Do I Have to be Catholic?
No. Catholic Engaged Encounter does present God as a focus for a successful marriage. While the weekend will be presented in a Catholic expression of faith, each weekend is open to couples of all faiths. The opportunities of the weekend go well beyond the boundaries of any one faith expression. We are not going to try to convert you or pressure you in any way. Couples where neither person is Catholic are welcome also.
Does Engaged Encounter Satisfy the Catholic Church's Requirement for Marriage Preparation?
Yes. Within the Diocese of Monterey, Engaged Encounter is endorsed as fulfilling this requirement. However, your full requirements are determined by your Priest and he always has the final say on what he will accept for your marriage preparation. We encourage you to check with the Priest who will officiate your wedding before registering. At the conclusion of the weekend, you will receive a certificate to give to your Priest which verifies your participation on an Engaged Encounter retreat.
What if We Are Civilly Married?
Please discuss your options with the Priest who is officiating at your wedding. You are welcome to attend an Engaged Encounter weekend as you prepare for your sacramental marriage within the Church. If you intend to remain civilly married, and not proceed with a marriage in the church, then we suggest a Marriage Encounter Weekend. This is a similar weekend oriented to improving communication for couples who are already married.
Do We Have to Speak In Front of the Group?
No. You will be asked to introduce yourself and your fiancé. This is the only time you are asked to speak in front of the group. Participation in any form of group conversation is voluntary. The weekend is not structured for group counseling nor is it based on group discussions. The weekend is designed for the two of you to have quality time for private discussions.
What does a weekend cost?
The cost of a weekend is $435 per couple. This fee covers individual rooms for two nights and five meals for both of you. Dinner will not be served Friday night, so please eat before you arrive. Your registrations fee can be paid online by credit/debit card, or via the US Mail with a money order or cashier's check. We are unable to hold a spot for you on a weekend until payment is received. Online payments are confirmed immediately. If you make a payment by mail you will receive confirmation of your registration either by email or US Mail based on your preference indicated on the registration form.
Scholarships are available, and must be requested through your Priest. If you need assistance, please have your Priest contact Barry and Jennifer VanderKelen to begin the scholarship process. No couple will ever be turned away because of lack of funds.