This FAQ gives a good general idea of what happens on a “typical” Catholic Engaged Encounter Weekend. This is for a community that presents Friday through Sunday afternoon weekends at Retreat Houses. Some communities hold weekends in hotels, and the logistics are different.
Some communities offer non-residential weekends, that is to say, participants do not stay overnight at the weekend venue. For example, the Vancouver community begins some of their weekends on Saturday morning at 8 am and concludes Sunday at 4pm.
Check with the local community through their webpage (in the Communities menu above) or contact them via e-mail.
What should we bring to the weekend?
Please be sure to bring the following items with you:
• Comfortable casual clothing
• Toiletries, medicines and other personal items
• A snack and drink (e.g., soft drink, juice, water) to place on the shared snack table which will be available in the conference room
• Any snack or drink items for your own personal consumption
What supplies does EE provide for the weekend?
The following items will be provided on the weekend. You do NOT need to bring these items:
• Linens (towels, sheets, pillows, blankets, etc.)
• Notebook and pen
What time should we arrive?
Please arrive between 7:00 and 7:30 p.m. if at all possible; the weekend will begin at 8:00 p.m. Because we are on a tight schedule, we cannot wait for couples who arrive late. If there is an emergency and you must be late, please call a presenting couple’s cell phone (from your earlier phone conversation with them) or call the retreat center number.
What time does the weekend end?
The weekend typically ends, with a closing Mass, between 3 and 4 pm on Sunday. In special or unusual circumstances, our schedule may change, but the weekend should still run no later no 4 pm.
Do we have to stay for the entire weekend?
It is very important that you stay for the entire weekend. If you arrive late or leave early you will miss important parts of the weekend experience, and we will not be able to give you your weekend certificate and letter verifying your attendance.
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.
Will dinner be served on Friday evening?
No, dinner will not be served on Friday. The dining room will not be open until Saturday morning. On Saturday, three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) will be served. On Sunday, two meals (breakfast and lunch) will be served.
Can you accommodate my special diet needs?
Our cooks will do their best to accommodate your needs – but we cannot guarantee that we can meet all requirements. You must first enquire about any special needs with the registration contact for the community. If you are a vegetarian, please let a team member know. Also, when you arrive, or at breakfast on Saturday, please speak to the cook about your personal needs.
Will I have a roommate?
Yes, you will have a roommate of the same sex as yourself. This does not apply at a retreat center which has single rooms. While we recognize that couples may already be living together, you will not be permitted to share a room with your fiancé while on the weekend.
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. There are no locks on the doors.
What about shower facilities?
Common shower facilities are located in the hall. The shower facilities are also much like those found in a college dormitory. For this reason, we suggest that you pack toiletries in a carrying case. You may also want to bring shower flip flops.
What should we wear?
Dress for the entire weekend is casual. Please dress comfortably. While you are welcome to do so, there is no need to change for dinner or Mass.
Where can I smoke?
All of our facilities prohibit smoking. You may, however, smoke in the designated area outside of the building.
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.
Is there an emergency number?
If you need to contact the facility because of an emergency, or if someone needs to get hold of you in an emergency, please use the phone numbers listed on the Community page. You can also contact one of the team couples who will be presenting your weekend at the numbers provided on the letter you will receive.