WHAT IS THE CATHOLIC ENGAGED ENCOUNTER PROGRAM?

Catholic Engaged Encounter is an in-depth, private, personal, marriage preparation experience within the context of Catholic faith and values. The weekend is open to any engaged couple wanting to prepare for a deeper, more meaningful life together in a marriage recognized by the Catholic Church according to its Church law. The Catholic Engaged Encounter program is an investment in the future – a weekend experience in which an atmosphere is created that enables each couple to concentrate exclusively on one another while free of the pressures and interruptions of daily life. It is a non-recreational retreat, but a beautiful a program designed to give each couple an opportunity to discuss honestly with each other, in a face-to-face manner, their strengths and weaknesses, desires, ambitions, goals, their attitudes about money, sex, family, spiritual values, and their role in society.

We are a volunteer group of couples and priests committed to working in the Catholic Church through the ministry to the pre-married. We offer within this apostolate an experiential weekend that calls a man and a woman as a couple to strive for a sacramental way of life through the vocation of marriage. Our policy is to accept a man and a woman, as a couple, who are preparing for a sacramental way of life through the vocation of marriage on a retreat weekend.

Catholic Engaged Encounter is an international, non-profit, volunteer organization consisting of couples and priests who strongly believe in the sacrament of marriage and its role in our church and society. We provide a working weekend retreat format designed to create a focus on private couple communication. Attendees are couples of all faiths – usually planning to marry in the Catholic Church. We want to be a positive part of your engagement with a common bond is our belief in the sacrament of marriage and family life.

Last year more than 20,000 couples participated in Catholic Engaged Encounter Weekends throughout the country. They deepened their communication, reinforced their commitment and strengthened their love. Think about investing in what could be a very important part of your lifetime together. Each session consists of personal sharing(s) from the team, followed by a period of time during which you and your fiancé share your ideas, concerns, hopes and feelings with each other via writing. After each writing exercise, you and your fiancé will exchange and read your written letters followed by a private discussion. The writing and dialogue sessions are private and you are never required to share what you have written/discussed with anyone other than your fiancé.

Engaged Encounter focuses on communication in your relationship. You will learn new tools for listening, writing and enhancing your communication with each other. EE is a weekend of beginnings, of planting seeds and of opening doors. We encourage couples to reach within themselves to discover or reinforce the belief that your marriage can be forever, that love is forever, and that God wishes to be forever present in your sacramental relationship.

Our motto is a “A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime.” Think of all the preparation you have done for your career or job.  Most us spend years studying or learning.  Think of the preparation taken for your wedding day. Most people spend months planning and many dollars preparing for their wedding.  But how much time and effort do we spend preparing for what we hope will last 50 or 60 years – our marriage?  Ask yourself this question, “Am I willing to spend 20 hours devoted to hearing ideas and learning skills that will help to make my marriage the best it can be?”

An atmosphere is created for the two of you to concentrate exclusively on each other, free of the distractions, pressures and interruptions of daily living – a “time out” away from home, friends, and wedding preparations. There are no group dynamics or group therapy. It is a quiet weekend, specifically designed to give you the opportunity to talk honestly and intensively about your future together – an opportunity to discover a deeper appreciation of your relationship and God’s call to unite in a permanent union, the Sacrament of Matrimony.

The weekend consists of a series of presentations beginning Friday evening and ending Sunday afternoon. The Engaged Encounter weekend consists of a series of presentations/activities given by a team, usually composed of two married couples and a Catholic priest, who act as facilitators during the weekend. The two of you are encouraged to talk privately with each other on many aspects of marriage, always from the viewpoint of your own relationship.

Among the subjects you will have an opportunity to discuss with each other are your ambitions, goals, attitudes about God, sex, money, children, family, and your role in the church and community. Personal reflection and couple discussion are the main focus of our weekend. Since each relationship is in a different place, your private answers will be unique and special to your relationship.

Through personal sharing, the members of the presenting team talk about what the sacrament of matrimony means to them individually and the impact a great marriage can have on the world. We will not tell you how to live your life. Our stories are meant to encourage you to explore your own attitudes and expectations. We will offer some good ideas and tools to help the two of you to continue growing closer through the years.

Prices reflected in brochures received from sources other than this website may be out of date due to changes in operating costs.  Payments for less than the full registration fee will not be accepted for registration by mail or online.  Your registration cannot be confirmed until payment has been paid in full.  We appreciate your understanding.

Yes, it is very important that you stay for the entire weekend. If you arrive late or leave early you will miss important parts of the weekend experience, and we will not be able to give you your weekend certificate verifying your attendance. The weekend begins on Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. and ends Sunday afternoon about 4:00 p.m. Please arrange your schedule accordingly and select a weekend during which you can make this full commitment. If there is an emergency and you must be late, please call the lead couple’s cell phone or the registration couple.

