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 in Detroit. 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!
Catholic Engaged Encounter of Pittsburgh is one of the founding groups. Two couples from there attended the initial workshop in March of 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 Pittsburgh to begin Engaged Encounter here. The first Pittsburgh weekend was held on May 2-4, 1975 at the Center of Hope in Monroeville. Three couples attended. The first national EE convention was held here in the basement of the then Saints Cyril & Methodius Church in McKee’s Rocks during the summer of 1975. There were 2 more EE weekends that year in Pittsburgh with 5 couples attending each.
The first EE weekend held in Reno was in August of 1989. The EE minsitry has been serving engaged couples in the Diocese of Reno ever since and continues to thrive.
From these humble beginnings, Catholic Engaged Encounter has grown to be an international organization that serves thousands of couples each year. The 25th National EE Convention was held back in Pittsburgh in honor of our first convention. Almost a thousand people attended the event then held at a major downtown hotel.
The Reno EE community has grown as well. 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 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.
- 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.