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Everything you need to know about an EE weekend is answered here. Chances are, you won't read through all the answers now - just remember they're here. But before you register, make sure you read the top 3 questions. They're important.

Frequently Asked Questions





What is an Engaged Encounter?

Engaged Encounter is one of the approved marriage preparation programs available to couples being married in the Catholic Church. Engaged Encounter 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 weekend to be shared privately by a couple, though the weekend will have approximately 30 couples attending. The weekend is not a recreational retreat. The weekend utilizes a dynamic process based on listening, writing and dialogue. It gives couples making a commitment to Christian covenant marriage the opportunity for honest intensive communication about their future lives together. Engaged Encounter is 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, their role in the church and in society. The couples are urged to communicate in terms of planning a marriage, not only as a wedding day celebration, but as a lifelong commitment to each other.


What happens on a weekend?

Through a series of talks presented by a team of two trained married couples and a priest, the engaged couples are invited to reflect 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. Each couple concentrates on each other. Personal reflection and dialogue are the main emphasis of the weekend. Couples are there to work at deepening their level of commitment and communication with each other as a couple. The weekend is not a social event, with the exception of meals and a few group activities.



How much does a weekend cost?

The total cost for a weekend retreat is $335 per couple. This includes meals, lodging and all materials. This amount must be prepaid. Personal checks, VISA, Master Card or American Express are the methods of payment. $150 of the registration fee is non-refundable. No refunds are provided to cancellation requests within 30 days of the registered weekend.


Does Engaged Encounter offer scholarships for couples in financial need?

San Francisco Catholic Engaged Encounter offers scholarships to couples who need our help financially.
The process is to fill out the registration form which is on our website, including a $150 deposit and contact your priest to obtain a letter acknowledging that you could use financial assistance. When you have the priest's letter, send both the letter from your priest and the application with a $150 deposit to this email. The deposit is returned to after you complete the weekend.



Do we have to stay all weekend?

Yes. The design of the Catholic Engaged Encounter Program is a Weekend Retreat-like format, which is unlike any other marriage preparation program offered. The weekend begins on Saturday morning at 7:30 AM and ends Sunday about Noon. Please arrange your schedule accordingly.


Who is it for?

The weekend retreat is for engaged couples who are making a commitment to the Catholic Sacrament of Matrimony, however Engaged Couples of all Faiths are welcome to attend. This weekend will help couples to deepen and develop the skills needed to enrich their lives together. This weekend meets the marriage preparation requirement for all Catholic parishes.



Do you have to be Catholic?

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 of couples from differing faith backgrounds.


Why should we attend?

The weekend experience offers each couple the insights, the tools and the confidence to enrich their relationship and strengthen their love for one another. They learn that good marriages don't just happen, they must be developed. For many couples, this weekend is one of the most significant experiences of their courtship.



How does Engaged Encounter enhance a marriage?

The encounter weekend teaches a communication technique which permits each couple to explore important areas of their relationship in a spirit of love and understanding. By continuing the newly-acquired technique begun on the weekend, husbands and wives continually grow closer together to live more joyful and purposeful lives. While not an essential part of the experience, the availability of a community of others who have shared the experience and who share similar values provides a supportive environment for even further growth.


What should we pack & wear?

Pack separately and bring casual clothing that will be comfortable. Jeans, t-shirts, shorts and sneakers are acceptable. Variations in air conditioning make it a good idea to bring sweaters for indoors. Depending on the weather, part of the time may be spent outdoors as well, so a jacket and an umbrella may be advisable. None of the gatherings require ties, coats or dresses.



What are the sleeping arrangements for the engaged couples during the weekend?

Separate sleeping facilities are provided for men and women on the weekend. You will share a room with another person of the same gender. Each room has a private bathroom/shower.


What does the facility provide?

The retreat center provides sheets and small towels. Please pack separate: toiletries, hair dryer, larger towels and extra pillow, if desired.



Is there an ideal time to attend?

The best time to attend is several months prior to your anticipated wedding date. Space is limited, therefore, reservations should be made as early as possible. We recommend that reservations be made at least six months prior to the Weekend desired.


Who facilitates the weekend?

A team of two married couples and a priest facilitate and guide the weekend. The team consists of couples with well prepared, consistent and balanced presentations. The presentations involve personal sharing on marriage and family issues.



Where is the weekend held?

San Francisco Engaged Encounter weekends are hosted at a retreat center in the Bay Area. Further information will be provided upon registration.


Which Bay Area Engaged Encounter retreat should we sign up for?

As you may be aware, there are a number of Engaged Encounter retreats in the Bay Area. All of the Catholic Engaged Encounter retreats are affiliated. However, it is best to sign up for the retreat in your Diocese. Please ask your priest or home parish for an application form, or use the form on this website.