The Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend is a positive and personal experience offering married couples an opportunity to learn a technique of loving communication that they can use for the rest of their lives. It is a chance to look deeply into their relationship with each other and with God. It is a time to share their feelings, hopes and dreams with each other.
The emphasis of the Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend is on the communication between husbands and wives. The weekend provides a conducive environment for couples to spend time together, away from the distractions and tensions of everyday life, while encouraging them to focus on each other and their relationship.
It is not a retreat, marriage clinic, group sensitivity, or a substitute for counseling. It is a unique approach aimed at revitalizing Marriage.
This is a time for you and your spouse to be alone together, to rediscover each other and together focus on your relationship for an entire weekend. Every marriage deserves that kind of attention!
"Parish-based" and "Non-Residential" weekends mean the same thing: These are weekends for which there is no overnight stay. The format of the weekend is identical. Each "style" of weekend has its advantages. It is important to choose the weekend that is right for you.
A Residential weekend (most WWME Weekends are Residential weekends) provides a relaxing environment in which the spouses are able to utilize their private hotel or retreat center room overnight and during the day with plenty of room to work on their relationship. The separation from daily worries is carried throughout the weekend and allows the couples to focus only on each other.
On a non-residential or parish-based weekend a private space is assigned, but usually a classroom without the comforts of a bed as there is no overnight stay. Couples will need to travel home each night and commit to being back for the start of the next day’s sessions. While the residential option is ideal because it shelters couples from all home distractions, the non-residential is very attractive and makes the weekend experience possible for couples who may not have a babysitter who can watch a child overnight.
The primary benefit for priests and religious who attend a weekend, is a better understanding of Family Life Ministries within their parishes/churches. Furthermore, there is a very high correlation of couples who attend a Weekend, and later become actively involved in their parish communities. This is primarily due to a better understanding for their Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
Those attending a Marriage Encounter weekend learn not only about the sacrament of Matrimony, but also learn of the sacrament of Holy Orders. Collectively the Sacraments at the Service of Communion... or union (Catechism of the Catholic Church, ch. 3, Pt. 2). The weekend in all reality is focused on the integral relationship of both sacraments, their similarities, and their collective benefit to the Church and our Catholic community.
Compound these intrinsic benefits with statistical success... the divorce rate in the United States today is 52%. The divorce rate among couples who have attended a Marriage Encounter Weekend is less than 2% nationwide.
We have a dream that all Priests and other religious in our diocese experience a Weekend. These individuals subsequently recognize that couples and clergy who attend a weekend have a deeper understanding and appreciation of themselves, their spouse (or community if religious), and their relationship with God. Our goal is to have more Priests and religious attend the weekend, to appreciate their ministry, and perhaps find new ways to help assist married couples in their parishes.
It is like many marriage enrichment programs, however Worldwide Marriage Encounter is unique in that a series of presentations is given by a team of Catholic couples and a priest. Each presentation allows you to look at yourself as an individual, and then to look at your relationship to those with whom you live and work and to whom you minister. Finally, you are led to look at your relationship with God, the Church as a whole, and the world. Married couples view all these relationships in terms of their own vocation, but the principles are freely applicable to the priesthood and religious life as well. The atmosphere is relaxed and non-invasive. Most participants say they are hardly aware of the others in attendance.
"Dialogue" is the communication technique taught on the Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend. A priest/religious who is making the Weekend dialogues with the priest on the ministry team, or another priest/religious who is also making the Weekend.
The Encounter weekend teaches a communication technique that allows each person to explore their relationship to the "significant other(s)" in their lives. For spouses, that means each other. For you as a priest, it means everyone you have dedicated your life to serving. This new way of communication is both specific and adaptable. You will be able to use it in virtually every relationship and situation..
On the weekend, you will be asked to make a donation. This donation will cover the expenses of lodging, food, and materials for the Weekend. Ordinarily a non-refundable application fee of $25-$100 is required to confirm your application, food and lodging. There is limited capacity; so early application is encouraged. The application fee varies from area based on the local area lodging requirements.
No priest or couple is ever denied the chance to experience a Weekend because of financial difficulties. This concern should not influence your decision to attend a Marriage Encounter Weekend. Worldwide Marriage Encounter is a tax-exempt organization. The application fee can be waived based on financial need.
The Internal Revenue Service has ruled that donations made in connection with the Weekend, including the non-refundable deposit mentioned above, are deductible only to the extent that the contribution exceeds the amount of goods and services received. Information as to that amount will be given to couples attending the Weekend. Contributions made on or in connection with the Marriage Encounter weekend are made confidentially.
We are in the process of building a network of priests, by area, who are willing to fill in for others who wish to attend a Weekend. If you need such assistance, indicate this when you call or send in your reservation. And plan to spend some time with us soon, to expand and deepen your priestly communication.
The movement began as a way of improving communication between husbands and wives. But as insights grew, it became apparent that the techniques used in the sessions could benefit anyone whose vocation involves close, caring communication with others. It is considered the first marriage enrichment program and has been updated on a continual basis to reflect the current marriage environment.
Any married couple who desires a richer, fuller life together. A marriage can never be too good. Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a marriage enrichment program, is designed to deepen and enrich the joys a couple share together, whether they have been married for only a short time, or for many years. Priests and other religious are also welcome and encouraged to attend!
Applying for a weekend is simple: Follow this link to find a weekend near you and then fill out the application form.
The Weekend normally starts around 7:30pm on Friday and ends around 4:30pm on Sunday. We provide all meals on Saturday along with breakfast and lunch on Sunday You will need to eat dinner prior to arriving on Friday.
The cost of the weekend varies from area to area, but everyone is encouraged to come regardless of their financial situation.