Although the weekend is designed for couples planning to be married in the Catholic Church, it is open to all couples of any faith.  It has been found to be both beneficial and supporting for couples from other faith and differing faith backgrounds.

Although we are called Engaged Encounter, a couple does not need to be actually engaged to attend a weekend.  We recommend the “earlier the better.”   As soon as you are engaged, or even considering engagement, that is the right time to attend a weekend. By attending early, you can discover areas of growth necessary in your relationship, determine if engagement and marriage is right for you at this time (before becoming too invested in the wedding preparations), and avoid the last-minute hassles of attending a weekend while trying to do everything else your wedding day entails.  Specifically, we recommend that you attend a weekend at least three months before your wedding date.

Yes, we do ask that you observe a few basic rules.

  • Please refrain from the use of alcohol and illegal drugs.
  • Please do not leave the weekend, for any reason, unless an emergency arises.
  • If an emergency arises please speak to one of the team members.

The fee for the weekend varies because of the differing operating costs at our retreat facilities. Please visit our online registration page to view the costs for any particular weekend. The fee to attend an Engaged Encounter weekend covers all materials used on the weekend, meals and facility costs.

Yes! Your registration data is kept safe and secure in a restricted access database. Further, your payment information is processed through PayPal© using PayPal© security and data protection features.

If you cannot afford the cost of the Engaged Encounter weekend due to financial hardship, please contact our registration email on this page to inquire about our scholarship program.

Yes. You should receive a confirmation email (sent to the email address listed while registering) almost instantly after registering. We will also send a “Welcome” letter two weeks before the start of your weekend. This “Welcome” letter will provide you with directions to our retreat facility and helpful information that you’ll need to know prior to showing up on Friday night. If you do not receive email communication from San Diego Catholic Engaged Encounter, be sure to check your email’s spam folder.

Immediately! The retreats are often booked 2-3 months out. We can place you on a wait list if you cannot be scheduled one month or more before your wedding, but cannot guarantee space. We try our best to accommodate deploying servicemen/women.

Each couple will receive two workbooks to use throughout the retreat. These are yours to keep. The workbook provides an outline of the retreat and topics covered. Due to varying factors, such as meal times, slight differences in presenter’s length on topics, we are unable to provide exact timing of each presentation. Most presentations, individual reflection and couple reflection time total about 60-90 minutes.

Planning a wedding can be a fun and exciting time. It can also be stressful. Catholic Engaged Encounter offers a weekend-long retreat away from the hustle and bustle of life, where you can focus on each other, your relationship, and what it means to become a sacrament. While couples spend the majority of the retreat together – there is not much free time. Couples should plan to start their day a little earlier and work a little later than they typically would on an average weekend at home.

(In Person Retreat Only)
Separate sleeping facilities are provided for men and women on the weekend, so please pack separately. Please be sure to bring the following items with you:

  • Comfortable casual clothing
  • Sleeping attire
  • A bathrobe, as the facility is “dorm” style, for showering
  • Toiletries, medicines and other personal items
  • An extra pillow
  • A snack to share on the community table
  • A six pack of your favorite soda, energy or sports drink
  • A reusable cup to enjoy coffee
  • A reusable bottle for water
  • Any snack or drink items for your own personal consumption

(In Person Retreat Only)
You will be assigned a roommate of the same gender during the weekend. While we recognize that couples may already be living together or civilly married, you will not be permitted to share a room with your fiancé while on the weekend. At both of our retreat facilities, dormitory style restrooms are provided with private shower and toilet stalls.

(In Person Retreat only)
No, dinner will not be served on Friday. On Saturday, three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) will be served. On Sunday, brunch will be served.

(In Person Retreat Only)
Unfortunately children of any age are not allowed to attend the Engaged Encounter weekend.

(In Person Retreat only)
On Saturday, three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) will be served. On Sunday, brunch will be served.

(In Person Retreat only)
Although we do not have the ability to offer you a different menu, there is fruit and salads available at all meals along with sides to the entrees. You may be able to supplement your meals with the snacks from the snack room, but please feel free to bring a few personal food choices if you are concerned. Our refrigerator is available for food storage, we just recommend labeling your food so others do not mistaken it for part of the community fare.

(In Person Retreat only)
Smoking is permitted in designated areas only.

(In Person Retreat only)
Catholic Engaged Encounter offers a weekend-long retreat away from the hustle and bustle of life, where you can focus on each other, your relationship, and what it means to become a sacrament. As such we ask that couples refrain from using electronic devices as much as possible – including cell phones.

Contact Info

Registration
Jerry & Eloise DeSantos
714-455-9175
orangecounty@engagedencounter.com 

Coordinators
Corey and Joy Strobel

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