1. What is Engaged Encounter?
  2. Does Engaged Encounter satisfy the Church’s requirement for marriage preparation?
  3. What is the cost of the weekend and what does it cover?
  4. Do we need to stay at the Retreat Centre?
  5. Do I have to be Catholic to attend an engaged encounter? (Is Engaged Encounter only for Catholics?) Do both of us have to be catholic to attend?
  6. Can divorcees attend?
  7. Is the weekend about preaching Catholicism?
  8. Why is marriage preparation necessary, why involve the church?
  9. How soon before our wedding should be begin our marriage preparation?
  10. We are very young or we are older than most engaged couples? Will we feel out of place?


1. What is Engaged Encounter?
We want to be a positive part of your marriage preparation. We are an energized community of volunteer couples, priests and religious. We provide a working weekend retreat format, which is led by couples and priests designed to create a focus on private couple communication. Attendees are couples of all faiths - usually planning to marry in the Catholic Church. Each year locally more than 250 couples participate in Catholic Engaged Encounter Weekends. They deepen their communication, reinforce their commitment and strengthen their love. We want to help you achieve the very best marriage preparation possible. Thank you for investing in what could be a very important part of a lifetime together. Back Top

2. Does Engaged Encounter satisfy the Church’s requirement for marriage preparation?
The Catholic Church requires that all couples planning to marry within the Catholic Church, undertake some sort of marriage preparation programme. Engaged Encounter is one of the options offered for marriage preparation and is recognised by the local Church as a valid marriage preparation programme. Back Top

3. Cost of the Weekend and what is covers.
The weekend costs TTD$800.00 per couple (inclusive of $50.00 registration fee, all meals, accommodation, refreshments, handouts, booklets). The TTD$50.00 non refundable/transferable fee should accompany your registration form. No one is refused the opportunity to experience a CEE weekend because of a lack of funds as this weekend is important to help couples build a sound marriage (if you are unable to afford the cost of the weekend, we ask that you contact the Registration couple). Back Top

4. Do we need to stay at the Retreat Centre?
The format of the weekend keeps couples occupied until late on both Friday and Saturday nights and starts at 7am. Given the schedule constraints and because the purpose of the weekend is to focus on each other without any distractions that you may have at home such as wedding plans, family, friends etc., it is our policy that all couples stay at the retreat centre. Catholic Engaged Encounter believes that you will receive the most benefit from the weekend experience by remaining at the facility for the entire weekend. Back Top

5. Is Engaged Encounter only for Catholics?
No. Engaged Encounter is for all couples contemplating marriage. Many of the couples that attend our program are interfaith. It is a very effective programme, regardless of your faith and is open to people of all faiths. Back Top

6. Can divorcees attend?
Individuals who have been married before (in the Catholic Church) must have had their marriage annulled before undertaking to come on a weekend. Persons who were previously married outside the Catholic Church should consult a priest, or inform the registration contact couples, for guidance on this issue. Persons whose spouses have died (widow/widower) may also attend the Encounter weekend. Back Top

7. Is the weekend about preaching Catholicism?
No, the weekend focuses on couples building their communication and sharing deeply with each other on their present and future lives together; they are assisted by married couples and a priest, who share their personal lives and experiences with them. However, the understanding of the marriage union does include a Catholic perspective.Back Top

8. Why is marriage preparation necessary, why involve the church?
Marriage involves persons making a lifetime commitment to each other and family life. It is important that persons are exposed to the range of experiences, challenges and joys of marriage. There continues to be an unacceptably high divorce/separation rate with attendant spiritual, mental and emotional suffering, in many cases involving children. Engaged Encounter is an intervention to counteract this trend, so that couples can enjoy a fulfilling life together and thus promote a more stable society.
The church aspect involves sharing of values that should be present in a marriage, helps couples to understand marriage as a sacred call to love in special way and reminds of the importance of spirituality to human and married life. Back Top

9. How soon before our wedding should be begin our marriage preparation?
Ideally one should begin marriage preparation when one is considering getting married or engaged. Individual parishes tend to have their own guidelines, but it is seldom less than 3 months.

 

We encourage couples to do marriage preparation as much as six months (even more!) before the actual wedding date since (i) it gives couples some time to work out any issues that may not have been previously discussed and (ii) it allows couples to experience the weekend without worrying about wedding preparations, which can cloud judgment, lead to a dismissal of relevant issues since plans are already in train, or cause anxiety/distractions.


We stress however that the weekend, undertaken at any point in wedding, can only serve to enhance relationships, if persons are open and honest with each other. The weekend is less about determining whether you are “right” for each other, but an experience in deepening your relationship and preparing couples to have a happy, fulfilling marriage.

 

Please also remember that our weekends in March and June fill up rather quickly, since we generally have none in February, July, August and December. Back Top

10. We are very young or we are older than most engaged couples? Will we feel out of place?
Our weekends reflect the diversity of persons in Trinidad and Tobago. Couples attending our weekends range widely in education, social, economic backgrounds and age. Besides, on the weekend, you will be focusing on each other more than others. Back Top