Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Engaged Encounter weekends help prepare couples for married life
by Ric Gaunt, for the Inland Register
(From the February 16, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)
Catholic Engaged Encounter is a weekend retreat away with other engaged couples with plenty of time alone together to plan for a sacramental marriage. It is designed to give couples planning marriage the opportunity to dialogue honestly and intensively about their prospective lives together – reviewing their strengths and weaknesses, desires, ambitions, goals, their attitudes about money, sex, children, family, their role in the church and society. Personal reflection and couple discussion are the main focus of the weekend.
Engaged Encounter weekends in Spokane are held six times a year at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center, where a private atmosphere is created for couples 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.
There are no group dynamics or group therapy. It is a quiet weekend, specifically designed to provide couples the opportunity to talk honestly and intensively about their future together – an opportunity to discover a deeper appreciation of their relationship and God’s call to unite in a permanent union, the Sacrament of Matrimony.
The weekend consists of a series of presentations beginning Friday evening and ending Sunday afternoon. Led by a team of married couples and a priest, couples are encouraged to talk privately with each other on many aspects of marriage, always from the viewpoint of their relationship.
Although the weekend is presented from a Catholic perspective, it is open to all couples who wish to enrich their preparation for a successful marriage. It is not designed to evangelize or convert those of other faiths; however, team presentations are rooted in Catholic spirituality and the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, and spirituality is presented as being an integrated dimension of married life.
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. Each team member’s stories are meant to encourage you to explore your own attitudes and expectations. The weekend offers some good ideas and tools to help couples continue growing closer through the years.
Engaged Encounter’s motto is “A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime.” Most people spend months planning and many dollars preparing for their wedding, but how much time and effort is really spent preparing for what hopefully will be a lifetime marriage?
Said one couple, “We realized over the weekend that our life together is a blessing from God and we will dedicate our marriage to him.”
Couples can go to www. eespokane.org for more information or to register for a weekend in Spokane. Married couples interested in enriching their marriage while ministering to others also are encouraged to get involved with Engaged Encounter.
More information is available on the web site: www.eespokane.org, or call 509-466-0988.
The cost is $325/couple.
2012 Engaged Encounter weekends
• March 23-25
(Ric Gaunt is a Unit Leader for Engaged Encounter.)