Catholic Engaged Encounter is a community of faithful Catholic couples and clergy serving engaged couples by accompanying them in their vocational development to recognize the beauty of a life-long, sacramental marriage and the dedication to strong family values. It is an opportunity for evangelization and a call to a life of faith and holiness where the emphasis is on the seriousness of “marriage as a covenant of the whole of life, ordered to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children”. (Paragraph #1601, Catechism of the Catholic Church) The focus is not on the wedding day, but rather on a married couple living their life together. “A Wedding is a Day, A Marriage is a Lifetime” ®
Based on Catholic teachings and values, the Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend experience encourages the engaged to grow in self-understanding, developing deeper qualities of love, patience, openness in communication, and being of service to others – most especially one another.
The Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend is a presentation-styled format in which the content integrates the five interrelated themes of The Family We Grew Up In, Sacramental Marriage, Communication, Intimacy, and Values with the formation principles of Human, Intellectual, Spiritual and Missionary outlined in the Called to the Joy of Love National Pastoral Framework.
The 5 main themes are woven into several talks, focused not on the wedding day, but about a married couple living their life together. “A wedding is a day, A marriage is a lifetime.” In helping couples prepare for a great marriage, they need great tools. The most important tool they will need is the ability to communicate effectively and openly – one of the focuses of the weekend. The talks are presented by a priest and married couples in a group setting, followed by an opportunity for the couples to write and then share their writings with each other, discussing their thoughts and feelings in a safe and loving setting.
This presentation style format allows these key themes and principles to be developed as the weekend unfolds with the presentations witnessing to the Church’s core teaching on marriage:
- The nature of marriage as instituted by God: The Sacrament of Marriage, Betrothal
- The vocation of marriage and its responsibilities: Creating a life-giving marriage, Two Become One, Betrothal
- How to pray together as a couple: Creating a Life-Giving Marriage, Two Become One, Decisions, Forgiveness in Marriage
- The role of Christian spouses as witnesses to the charity that flows from Christ: Stewardship
- Living conjugal chastity as a virtue with specific direction to cohabiting couples: Intimacy in Marriage
- The responsibility of Catholic parents to have their children baptized and raised in the Catholic faith and to build the domestic church as ministers of their home: Becoming a Family
- NFP as a tool for respecting and living God’s design for married love while discerning God’s will for the size of their family: Natural Family Planning
- Moral teaching of the Church on reproductive technologies and ethical solutions to infertility: Becoming a Family, Natural Family Planning
- Sensitive issues such as pornography use and addiction, resolving abortion trauma, sexual and domestic abuse and violence, the experience of separation and divorce as a child: Intimacy in Marriage
- Practical skills such as communication, financial planning, etc.: Is Romance Enough, Understanding Myself, Are We Really Communicating, Managing Conflict, Financial Fidelity
- Requirements for marriage in accordance with the law of the Church: Two Become One, Sacrament of Marriage
"The love they pledge is greater than any emotion, feeling or state of mind, although it may include all of these.
It is a deeper love, a lifelong decision of the heart."
- Pope Francis, The Joy of Love
Featured as a marriage preparation program on www.foryourmarriage.org, an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Engaged Encounter is endorsed and approved by the Catholic Church from the Vatican to dioceses and local parishes worldwide.
Developed over 40 years ago, Catholic Engaged Encounter is an international Catholic marriage preparation program with communities in over 200 dioceses worldwide, including almost 80 dioceses in the United States. As Pope Francis has stated, the contemporary issues faced by couples and families require an outreach that is “not content to proclaim a merely theoretical message without connection to people’s real problems”.
For more information and great videos about the Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend experience, check out the official Catholic Engaged Encounter YouTube Channel by clicking below.