History and Growth
The National Organization of Catholic 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! From these humble beginnings, Catholic Engaged Encounter has grown to be an international organization that serves thousands of couples each year. 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.
The National Organization 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.
Catholic Engaged Encounter in Cincinnati and Covington
The Cincinnati community was one of earliest communities to offer Catholic Engaged Encounter weekends. The first weekend was presented in December of 1975 and had eight couples attending. By the following year, the number of weekends offered had grown to four. Engaged Encounter of Covington began with some assistance from the Cincinnati Engaged Encounter community. The first Covington weekend was presented in June of 1981. Several devoted couples started it and did all of the jobs (presenting, setting up, purchasing supplies, etc.) until more couples became involved. In January, 2016, the Cincinnati and Covington communities merged to become a single community. A total of eight weekends are offered at two locations (Norwood, OH and Melbourne, KY). Each weekend is attended by 22-25 engaged couples. Most of the couples who present the talks on the weekend are couples who have been through the Engaged Encounter weekend experience themselves.
Our Motto: "A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime." Most people spend months planning and many dollars preparing for their wedding. Catholic Engaged Encounter is about preparing for what most hope will last 50 or 60 years –.
Our Purpose: Our purpose is 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.