History and Purpose
The National Organization
Catholic Engaged Encounter strives to be a truly national family and has an established structure which sustains existing local communities and reaches out to new areas around the country and the world. The United States National Family consists of an Executive Team (a couple and a priest) who direct the activities of the United States National Board. The Board consists of teams which represent the five US districts. These five districts correspond to the five geographical areas: the Northeast, the South, the North Central States, the Midwest, and the West.
In 1974, in response to the growing incidence of separation and divorce, the newly formed Marriage Encounter Resource Community turned their attention to marriage preparation. Adapting the Marriage Encounter Weekend to the needs of engaged couples, they presented their first weekends in 1975. The response was overwhelming and immediate. By the end of that year more than 100 couples and 50 priests were trained to give weekends throughout the United States. Today, Catholic Engaged Encounter has grown to be an international organization that serves thousands of couples each year.
Our purpose is to prepare engaged couples for the sacrament of marriage by providing a life-giving view of marriage and by challenging couples to communicate openly and honestly with each other. Our specific goals include the following:
- To strengthen marriage and family life.
- To help develop a contemporary theology of marriage. As married couples we have a great deal to offer from our experiences and we share these openly with the engaged couples.
- To call our Church to a fresh view of the gift of marriage preparation.
- To help make Catholic Engaged Encounter available in every diocese in the US.
- To develop weekends that meet the needs of multicultural groups.
Listen to what some of the previous San Francisco Catholic Engaged Encounter couples have said:
“You blew our minds with your honesty, generosity, and willingness to share.”
“There is no question in my mind that the selfless and courageous sharing provided by our presenting couples was the catalyst that encouraged us to be open, honest, and spiritual.”
“The environment of trust and writing things out really helped me to communicate with my partner, who tends to be a verbal communicator. It gave me new opportunities of ‘talking’.”
“Your more subtle approach to bringing God and spirituality into the discussion drew me in deeply.”
“I can’t express how grateful we are to you. You have helped bring even more love to our lives.”
“You guys are a great inspiration to us. Please continue to do your work. Our prayers are with you all the time.”
Comments from Experts:
“Engaged Encounter is the best marriage preparation program in communication for engaged couples of any denomination in the U.S.”
Michael J. McManus, author of the book, “Marriage Savers”, syndicated columnist in 100 newspapers and radio commentator.
“We believe that Engaged Encounter is an opportunity for engaged couples to truly connect with one another on important topics and issues without being distracted by daily life.”
Sheri & Bob Stritof, authors of “The Everything Great Marriage Book”, and the Marriage Guides at http://marriage.about.com.
How You Can Help
Volunteering for Engaged Encounter gives you a rare opportunity to both share and renew your marriage at the same time. As a community of families and priests focused on building and maintaining healthy relationships, Engaged Encounter provides an atmosphere of communication, openness and growth. Engaged Encounter also provides a sense of hope and inspiration, with an opportunity to change the world in a practical and effective way: by helping couples build a strong and healthy marriage.
Engaged Encounter is entirely a volunteer ministry and we need you to make it happen. It takes a large team to put on a retreat weekend, with many couples working behind the scenes to handle business and logistics.
Consider the following opportunities for involvement:
- Presenting teams:These are the teams that share their marriage experience to the engaged couples on the weekend.
- Support teams:These teams help ”behind the scenes“ during the weekend.
- Prayer teams:These teams pray for the all the engaged couples, presenting teams and religious on the weekend.
…and more. These are just a few examples. We also have couples managing our resources, finances, scheduling, supplies, and registration. If you have a skill, we can put it to use to benefit the San Francisco Catholic Engaged Encounter ministry, please contact our Information Couple: firstname.lastname@example.org.