Congratulations on your engagement, and welcome to the Catholic Engaged Encounter of the Lower Hudson Valley Community! Our community has been serving the New York / Connecticut / New Jersey tri-state area since 1975. Most of the couples that attend our weekends live in the tri-state area, but we warmly welcome any engaged Catholic couple who needs to complete a marriage preparation or pre-cana program to fulfill diocesan requirements.

Our Community

Our community currently hosts multiple weekends per year. We have presenting team couples and other volunteer couples who give their time to share the gift of marriage with engaged couples. Our weekends are held in the beautiful and scenic lower Hudson Valley.


Marriage preparation classes with Catholic Engaged Encounter consist of an in-person weekend retreat to prepare couples for a life as husband and wife. Our retreats are led by a team of married couples and incorporate presentations, self-reflection and couple’s dialogue.

Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend retreats provide two days of marriage preparation. Mass is also an important part of the weekend. Couples have separate overnight accommodations at a peaceful retreat center away from the outside world to focus on each other as they prepare for marriage See the reservation section below for more details.

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.

Yes, Catholic Engaged Encounter is designed as a retreat for couples planning to be married in the Catholic Church.  The retreat is a great compliment to pre-marriage inventories. You do not have to take a Pre-cana class if you attend a CEE weekend.  An important gift of the weekend-long retreat to engaged couples is an experience of the presenting couples as a living model. Content is presented with a minimum of teaching and a maximum of shared lived experiences of the concepts being discussed. The retreat emphasizes the message that Christian marriage is an ongoing relationship that needs and deserves constant attention and commitment.

Catholic Engaged Encounter weekends satisfy the marriage preparation requirements from the Archdiocese of New York as well as other Dioceses.  Catholic Engaged Encounter is officially recognized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity.  Watch our YouTube video “Got Marriage Prep?” which explains more about our program – Got Marriage Prep?

Your priest always has the final say on what he will accept for your marriage preparation. Please check with the priest who will officiate at your wedding before registering. At the conclusion of the weekend, you will receive a certificate to give to your priest verifying your participation.

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.

Catholic Engaged Encounter is beneficial and supportive to interfaith couples.

You will be staying in a double room with a full bathroom. You will have a roommate unless you request a private room for an additional fee.

Weekends are $460 per couple.

Limited private rooms are available for an additional $50 per person and billed separately.  (If interested, contact Registration at 845-298-4772 no later than two weeks before the weekend start date to request and pay the extra fee.)

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 fiances 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;
  • Any snack or drink items for your own personal consumption

Weekends start promptly on Saturday at 9:00 AM., so please plan to arrive between 8:00 – 8:30 AM.

Weekends end on Sunday at 4:00 PM

Each couple will receive two workbooks 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. Gentlemen, please no hats in the Chapel.
  • Please remember the weekend is presented at a Catholic facility and be respectful of your surroundings.
  • No pets are allowed at the retreat center
  • While CEE recognizes that couples may already be living together, you will not be permitted to share a room with your fiance on the weekend.  Everyone is expected to sleep in the room to which they are assigned.
  • Please do not leave the weekend for any reason, unless an emergency arises. If you need to leave, please 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. Additionally, as a sign of respect, we ask that you please refrain from using e-cigarettes or vaping inside or outside of 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 or fiancee about issues you may not have already discussed. If your fiance or fiancee is not present, you will be unable to complete the program.

Additional Catholic Engaged Encounter weekends are held in nearby dioceses. Check other CEE communities for additional locations and dates on the National website at engagedencounter.com.

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. Contact the Reservation Couple at 845-298-4772 with any questions.

Reservation Policies

Payment for the overnight weekend covers lodging on Saturday night, meals on Saturday (2) and Sunday (2), and all materials. Breakfast is not provided Saturday morning. Separate overnight accommodations are provided for you and your fiancée. Your reservation is not booked until you pay in full, so to secure your seats please pay as soon as possible. Credit 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 you wish to pay by check, please select your weekend and register by completing the application and printing a copy. Mail the completed application and your check (payable to CEELHV Inc.) to: Engaged Encounter c/o Vinny & Angela Calderella, 75 C Independence Court, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598. You will not be placed on the weekend reservation list until your check is received. A money order is also acceptable.

Limited financial aid is available. If you need assistance, please call our Reservation Couple @ 845-298-4772 to begin the process.

Due to the stringent policy restrictions at the retreat center, we are unable to offer refunds for a cancelled registration.

Approximately one week before the retreat date, you will be contacted by a team couple with detailed logistics

You agree that by registering and submitting payment that you release Catholic Engaged Encounter of the Lower Hudson Valley, along with it’s agents, associates, volunteers and employees, from any and all liability associated in any way with your attendance at the weekend program.

Mt. Alvernia Retreat Center (2-day)

Google Map Link

See our website: mtalvernia.org

8:00 AM
2-Day(s) ($460.00)
~ Register By ~
Jul 31, 2024 12:00 PM
16 space(s)
8:00 AM
2-Day(s) ($460.00)
~ Register By ~
Nov 6, 2024 12:00 PM
18 space(s)
158 Delavergne Ave. Wappingers Falls, NY 12590


“We had an outstanding experience during our Catholic Engaged Encounter. Our friends who attended the retreat before they got married couldn’t recommend it more strongly to us, so we decided to go. The weekend was fantastic. We listened to insightful talks given by the couples who volunteered after having been married for a while. We learned about the unique challenges they faced, and how they overcame them. These talks helped facilitate our discussions among the two of us, where we discussed our future, children, careers, finances, and everything in between. Although we had discussed most of these subjects prior to the retreat, this weekend enabled us to more fully articulate our thoughts, goals, and apprehensions, enabling us to get on the same page. The location was beautiful, the food good, accommodations comfortable, and other couples friendly. We had an overwhelmingly positive experience and would recommend Catholic Engaged Encounter to every engaged couple we know. “
Madelyn and Harrison
Catholic Engaged Encounter presented us with an opportunity to not only delve deeper into our relationship with each other, but also to talk about how to make sure we keep God at the center of the relationship. Spending the weekend out of town gave us time to discuss important topics removed from our daily surroundings and distractions. We came out of the weekend feeling more excited than we already were to get married!
Jennifer and Tejus
It was a beautiful weekend and it really gave us an opportunity to grow closer to each other and grow deeper in our relationship. There were several questions that led to discussions which genuinely helped to improve our relationship. It really opened up our eyes to the beauty and sanctity of marriage, and we felt so much love from the team during the whole weekend.
John and Jacienta
Our CEE weekend was a valuable retreat to reflect on our relationship heading into our marriage. We enjoyed it and took a lot from it.
Dan and Justine

Volunteer for CEE

Our community is always looking for charitable people who have attended the weekend to donate their time to our ministry. We often reach out to ask for prayers for the engaged couples that attend our weekend. The couple will receive a personal note card with the name(s) of those praying for them. This ministry can be fulfilled from the comfort of your own home!

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.

Maybe you are called to serve the CEE ministry in another way. We have many other volunteer roles for couples and families. When you join the CEE community, you are part of a peer group who are companions on the Catholic marriage journey. We pray for and support each other to be better married versions of ourselves. Help us bring the CEE weekend experience to other couples by volunteering!

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