Catholic Engaged Encounter

of Lafayette, La.

A Wedding is a Day, A Marriage is a Lifetime…

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What is Catholic Engaged Encounter?

Catholic Engaged Encounter (CEE) is recognized, both nationally and internationally, as a highly effective program providing quality marriage preparation designed to meet the needs of today's engaged couples.

It is an intensive weekend of work during which each couple is offered the time and opportunity to question, examine, and deepen their relationship with each other and with God. Couples are challenged to explore their relationship in a much deeper, more honest way than they may have before.

Topics covered during the weekend include self-awareness, human sexuality, communication, decision making, family planning, vocation, sacrament, unity and more. The weekend 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.

CEE is comprised totally of volunteers and has grown since its founding in 1975 from a few dozen couples and priests in just a few dioceses to several thousand working within the ministry to the pre-married. Catholic Engaged Encounter has moved from just several dioceses to almost all major dioceses within the United States.

See what some couples have said about their Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend experience on this YouTube video. WATCH HERE

2024 Retreat Dates

If you are interested in one of our dates please feel free to register and pay online here, or to register and pay by check or money order click here.

All retreats are held at Acadian Baptist Center, at 1202 Academy Drive, Richard, LA

If none of these dates fit your schedule, visit the Baton Rouge Catholic Engaged Encounter website to see their weekend dates.


Acadian Baptist Center

The scenic grounds of Acadian Baptist Center (ABC), are located in Richard, Louisiana, in rural Acadia Parish. The retreat center includes dorms, cafeteria and meeting rooms, as well as a gymnasium, swimming pool, nature walk, pond and recreation room. For more information about ABC, visit their website. If you need to be reached at ABC in case of an emergency, the phone number is (337) 457-9047.

From Alexandria

Take I-49 South towards Opelousas. Exit Hwy 190 West (Exit 19) towards Eunice for approximately 16 miles. Turn left onto Hwy 367. Go 5 miles and turn left at the flashing light onto Hwy 370. Go 1/4 mile to Acadian Baptist Center.

From Lafayette

Take I-10 West towards Lake Charles. Exit Hwy 35 North at Rayne (Exit 87). Go North towards Church Point for approximately 6 miles. Turn left at flashing light onto Hwy 365 and go approximately 3.9 miles to Hwy 367. Turn right and go approximately 4.3 miles to a flashing light at Hwy 370. Turn right and go 1/4 mile to Acadian Baptist Center. It takes about 60 minutes from Lafayette.

From Lake Charles

Take I-10 East towards Lafayette. Exit at Crowley on Hwy 13 (Exit 80). Go North on Hwy 13 approximately 15 miles. Turn right onto Hwy 370 towards Richard. Go 5 miles to Acadian Baptist Center.

From Opelousas

Take Hwy 190 West towards Eunice for approximately 16 miles. Turn left on Hwy 367. Go 5 miles and turn left at the flashing light onto Hwy 370. Go 1/4 mile to Acadian Baptist Center.

Once at ABC:
ABC is on both sides of HWY 370. Catholic Engaged Encounter weekends take place on the right (south side) of HWY 370. Look for the white "Engaged Encounter" sign.


Why should we attend a Catholic Engaged Encounter?

Our motto sums up why: "A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime." People spend thousands of dollars and months of preparation on their wedding, just one day. But how much time is actually spent preparing for a lifetime of togetherness? While the 44 hours that you will spend at the retreat center are hardly enough, they will give you an excellent start in understanding that good marriages don't just happen, they have to be developed.

Do we have to stay the whole weekend?

Yes. Please arrive at the retreat center no later than 6:45 p.m. Friday. The retreat should finish no later than 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Please arrange your schedules accordingly.

What happens on a weekend?

Through a series of talks presented by a team of two married couples and a priest, the engaged couples are invited to reflect privately on major aspects of married life, always from the viewpoint of their own relationship. Couples are given the opportunity to question, examine and deepen their relationship with each other. Through a series of writing and sharing exercises the couples are challenged to explore many areas of their relationship in a much deeper, more honest way than they may have before. Each couple concentrates on each other. Personal reflection and dialogue are the main emphasis of the weekend. Couples are there to work at deepening their level of commitment and communication with each other as a couple. The weekend is not a social event, with the exception of meals and breaks.

How much group discussion will there be?

There are no group dynamics. The weekend is specifically designed for private discussion between the couple. However, there are a few opportunities for you to participate in a group discussion if you choose.

