Catholic Engaged Encounter is a ministry dedicated to marriage preparation. Our motto, "A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime", sums up the whole idea. Think of all the preparation taken for the wedding day. Most people spend months planning, and hundreds, if not thousands of dollars preparing for the wedding. But how much time and effort is actually spent preparing for a Lifetime of Togetherness?
See our Testimonials page which sites expert and couple feedback on the benefits of making an Engaged Encounter weekend.
The weekend is held at a Sacred Heart Retreat Center in Cullman, Alabama. Note that since Catholic Engaged Encounter is a national ministry, CEE weekends are held in many cities across the United States. See the Resources link for links to other communities.
Couples are encouraged to attend a weekend 6 months before their wedding date to obtain maximum benefit. Couples must plan to stay the entire Weekend to benefit from the experience thoroughly.
Although the weekend is put on by the Catholic Church, couples of all faith expressions are encouraged to take part as they prepare for marriage.
Couples do not need to be officially engaged, or have set their wedding date, in order to attend an Engaged Encounter Weekend.
Through a series of ideas presented by teams of married couples and a priest, the engaged couples are stimulated to dialogue privately on all aspects of married life, always from the viewpoint of their own relationship. Couples are given the opportunity to question, examine and deepen their relationship with each other. Through a series of writing and sharing exercises the couples are challenged to explore many aspects of their relationship in a much deeper, more honest way than they may have before. Personal reflection and dialogue are the main emphasis of the weekend, with the exception of meals and a few group activities interspersed.
The cost to attend an Engaged Encounter Weekend sponsored by the Diocese of Birmingham is:
If registration is completed on line and paid through PayPal, there is an additional $7.00 service fee.
The total amount must be prepaid to Catholic Engaged Encounter in order to reserve space on the weekend. The price includes payment for your room, breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday, breakfast and lunch on Sunday, and all printed materials and supplies needed for the weekend. Payment may be made through PayPal or by mailing a check or money order payable to Catholic Engaged Encounter. It should be received, along with your registration form, no later than the Friday proceeding the weekend you plan to attend. If you choose to mail your registration rather than completing it on line and paying through PayPal, please include an alternate date that you can attend in the event the weekend is closed out prior to your registration being received. On line registration payments through PayPal guarantee your spot immediately.
If you are unable to afford the weekend please have your Priest contact Engaged Encounter's leadership to discuss a scholarship.
If there are no available weekend dates before your wedding date, you have several options, but the first thing you should do is contact your Priest for his advice.
Option 1: Catholic Engaged Encounter is a national organization with weekends presented in nearby cities such as Mobile, Atlanta, Knoxville, Charlotte, Greenville, and Tampa. You can navigate to the national web site, http://www.engagedencounter.org to obtain information on weekends in other communities.
Option 2: If approved by your priest, you may attend a Precana class presented by the Diocese of Birmingham. To obtain registration information and learn of available dates for Precana, please contact your priest.
Option 3: Check with your priest to see if your parish runs a sponsor-couple program. The sponsor-couple program is a series of one-on-one meetings with a married couple in your parish.
Option 4: You may be placed on a wait list for Engaged Encounter weekends that are already full in case of cancellations. Please Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: your name, day and evening phone numbers, wedding date and the weekends you are interested in. NOTE: there is no guarantee that you will get on one of these earlier weekends so you do need to make alternate arrangements.
Attire for the weekend is casual (ex. jeans), but you should bring something appropriate to wear for Church. You will want to bring snacks to share with the group as well as change for vending machines. You may also want to bring your checkbook since the Retreat Center bookstore has several of the books noted in the Resources page available for sale during the weekend.
The weekend begins promptly at 8:00pm on Friday night and ends around 4:00pm on Sunday afternoon. The weekend concludes with Mass. Please plan to arrive at the meeting location between 6:30pm and 7:30pm on Friday night in order to register and check into your room before the first presentation begins.
Scared Heart Retreat Center is approximately 1 hour from Birmingham Airport. Please plan your travel accordingly.