In the Holy Year of 1975, on the 18th of June, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, Jerry and Gwen founded the Apostolate for Family Consecration. The Apostolate was officially approved by the Church that same year on the 3rd day of October, the month of the Holy Rosary.

Click to View Enlarged ImageOn March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation, in 1986, Jerry and Gwen adopted the Christ-centered, Marian, and family spirituality of Pope John Paul II as the spirituality of the Apostolate for Family Consecration. Rather than spend years developing and prospecting for a spirituality that uniquely characterized their family movement, the Family Apostolate preferred to mine the rich vein of Karol Wojtyla's (Pope John Paul II) vision for the Church, for family life, and his emphasis on consecration and the dignity of the human person.

The Apostolate for Family Consecration is an international association seeking to simultaneously sanctify family and parish life in the spirit of Pope John Paul II. Its mission is to nourish families through the Catholic Faith in the Eucharistic and Marian spirit of Pope John Paul II. The Family Apostolate provides continuous tri-media evangelization and catechetical programs to transform neighborhoods into God-centered communities through Lay Ecclesial Teams open to individuals of diverse Church-approved associations.

The Apostolate's motto is "All for the Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus; all through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary; all in union with St. Joseph."

The Apostolate's Canonical Global Center is located in the Archdiocese of New York. Its largest center (950 acres) is located at the John Paul II Holy Family Center, known as "Catholic Familyland," in Bloomingdale, Ohio. This center includes over 170,000 square feet of buildings under roof which house a conference center, retreat center, print shop, television and duplicating studios, graphic arts department and office buildings. Its major center in Asia is located in the Archdiocese of Manila, Philippines at the St. Joseph Center, which is part of the Elizabeth Ann Seton School Complex in Las Pinas, Manila. The Apostolate has a center in Ireland, under the direction of Cahal Magee. It also has a major (18-building) center in Mexico and a center in Puerto Rico. The AFC has members in the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Africa, Pakistan, Russia and Central and South America.

On April 29, 1999, Pope John Paul II appointed Jerry and Gwen Coniker to a five-year term, as one of twenty couples throughout the world, to be Roman Curia members of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

On September 3, 1999, the "Daily Catholic" conducted a survey of 23,455 prominent Catholics, who nominated 728 candidates for the "Top 100 Catholics of the 20th Century." Voters chose as the 70th selection the team of Jerome and Gwen Coniker. Though Jerry received the bulk of the votes, the fact that they have been in this ministry together for the past 28 years and have been married forty years, the voters considered them as one.

The Family Apostolate's ministries include:

Television and radio program series. A video library of over 15,000 exclusive interviews and programs:  "Family Covenant" (daily) "Holy Family Fests" "Spirit of John Paul II" (weekly) "Be Not Afraid Family Hours" (weekly) "Healing our Families" (weekly) "First Saturday Cenacles" (monthly) various devotional novena series and specials

· Familyland Television Network that broadcasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Entertains, educates and edifies. A TV network you can trust that includes all of the above series plus edited movies, sitcoms, sports and nature shows-all carefully reviewed and edited for immodesty, excessive violence, disrespect for authority and bad language. Familyland is broadcast throughout the USA on satellite and cable and is aired on national cable television in the Philippines. Also includes "Meet My Friend" and "The Meeting Place" children's shows and "Destiny Generation" teen shows.

The Clara+vision Catholic Spanish Network that carries our call-in programs and broadcasts "Be Not Afraid Family Hours" daily.

The Apostolate for Family Consecration® was founded by Jerome F. and Gwen C. Coniker, who were married on August 15, 1959. Today they have 13 children (one with the Lord) and over 56 grandchildren.

On April 29, 1999, Pope John Paul II appointed Jerry and Gwen Coniker to a five-year term, as one of twenty couples throughout the world, to be Roman Curia members of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

June 15, 2002 Gwen C. Coniker passed onto eternity in her home at Catholic Familyland with her husband and children by her side.  

August 6, 2004 Pope John Paul II appointed Mr. Jerry Coniker to be Consultor of the Pontifical Council for the Family for a period of Five Years.   


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