What happens on a weekend?

An atmosphere is created for the two of you to concentrate exclusively on each other, free of the distractions, pressures and interruptions of daily living – a “time out” away from home, friends, and wedding preparations.

Is this like a spiritual retreat?

No. Please note that this is not like a retreat. It may not be a relaxing weekend, though it will be a very valuable one for you and your fiancee.  A good marriage takes a lot of work and this is a special time for you to work on your relationship. Though you will have little free time, you will have time together, time with other couples like yourselves, and time with married couples and a priest who are all on the weekend to serve you.

Will I have to talk to other couples on the weekend?

There are no group dynamics or group therapy. It is a quiet weekend, specifically designed to give you the opportunity to talk honestly and intensively about your future together – an opportunity to discover a deeper appreciation of your relationship and God’s call to unite in a permanent union, the Sacrament of Matrimony.

Who leads the weekend?

A team consisting of two married couples and a priest.

Will we have much free time this weekend?

No, the weekend is designed to be intense so that you can spend as much concentrated time together as possible preparing for your marriage. You may find that we stay up later and get up earlier than you typically would on a weekend. Time permitting, we will have a break on Saturday afternoon. 

What do we do all weekend?

The weekend consists of a series of presentations beginning Saturday morning and ending Sunday afternoon. The two of you are encouraged to talk privately with each other on many aspects of marriage, always from the viewpoint of your own relationship.

Does that mean we’ll have to take notes and answer a bunch of questions?

No. Personal reflection and couple discussion are the main focus of our weekend. There will be questions to start conversation, but the couple is free to pick and choose which ones to respond to.

Will we be sharing our answers with other couples during the retreat?

No. Your answers will not be viewed or heard by any other individuals. Since each relationship is in a different place, your private answers will be unique and special to your relationship.

What kinds of topics will be discussed?

Among the many subjects you will have an opportunity to discuss with each other your ambitions, goals, attitudes about God, sex, money, children, family, and your role in the church and community.

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. 

Are the presentations lectures or a “preaching to”?

Neither. Through personal sharing, the members of the presenting team talk about what the Sacrament of Matrimony means to them individually and the impact a great marriage can have on the world. Our stories are meant to encourage you to explore your own attitudes and expectations. We will offer some good ideas and tools to help the two of you continue to grow closer through the years.

Why should we go?

Our motto is a “A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime.” Think of all the preparation you have done for your career or job. Most of us spend years studying or learning. Think of the preparation taken for your wedding day. Most people spend months planning and many dollars preparing for their wedding. But how much time and effort do we spend preparing for what we hope will last a lifetime – our marriage?

Does Engaged Encounter Satisfy the Catholic Church's Requirement for Marriage Preparation?

Within the Diocese of Steubenville, Catholic Engaged Encounter is endorsed as fulfilling this requirement. Our program is also frequently accepted in other Dioceses and states. Whether in Steubenville or elsewhere, your priest always has the final say on what he will accept for your marriage 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 give to your priest verifying your participation. 

Why does it cost so much?

Steubenville CEE has done everything in its power to lower the cost. Think of the weekend as a get-away for the two of you to grow closer. A successful marriage relationship is worth investing in. During a Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend, you’ll learn about yourselves and gain deep insights into what makes for a healthy relationship and a fulfilling marriage.

May we commute to reduce costs?

No. The point of the retreat is to have time away from outside distractions so that you and your fiancée can focus on one another. If finances are an issue, please go to Payment and contact our finance coordinator to work something out.

What will my room be like?

Your room will be very much like a college dorm room. It will have a bed, dresser, writing table, and perhaps a sink.

What do we need to bring?

  • A favorite snack and drink to share. Go ahead and be creative!
  • Personal toiletries or medications
  • Comfortable & informal clothes (something nice for Sunday Mass)

Are there any ground rules for the weekend?

Yes, we do ask that you observe a few basic rules: 
• Please refrain from the use of alcohol and illegal drugs
• Please stay in your assigned room
• Please do not leave the weekend, for any reason, unless an emergency arises. If you need to leave, please speak to one of the team members. 

What time do we need to arrive?

Please plan to arrive Saturday at 7:30 AM.

What time will the retreat end on Sunday?

The weekend ends after Mass that will begin around 2:30 PM Sunday.

May we leave early if we have a schedule conflict?

No. You must plan to stay the whole weekend. The certificate stating you have completed this marriage preparation will be given after Mass. Leaving early may mean that you forfeit this certificate.

Are there other weekends available?

Yes. If you can't attend one of our weekends, consider other locations nearby: Pittsburgh, Columbus, or Cincinnati.