What is Catholic Engaged Encounter
Engaged Encounter is an opportunity for engaged couples of all faiths to deepen their relationships and prepare for marriage away from daily distractions and the tensions of planning the wedding. It is a quiet weekend that provides each couple the time to reflect and share deeply with each other. Throughout the weekend, engaged couples are encouraged, through presentations by two married couples, to use a dynamic process of writing, listening, and dialogue to share privately with each other. The couple’s sharing covers all aspects of life concerning marriage, family, faith, desires, ambitions, goals, and money. They will also address individual and couple strengths and weaknesses. Interaction between couples also takes place during an informal open discussion period on Saturday evening, communal meals, and the weekend Liturgy.
Why should my fiancé and I attend a weekend?
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 is forever, that love is forever, and that God wishes to be forever present in your sacramental relationship.
Do we have to be Catholic or engaged to attend?
While South Carolina Engaged Encounter is a Catholic organization, couples of all faiths are welcome. We have had couples of both mixed faith and non-Catholic couples attend our weekend. We are in no way here to convert anyone to Catholicism.
We have also had couples that are thinking of getting engaged attend the weekend to help decide if they are ready to take that next step.
Does Engaged Encounter satisfy the Catholic Church’s requirement for Marriage Preparation?
Within the Diocese of Charleston, Engaged Encounter is endorsed as fulfilling this requirement. Our program is also frequently accepted in other Dioceses. Your priest always has the final say on what he will accept for your marriage or Pre-Cana preparation. Please check with the priest who will officiate your wedding before registering. At the conclusion of the weekend, you will receive a certificate to show to your priest verifying your participation.
What should we bring to the weekend?
Your confirmation letter will provide specifics for the location of your weekend, but please be sure to bring the following items with you:
• Comfortable casual clothing.
• Toiletries, medicines and other personal items.
• A snack and drink (e.g., soft drink, juice, water) to place on the shared snack table in the conference room.
For Camp Hope, the following items should also be brought per person:
• Bed linens for a single bed.
What time should we arrive?
For residential weekends (Camp Hope), please arrive between 7:00 and7:30 p.m. if at all possible. The weekend will begin at 8:00 p.m. Because we are on a tight schedule, we cannot wait for couples who arrive late. If there is an emergency and you must be late, please call the facility emergency number.
For in-parish weekends, please arrive at 8:00 AM. The weekend will start promptly at 8:30 AM.
What time does the weekend end?
The weekend typically ends around lunch time on Sunday.
Do we have to stay for the entire weekend?
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 that verifies your attendance.
Will dinner be served on Friday evening?
No, dinner will not be served on Friday. All three meals will be served on Saturday and breakfast will be served on Sunday.
What is the format\schedule of the weekend?
Throughout the weekend the presenting couples will share their life experiences in several areas to demonstrate the love that God shows through us in our marriage. You and your fiancé will be given time to write and discuss your thoughts and feelings on these topics to hopefully open the lines of communication in your relationship.
For a list of the topics that will be covered, please see our Talking Points here.
Will I have a roommate?
Yes, you will have one or more roommates of the same sex as yourself, depending on the facility/location of your weekend. While we recognize that some couples may be living together, you will not be permitted to share a room with your fiancé while on the weekend.
What will my room be like?
This will be dependent on the facility/location of your weekend. Please see the specific location in Retreat Facilities.
What should we wear?
Dress for the entire weekend is casual. Please dress comfortably. While you are welcome to do so, there is no need to change for dinner or Mass.
Is there an emergency number?
Yes. Please see the specific location in Retreat Facilities.
Do we have to speak in front of the group?
No. At the beginning of the weekend you will be asked to introduce yourself and your fiancé. This is the only time you are required to speak in front of the group. There will be a group discussion period on Saturday evening, but participation is voluntary. No one is forced to speak out. The weekend is not group therapy. Your privacy will be respected. The weekend is designed for the two of you to have quality time for private discussions.
Will Mass be celebrated during the weekend?
Yes. Depending on the availability of a Priest we will have Mass either Saturday evening or Sunday just before the weekend concludes.