Congratulations on your engagement and welcome to the Catholic Engaged Encounter (CEE) of El Paso – Las Cruces Community! CEE was started by the Diocese of El Paso in 1976 and we have been serving the El Paso Diocese since then. In addition in 1982 we also started serving the Diocese of Las Cruces. CEE Retreats are presented in English. The retreat is for a man and woman (couple) in preparation for their Sacramental Marriage based on the teachings and values of the Roman Catholic Church. While CEE is Catholic in nature; it is open to all faith couples. We warmly welcome any engaged couple that needs to complete a pre-cana program for marriage in the Catholic Church. Currently, we are only presenting in a Zoom format until further notice.
Our community currently hosts six (6) retreats per year and has seven (7) team couples that volunteer their time to share the gift of marriage with engaged couples. We are also very blessed and thankful to have priests that serve our program when they are available. Our retreats are typically held at the Holy Cross Retreat Center at 600 Holy Cross Rd., Mesilla Park, NM 88047 (https://holycrossretreat.org/).
FOCCUS is not part of the Catholic Engaged Encounter program. The FOCCUS survey should be completed and the results thereof should be discussed with your priest / diocese and representative before you attend the Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend.
We recommend the using the “earlier the better” policy. Many parishes require you to start marriage prep at least 6 months in advance. As soon as you are engaged, or even considering engagement, it is the right time to attend a retreat. By attending early, you can discover areas of growth necessary in your relationship, determine if engagement and marriage is right for you and avoid the last-minute hassles of attending a retreat while trying to do everything else your wedding day entails.
Catholic Engaged Encounter is designed to provide couples getting married the tools needed for a successful marriage. The retreat is open to any engaged couple wanting to prepare for a deeper, more meaningful life together in a marriage recognized by the Catholic Church according to its Church law.
In person retreats are $235 per couple with an overnight stay at Retreat Center and includes meals. This will be a two-day retreat. Virtual Zoom Retreats are $125.00 per couple.
The retreat is not group therapy, instead, it provides private one-on-one time for the couple to learn about each other and marriage based on 5 major themes: The Family we Grew Up In, Sacramental Marriage, Communications, Intimacy – more than just sex, and Values. Couples learn about these 5 major themes through a series of presentations given by married couples. After each presentation, both fiancé’s are given time to individually reflect and write on the topic covered. Couples then are given time to privately reflect as a couple. Couples are never required to share with the group.
We suggest you bring the following items with you:
- Wear comfortable casual clothing;
- Bring a snack to place on the shared snack table which will be available in the conference room (water, tea, and coffee will be provided);
- A six pack of your favorite soda, energy or sports drink;
- A reusable cup to enjoy coffee and water during the retreat;
- Any snack or drink items for your own personal consumption
Please arrive by 8:00 AM on Saturday to sign in, be issued information and lodging room assignment.
Weekends end Sunday at 5:00pm.
Each couple will receive two notebooks to use throughout the retreat. These are yours to keep. The workbook provides an outline of the retreat and topics covered. Due to varying factors, such as meal times, slight differences in presenter’s length on topics, we are unable to provide exact timing of each presentation. Most presentations, individual reflection and couple reflection time total about 60-90 minutes.
YES, it is very important that you stay for the entire retreat. If you arrive late or leave early, you will miss important parts of the retreat experience, and we will not be able to give you your certificate of completion of the retreat.
Yes, we do ask that you observe a few basic rules.
- Please refrain from the use of alcohol and illegal drugs.
- Please respect this is a Catholic retreat – we ask that you dress appropriately. While presentation are given, please do not wear hats that are high which will obstruct the view from the couple seated behind you.
- Please remember the weekend is presented at a Catholic facility and be respectful of your surroundings.
- Please do not leave the weekend, for any reason, unless an emergency arises. If you need to leave, before leaving please personally speak to one of the team members.
Dress for the entire weekend is casual. Please dress comfortably. We will attend Mass during the weekend, however casual attire is acceptable.
Catholic Engaged Encounter is a smoke free environment, and due to state law all of our facilities prohibit smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes. If you do smoke, each facility has designated smoking areas outside of the building. Additionally, as a sign of respect, we ask that you please refrain from using e-cigarettes or vaping inside the facilities as well.
Planning a wedding can be a fun and exciting time. It can also be stressful. Catholic Engaged Encounter offers a weekend-long retreat away from the hustle and bustle of life, where you can focus on each other, your relationship, and what it means to become a sacrament. While couples spend the majority of the retreat together – there is not much free time. Couples should plan to start their day a little earlier and work a little later than they typically would on an average weekend at home.
Catholic Engaged Encounter offers a weekend-long retreat away from the hustle and bustle of life, where you can focus on each other, your relationship, and what it means to become a sacrament. As such we ask that couples refrain from using electronic devices as much as possible – including cell phones.
