Congratulations on your engagement, and welcome to the Catholic Engaged Encounter of Mobile Community! Catholic Engaged Encounter is a weekend experience that offers an engaged couple a unique opportunity to discover a deeper appreciation of their relationship and God’s call to unite them in a permanent union. It provides the occasion for them to examine and deepen their commitment to one another, and gives them a clear view of what a good Christian marriage involves. The weekend addresses itself primarily to the sacramentality and theology of marriage in a manner inviting the couples to open up to a richer understanding of these aspects. Although Catholic Engaged Encounter is primarily for couples being married in the Catholic faith, couples of all faiths are welcome to attend.
Mobile Engaged Encounter hosts 6 weekend retreats per year at the Visitation Monastery, a historic convent, school, and retreat center founded in 1833 in the heart of Mobile, AL. Our community is dedicated to passing along the hard-won lessons of marriage to engaged couples of all walks of life.
We recommend the using the “earlier the better” policy. Many parishes require you to start marriage prep at least 6 months in advance. As soon as you are engaged, or even considering engagement, it is the right time to attend a retreat. By attending early, you can discover areas of growth necessary in your relationship, determine if engagement and marriage is right for you and avoid the last-minute hassles of attending a retreat while trying to do everything else your wedding day entails.
Catholic Engaged Encounter is designed to provide couples getting married the tools needed for a successful marriage. The retreat is open to any engaged couple wanting to prepare for a deeper, more meaningful life together in a marriage recognized by the Catholic Church according to its Church law.
Weekends are $180 per couple, with a $50 (non-refundable) deposit.
A team of married couples and a priest or deacon facilitate and guide the weekend. The design of the weekend encourages the couple to explore mutual strengths and weaknesses, goals, aspirations, and attitudes concerning family life, children, sexuality, finances, the Church and society. The format gives couples the opportunity to talk honestly and intensively about their prospective lives together. After each presentation, the engaged couple is given questions and encouraged to write and dialogue privately. The format does not involve group therapy. The couples are urged to communicate in terms of planning a life-long and life-giving marriage, not only a wedding day celebration.
We suggest you bring the following items with you:
- Wear comfortable casual clothing;
- Personal Items (shampoo, deodorant, tooth paste, etc.)
- Snack to share: cake, or cookies, or chips, and a 2 liter drink of your choice (please no refrigerated snacks).
- Hot/cold mug. (Styrofoam cups are provided)
- You may bring your own pillow as no other is as comfortable as your own.
- Balance due, if not already paid in full.
Please do not bring valuables. Engaged Encounter is not responsible for personal items brought to the weekend.
Check-in for the weekend begins at 7:00 PM on Friday. Please arrive with plenty of time to spare to check in, pay your balance, and find your rooms. The weekend presentations promptly at 8:00 PM.
Weekends end Sunday at 3:00 PM.
Copies of the weekend schedule will be posted in the Monastery during the retreat. Each couple will also receive two workbooks to use throughout the retreat. These are yours to keep. The workbook provides an outline of the retreat and topics covered. Due to varying factors, such as meal times, slight differences in presenter’s length on topics, we are unable to provide exact timing of each presentation. Most presentations, individual reflection and couple reflection time total about 60-90 minutes.
YES, it is very important that you stay for the entire retreat. If you arrive late or leave early, you will miss important parts of the retreat experience, and we will not be able to give you your certificate of completion of the retreat.
Yes, we do ask that you observe a few basic rules.
- Please refrain from the use of alcohol and illegal drugs.
- Please respect this is a Catholic retreat – we ask that you dress appropriately.
- Please remember the weekend is presented at a Catholic facility and be respectful of your surroundings.
- 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.
Dress for the entire weekend is casual. Please dress comfortably. We will attend Mass during the weekend, and we ask that everyone dress appropriately for the chapel. We would prefer that gentlemen not wear shorts in the chapel and that ladies dress conservatively.
Designated, outdoors smoking areas will be indicated during the weekend. We ask that you please not use any tobacco products, electronic cigarettes or vaporizers in interior areas of the facility.
Planning a wedding can be a fun and exciting time. It can also be stressful. Catholic Engaged Encounter is designed to help you focus on your upcoming marriage and what it means to become a sacrament. While couples spend the majority of the retreat together – there is not much free time. The focus of the weekend is mutual discussion on important topics related to marriage. Couples should plan to start their day a little earlier and work a little later than they typically would on an average weekend at home.
Catholic Engaged Encounter offers a weekend-long retreat away from the hustle and bustle of life, where you can focus on each other, your relationship, and what it means to become a sacrament. As such we ask that couples refrain from using electronic devices as much as possible – including cell phones.
No, the purpose of the Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend is to interact with and talk with your fiancé about issues you may not have already discussed. If your fiancé is not present, you will be unable to complete the program.
FOCCUS is not part of the Catholic Engaged Encounter program. The FOCCUS survey should be completed and the results thereof should be discussed with your priest / diocese and representative before you attend the Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend.
Engaged Encounter retreats can involve close contact and interaction with other engaged couples or our presenting couples. At our retreat space at the Visitation Monastery in Mobile, we gather for discussions in a communal area, eat meals together, and attend Mass together. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we at Mobile Catholic Engaged Encounter have decided to suspend in-person activities. Our community is scheduling online weekends with a continued emphasis on your relationship as an engaged couple and your impending sacramental commitment with God at its center.
Make a Reservation
If your reservation is not paid in full at least 2 weeks before the start date of the weekend, it will automatically be cancelled without the possibility of re-booking. All cancellations earlier than 2 weeks before your scheduled weekend will incur a $50.00 administrative processing fee. If you cancel less than 2 weeks before your scheduled weekend, we are unable to issue any refund due to the policy restrictions at the retreat house.
To submit a reservation request, please fill out the form below. We will respond to confirm your request via e-mail with details for payment. Please be prepared to provide your $50 deposit within 2 weeks by either paper check or by PayPal. If you do not receive a confirmation e-mail within 24 hours, please contact us.
Please note that in-person activities are suspended. Until further notice, we are conducting all retreats in an online format via video conference.
Meet the Presenters
Volunteer for CEE
Our community is always looking for charitable people to donate their time to our ministry. We often reach out to ask for prayers for the engaged couples that attend our weekend. The couple will receive a personal note card with the name(s) of those praying for them. This ministry can be fulfilled from the comfort of your own home!
If you have a strong call to serve our community, you and your spouse may be interested in serving as a team couple. Serving as a team couple involves writing talks on topics using your personal marital experience. To serve as a team couple, you and your spouse must be a couple in good standing with the Catholic Church.
If you would like to be a face in our community, but aren’t called to be a team couple you may be interested in serving as a host couple. Host couples arrive before the weekend starts to help engaged couples to their rooms at the retreat center. This commitment involves an hour or two of your time, but serves as a warm welcome to the engaged couples we serve.
Our community relies on the generous support of individuals like yourself to make our weekends accessible to all engaged couples. Couples with financial hardships appreciate your help in covering the cost of the retreat house, meals, and the workbooks they need to make the most of the weekend. If you feel called to support our ministry, please use the link below to give within your means. Our community appreciates your consideration and support!
Get in Touch
Please contact us if you have any questions. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!