Do we have to share personally with the team?

No. We are not counselors. The team shares with you some of their experiences of married life, not for you to get to know them, but to stimulate you to consider and discuss with your fiancé things that are relevant to your couple relationship.

When should we attend our weekend?

It's best to attend at least six months prior to your wedding date so that you will not be distracted by preparations for the upcoming ceremony. This will also give you time to reschedule in the event that you must postpone your retreat date.

Do we have to be Catholic to attend?

No. Although the weekend is designed for couples planning to be married in the Catholic Church, it is open to couples of any faith and it has been beneficial to them.

How much does the weekend cost?

The cost of the weekend is $200 per couple. Of that, $100 must be paid up front in a non-refundable deposit. Your fee covers all expenses on the weekend. The remaining $100 is to be paid when arriving at the retreat center or at least 10 days prior to your retreat date. We do our best to manage expenses wisely to keep the weekend in Lafayette one of the most affordable in the United States.

What should we pack and wear?

Separate sleeping facilities for men and women are provided at the retreat center. Pack separately and bring casual clothes that will be comfortable for the season. Jeans, t-shirts, shorts and sneakers are acceptable. Variations in air conditioning make it a good idea to bring sweaters. There are no formal gatherings requiring dresses, coats or ties. Meals on Saturday and Sunday will be provided. Also, please plan to bring the following items:

Where is the retreat center?

You should receive your registration confirmation 7-10 days before the weekend, which includes directions to Acadian Baptist Center. You can also find them here.


National Catholic Engaged Encounter Website: — Find out more about the national organization of Catholic Engaged Encounter and locate CEE communities near you.

Diocese of Lafayette: — CEE of Lafayette serves couples in the Lafayette, Louisiana Diocese.

Marriage Encounter: — Marriage Encounter is a program for married couples that is similar to CEE. Find out more about this wonderful retreat for married couples.

Couple to Couple League: — Find out more about Natural Family Planning and classes in your area.

Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court: — Information on obtaining your marriage license if your wedding is in Lafayette Parish.

Catechism of the Catholic Church: — "A sure norm for teaching the faith." - Pope John Paul II

Retrouvaille: — A lifeline for married couples to help them heal and renew their own marriage relationship.

Beginning Experience: — For the widowed, separated and divorced

For Your Marriage: — An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Looking to help out?

WE WANT share our vision of Sacramental Marriage in the Church!

Catholic Engaged Encounter is a vibrant, spiritual and effective marriage preparation ministry that has served the Lafayette Diocese since 1978. CEE offers an excellent opportunity for committed Catholic married couples to volunteer together, as husband and wife and serve as a team.

As a team, you can have a positive impact on engaged couples who are beginning a life-long commitment to living their Sacrament in the Church.

Each year, the Lafayette CEE community serves about 250 couples by presenting weekend retreats focused on building positive relationship skills and keeping God at the center of their marriages. This effort involves many tasks and requires an on-going commitment by our active members. Attendance at monthly meetings, for community planning and team enrichments, as well as active participation in supporting the retreat preparations are two ways that you can become part of our family.

Types of Involvement

Your involvement in CEE can be tailored to fit your interests, talents and time available, by serving in the following ways:

Support Teams

Support teams play many important "behind the scenes" roles to ensure that the weekend operations run smoothly. They help set up before the retreat, contact couples to welcome the engaged couples at the beginning of the CEE weekend and register the couples on the weekend.

Presenting Teams

It is the experiences of presenting teams and how they share them with the engaged couples that are at the heart of the CEE weekend. Working from an outline, teams incorporate their experiences into talks they present throughout the weekend. Presenting teams need to correctly represent and publicly support the Catholic Church's theology, traditions and teachings, including Pro-Life and family planning issues. New couples are paired with experienced teams who help them prepare their presentations.

How to Get Started

Couples preparing for marriage need to have realistic expectations of the challenges they will face and the tools to deal with those challenges. That's why couple volunteers with real life experience are so important to this ministry. If you are concerned about building strong families and you would like to work to help make marriages better and longer lasting, THIS IS FOR YOU!

For more information, please contact us

Still Have Questions? Contact Us!

To register for a weekend or for questions about attending the weekend:

Mike & Phyllis Totaro — — (337) 962-5798

Catholic Engaged Encounter Lafayette - Local Coordinators (all other inquiries):

Tom & Geraldine Rizzuto — — (337) 984-7954

Questions about this website: