Engaged Encounter is a an energized community of volunteer couples, religious, and clergy whose common bond is our belief in the sacrament of marriage and family life. We provide a working weekend retreat format designed to create a focus on private couple communication.

Hawaii Catholic Engaged Encounter Mission Statement:

Drawing from the Catholic belief in the sacrament of matrimony, we affirm that our ministry is to offer a solid foundation for the vocation of married life. We commit to living this sacrament through strengthening our marriages. By sharing our sacrament we witness to the love of God revealed in Christ’s love for his church. Through our discerned commitment to Engaged Encounter, we form a community that nourishes us for this purpose.

What is Catholic Engaged Encounter?

We want to be a positive part of your engagement. We are an energized community of volunteer couples and clergy whose common bond is our belief in the sacrament of marriage and family life. We provide a working weekend retreat format designed to create a focus on private couple communication. Attendees are couples of all faiths – usually planning to marry in the Catholic Church. Last year more than 20,000 couples participated in Catholic Engaged Encounter Weekends throughout the country. They deepened their communication, reinforced their commitment and strengthened their love. Think about investing in what could be a very important part of a lifetime together.

Registration for Catholic Engaged Encounter is open to any man and woman who are free to marry.

Engaged Encounter focuses on communication in your relationship. You will learn new tools for listening, writing and enhancing your communication with each other. EE is a weekend of beginnings, of planting seeds and of opening doors. We encourage couples to reach within themselves to discover or reinforce the belief that your marriage can be forever, that love is forever, and that God wishes to be forever present in your sacramental relationship.


What Happens on an EE 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. 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.

The weekend consists of a series of presentations led by a team of married couples and a Priest or Deacon beginning Friday evening 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.

Among the subjects you will have an opportunity to discuss with each other are your ambitions, goals, attitudes about God, sex, money, children, family, and your role in the church and community. Personal reflection and couple discussion are the main focus of our weekend. Since each relationship is in a different place, your private answers will be unique and special to your relationship.

Through personal sharings, 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. We will not tell you how to live your life. 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 to continue growing closer through the years.

Why Should We Go on A Weekend?

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 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 50 or 60 years – our marriage?

Ask yourself this question, “Am I willing to spend 44 hours devoted to hearing ideas and learning skills that will help to make my marriage the best it can be?”


Initial Concerns

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 that are aligned with the mission statement of Catholic Engaged Encounter. 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 also welcome.

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

Within the Diocese of Honolulu, Engaged Encounter is a requirement as part of your marriage preparation. Our program is also frequently accepted in other Dioceses and states. At the conclusion of the weekend, you will receive a certificate to present to your priest or deacon verifying your participation.

What if We Are Civilly Married?

After you meet with your priest or deacon and he schedules your wedding, you are welcome on the weekend as you prepare for your sacramental marriage within the Church.

Do We Have to Speak In Front of the Group?

No. Engaged Encounter is non-threatening. You will be asked to introduce yourself and your fiancé. This is the only time you are required to speak in front of the group. There will be only two group discussion periods, one short and one longer. Participation is voluntary. No one is forced to speak out. The weekend is not group therapy. Your privacy will be respected. The weekend is not 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?*

O’ahu cost is $350.00 per couple which includes meals, lodging and supplies.

Neighbor island cost is $300.00 which covers meals, facility costs and supplies.

This fee can be paid online by credit/debit card or through the mail by regular check. We are unable to hold a spot for you on a given weekend date until payment is received. Online payments are confirmed immediately. If you make a payment by mail you will receive a phone call or email confirming your registration.

Financial Aid is available. Please have your priest or deacon call our local coordinators, Deacon Dave Kane Kauai Island Contact Immaculate Conception Parish (808) 245-2432 (Office hours are 8:00-12:00 p.m. M-F) to discuss the financial hardship being experienced by the couple. No couple will ever be turned away due to the lack of funds.


History of Engaged Encounter

In 1974, in response to the growing incidence of separation and divorce, the newly formed Marriage Encounter Resource Community turned their attention to marriage preparation. The group adapted the Marriage Encounter Weekend for the needs of engaged couples, and the first weekend was presented in 1975. The response was immediate. By the end of that year more than 100 couples and 50 priests were trained to give weekends throughout the United States. A lay ministry was born!

Hawaii Catholic Engaged Encounter

Two couples from here attended the initial workshop in 1975 held in Kansas City, MS, along with 35 other couples and several priests from dioceses all over the U.S. At this workshop the original outline was prepared. Our two couples brought it back to Hawaii to begin Engaged Encounter here. From these humble beginnings, Catholic Engaged Encounter has grown to be an international organization that serves thousands of couples each year.
The Hawaii EE community has grown as well. Last year 17 weekends for a total of 300 couples were presented. Our presenting couples come from many walks of life but all have one thing in common: they believe in their marriages and the commitment they made on their wedding day.

Our Purpose

To prepare engaged couples for the sacrament of marriage by providing a life-giving view of marriage and by challenging couples to communicate openly and honestly with each other. Our specific goals include:

  • To strengthen marriage and family life.
  • To help develop a contemporary theology of marriage. As married couples we have a great deal to offer from our experiences. We share these openly with the engaged couples.
  • To call our Church to a fresh view of the gift of marriage preparation.
  • To help make Catholic Engaged Encounter available in every diocese in the U.S.
  • To develop weekends which meet the languages and needs of multicultural groups.

The National Organization of Catholic Engaged Encounter strives to be a truly national family. We have an established structure, which sustains local communities and reaches out to new areas in this country and around the world. The United States national family consists of an Executive Team (a couple and a priest) who directs the activities of the United States National Board. This Board consists of teams that represent the five US districts. These five districts correspond to the five geographical regions: Northeast, Midwest, South, North Central States, and the West. For more information about Catholic Engaged Encounter in other areas, visit our national website (www.engagedencounter.org).