Our Vocation – Marriage – could use a Retreat

Recently, the priests in our Diocese went away on “convocation” for a week. Was this a vacation or was it a retreat? it was probably both.  Does the Bishop send the priests on convocation every year because he understands their vocation of Holy Orders will be renewed?  Of course. Are the priests refreshed and rested? Yes indeed. And do Religious sisters in their communities take a yearly retreat? Yes, they do. What a great tradition!

So why don’t married couples nourish their Sacrament, their vocation with a retreat? Well, Marriage Encounter offers one. The Weekend together renews our vocation to each other. And what about attending a retreat annually? Why not?

All marriages could benefit from a yearly reminder of the important aspects of respect, love, forgiveness, and better communication. Why not attend a Marriage Encounter weekend every year or two? We call this an “anniversary weekend.” Make yours today. There is a retreat made just for YOU this November 10-12. Find a petsitter, call a grandparent, make it happen to make your marriage…your vocation a priority.

“Our marriage is fine.”

Is this the answer you give when asked “How is your marriage?” What if we told you that there is something better?

Every marriage deserves to be more than just ‘fine.’ Your marriage can be great! On Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekends all over the world, couples just like you are working hard to build stronger relationships and become powerful examples of true love and commitment. You can be one of these couples too!  Sign up for one of our upcoming Weekends and come find out what God has in store for you and your spouse.

Help us help you!

Worldwide Marriage Encounter is all about the couples who attend.  We wish we could hold weekends for any number of couples; however, given fixed costs and some of our hotel contractual obligations, we need to have a minimum number of couples in order to be able to responsibly make a weekend happen.

This is where you can really help us out.  In the event that we have not reached a minimum number of confirmed registrations for a weekend by three weeks out, we will have no choice but to cancel that weekend.  We understand it isn’t always possible to know that far in advance for everyone, but the more who do make the commitment more than three weeks in advance, the better the likelihood the weekend will go.

January 2017 is a prime example.  At the three week mark, we were perilously close to canceling the weekend.  On the basis of some advertising, grassroots inviting, and prayer, we called it a “go” anyway and sat on pins and needles hoping the applications would continue to come in.  This time around, we were blessed and they did.  So much so, in fact, that the weekend filled completely.  If even just a few of the 11 (!) couples who registered after the three week mark had registered just a little earlier, we could have avoided any question the weekend would have been viable.

Help us to help you.  Please sign up for your weekend more than three weeks before the date.  For your reference, the three week mark for our April 7 weekend is March 17.  Make St. Patrick proud and sign up early!

Former WWME International Leaders at the Synod in Rome

We are excited to share that Cathy and Tony Witczak, the immediate past Worldwide Marriage Encounter (WWME) International Ecclesial Team Couple, were invited by Pope Francis to participate as observers at the Synod of Bishops on the family, being held in Rome through Oct. 26.
Our San Diego Encounter is invited to pray for them throughout the course of the Synod, focusing specifically on 10/12 with the rest of our Region 11, as well as on 10/17 for the Synod and the USET process as well.
Read more about Cathy and Tony’s involvement at the synod at http://catholicphilly.com/2015/10/news/local-news/philadelphia-couple-joins-rome-synod-as-marriage-experts/.

The Road Less Traveled

We often say that the couples who have just made a Worldwide Marriage Encounter weekend are the best testimony of the impact the weekend can have on your relationship. In the case of Joe LaCombe, a Catholic writer and volunteer in Adult Faith Formation from Indianapolis, he puts so eloquently how much the weekend meant to him and his wife Kristy.

We invite you to read his reflection: The Road Less Traveled.



Worldwide Marriage Encounter is a positive and personal experience for a couple, which offers them a technique of loving communication that they can use for the rest of their lives. It’s an opportunity to look deeply into their relationship with each other and with God. It’s a time to share their feelings, their hopes, fears, frustrations, and joys.Worldwide Marriage Encounter is not a professional counseling service. It is not a retreat, nor is it a marriage clinic or sensitivity course. It is not a time to look at the past, but rather to look to your future together. The weekend is a positive, simple, common sense experience between a husband and wife that revitalizes marriage.

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Marriage: Tools and Support

I’m a Certified Holistic Health Counselor, which is basically a nutritionist who gets to talk about more than food. While a nutritionist gives their clients lists of foods to eat and not eat, I get to coach clients on lifestyle, relationship and spiritual growth to be naturally healthy. I think it will come as no surprise that everyone knows to drink water, eat fruits and veggies and exercise. So then why are some people overweight and unhealthy? People do not lack the knowledge. Rather, the answer is that they lack the tools and support to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. That’s where I come in as a health coach- I give people the tools and support that they need. For instance, if you set a health goal for yourself, wouldn’t it be helpful if someone checked in with you every two weeks, gave you concrete tasks and listened to you as a means of support? We could all use a Health Coach, right?

In much the same way, we need a “Coach” to maintain healthy marriages today. Marriage Encounter provides the tools and support we need to thrive as a ” healthy couple.” Most couples have the knowledge to make it….we should love our spouse through good and bad times, we should spend quality time together, go on the occasional date and talk about things other than taking out the garbage. What we lack, again like the healthy lifestyle, are the tools and support to maintain it.

When Kris and I were encountered in 2008, we looked like a very healthy, married couple. We had two small children and a strong bond. We went out on dates every other Monday. However, we knew that our communication was often strained and that when we waited too long to discuss a topic, it could grow into a potential argument or fight.

Marriage Encounter immediately acted as the “health coach” for our relationship.  So what tools and support did we need? Marriage Encounter provided a tool for daily communication and the support of a faith zone or prayer community that is vital to the maintenance of a healthy marriage. After making the weekend, we learned exactly how to continue on our own at home to maintain healthy communication, loving touch, relationship building and our couple power. These tools and support counteract the damaging messages that our pop culture disciminates, such as materialism and sex without intimacy. We use what we learned on our weekend and practice it daily. Marriage Encounter allows Kris and me to live our best married life.