Marriage Encounter offering five weekends - Catholic Courier

Marriage Encounter offering five weekends

The diocesan chapter of Worldwide Marriage Encounter is offering five weekends in 2005 for couples wishing to enhance their marriages.

The first Marriage Encounter weekend will take place Feb. 11-13 at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua. Registration is limited, so couples should register as soon as possible (see contact information below).

Several openings also remain for other Marriage Encounter weekends. They will be held April 8-10 at the Park Plaza Hotel in Rochester; and June 24-26, Aug. 26-28 and Dec. 9-11, all at Notre Dame Retreat House, according to Deacon John Brasley and his wife, Belinda, who serve as Marriage Encounter coordinators for the Rochester Diocese.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter originated in Spain in the late 1960s and has operated in the Rochester Diocese for approximately three decades. Marriage Encounter is offered by many denominations, with the Catholic program being the largest one operated in the diocese’s 12-county area. Couples of all denominations are invited to participate in Catholic-sponsored Marriage Encounter weekends.

Each weekend involves 15 to 20 couples, along with presenting couples and a priest. Keynote speakers and group discussions are blended with a heavy emphasis on one-on-one verbal and written dialogue for each couple. Such themes as communication, trust, and God are among the weekend’s focal points.

The program differs from such programs as Retrouvaille, which focuses on couples “experiencing difficulty — where we”re talking about infidelity and substance abuse — and where couples are contemplating separations,” Deacon Brasley said.

Marriage Encounter, on the other hand, “is for any couple in a good marriage who wants to enrich their relationship,” he said, explaining that the program defines a good marriage as “a couple who loves each other and is committed to staying together.”

The experience of Marriage Encounter “really helps a couple with communication, and any couple can improve their communication,” Deacon Brasley remarked, adding that the weekend helps produce a connection “on a deeper level where the couple can express themselves more intimately. It really helps them to express the love that God intends for them to have in their relationships.”

Deacon Brasley added that openings are still available for the annual Lovers’ Ball, which includes many couples who have experienced Marriage Encounter. The ball will take place Friday, March 12, at the Burgundy Basin Inn in Pittsford, beginning at 6 p.m., and includes a dinner/dance and renewal of wedding vows.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For register for a weekend or the Lovers’ Ball, contact the Brasleys by calling 585/719-9848 or e-mailing to johnandbel@aol.com. Information on Worldwide Marriage Encounter also can be obtained by visiting www.WWME.org

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