No, the purpose of the Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend is to interact with and talk with your fiance about issues you may not have already discussed. If your fiance is not present, you will be unable to complete the program.
Once a weekend is full, a waiting list is generated in date-order of requests received. If there are cancellations on the full weekend, slots will be filled in the order of requests received. Please email at email@example.com or call 915-633-9968 with any questions.
Due to the pandemic the Dioceses has allowed us to present virtually. Once we are authorization, will we return to in person retreats. In the meantime, only if and when a Virtual Retreat is scheduled; it be posted on the registration site. If none are shown; none will be given. A Virtual Retreat is a lively process of listening, interaction with presenters, writing and discussion time with your fiancé. At a traditional weekend, you would be unavailable to the outside world so it is very important to capture the same peaceful feeling at home that you would have at the retreat center. Our Virtual Retreat are presented on two weekends approximately 5 hours on Saturday & Sunday on both weekends. 20 hours in total and includes a prayer service and Virtual Mass. For further information, please email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 915-633-9968.
Additional Catholic Engaged Encounter weekends are held in nearby dioceses. Check other CEE communities for additional locations and dates on the national website.
Online Zoom Virtual Retreats are “ONLY” being offered at the present time. Payment for the virtual retreat covers all materials which will be mailed to the person listed as to “Whom shall we Contact” on your registration.
We hope to offer in person retreat in the near future. Payment for the 2-day in person retreat covers all materials and Saturday and Sunday meals. You will also have an overnight lodging and assigned with another person (Males will room with males and females will room with females). There are no exceptions even if you are civilly married. As per Church Doctrine you are not married until you are Sacramentally married. We want you the to prepare yourselves as engaged couples.
Your reservation is not booked until you pay in full. To secure your seats, please pay as soon. Credit or Debit card processing through PayPal is the fastest form of payment accepted and can be used even if you don’t have a PayPal account!
If your reservation is not paid in full, it will automatically be cancelled and will require resubmission. If you request a cancellation more than 2 weeks before your scheduled weekend, your registration fee will be refunded minus a $25.00 administrative processing fee.
Financial Aid is available for emergency reasons only. If you need assistance, please email email@example.com to begin the process. You will be emailed a form to be taken to your priest for his verification and approval. No couple will ever be turned away because of lack of funds.
- Refunds will be granted when:
- You cancel your original confirmed retreat before 180 Days of your original registration date; a credit will be issued to your credit or debit card for the full amount, minus a $25.00 cancelation transaction fee.
- Alternatively, a “one-time” rescheduling option will be offered at no additional charge.
- If you cancel your original confirmed retreat after 180 days from your original online registration date; a refund check will be mailed to you minus a $25.00 cancelation transaction fee. The check will be mailed to the person who made the original online payment.
- Alternatively, a “one-time” rescheduling option will be offered at no additional charge.
- No Refunds will be granted when:
- You do not show up for your original confirmed weekend date. This option does not qualify for a rescheduling option and no refunds will be issued.
You agree that by registering and submitting payment that you release Catholic Engaged Encounter of El Paso – Las Cruces, Inc, along with its volunteers, from any and all liability associated in any way with your attendance at the weekend program.
You consent to interview(s), photography, audio recording, video recording and its/their release, publication, exhibition, or reproduction to be used for news, web casts, promotional purposes, telecasts, advertising, inclusion on websites, social media, or any other purpose by CEE and its affiliates and representatives. Images, photos and/or videos may be used to promote similar CEE events in the future, highlight the event and exhibit the capabilities of CEE. You release CEE, its officers, and volunteers, and each and all persons involved from any liability connected with the taking, recording, digitizing, or publication and use of interviews, photographs, computer images, video and/or or sound recordings.
2022 Zoom Retreats Only (Total of 4 days completed on 2 Back to Back Weekends)
Volunteer for CEE
Our community is always looking for charitable people to donate their time to our ministry. If you have a strong call to serve our community, you and your spouse may be interested in serving as a team couple. Serving as a team couple involves writing talks on topics using your personal marital experience. To serve as a team couple, you and your spouse must be a couple in good standing with the Catholic Church.
If you would like to be a face in our community, but aren’t called to be a team couple you may be interested in serving as a host couple. Host couples arrive before the weekend starts to help engaged couples to their rooms at the retreat center. This commitment involves an hour or two of your time, but serves as a warm welcome to the engaged couples we serve.
Our community relies on the generous support of individuals like yourself to make our retreats accessible to all engaged couples. Couples with financial hardships appreciate your help in covering the cost of the retreat house lodging, meals, notebooks and other materials they need to make the most of the retreat. If you feel called to support our ministry, please use the link below to give within your means. Our community appreciates your consideration and support!
Get in Touch
Please message us or call 915-633-9968 if you have any questions. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!