Catholic Engaged Encounter

The Engaged Encounter weekend is a live-in experience designed for couples who are planning their marriage to spend time together to concentrate on each other and their future marriage relationship free from the tensions, pressures and interruptions of daily life and the preparations for the wedding. It is designed to give the couple opportunities to talk honestly and deeply about their future. Self-identity, roles, expectations of each other in areas of money, intimacy, sex, friends, children, family, religion and the Church's beliefs about marriage are some of the topics covered. There is no group sharing.


The program is for couples of any age, who are preparing to marry and are mature enough to believe that their good relationship can become even better. For couples planning to be married in the Catholic Church, marriage preparation is compulsory. Other programs are available but it is our belief that the Engaged Encounter weekend offers a unique and intensive experience to couples.

The weekend is Catholic in orientation and is presented by two Catholic couples and a priest but couples of other faiths are welcome.


The live-in weekend is a package starting with registration on Friday evening at 6pm and ending on Sunday afternoon at about 1pm. Our weekends are held at The Ave Maria Pastoral Centre in Gaborone. Through a series of presentations, based on the lived experience of the team, the engaged couples are exposed to a number of relevant issues and encouraged to reflect and then discuss these privately from the perspective of their own unique relationship. This couple sharing is the most important part of the weekend.


As part of the Church’s mission to continue developing not only the social person but also the spiritual person, the church officially opened Ave Maria Pastoral Centre on 1st March 2014. The Centre offers the following services: seminars, counselling services, family desk and ongoing formation courses for human development. This centre is a huge investment for the common good, to serve our nation.

The whole purpose of CEE is to prepare engaged couples for the sacrament of matrimony, by providing a life-giving view of marriage and by challenging them to communicate openly and honestly with each other.

Slogan: “A wedding is a day, a marriage is a lifetime”

Mission: “To accompany engaged couples in their preparation for the Sacrament of Matrimony and to guide them in their first married years, according to God’s plan”

Catholic Engaged Encounter in the Gaborone Diocese was established in July 2014, with the help of the Pretoria Diocese under the leadership of Thato & Grace Kewakae and Father Vitalis Moji Phakisi. The presenting team from Pretoria ran the first two weekends in Botswana, and were instrumental in assisting the Gaborone Diocese CEE to set up structures including training, which they did in conjunction with couples and Priests from Johannesburg in February 2015.

The Gaborone Diocese started off with only 1 priest, 1 Sister and 5 couples, and now this number has grown to 16 couples, 3 priests and 2 Sisters. We are the only team in the Region with Sisters in our team, and this was highly commended by the Region.

The CEE is currently under the leadership of Dominic & Dineo Khame and Father Vitalis Moji Phakisi assisted by Tebogo & Itumeleng Ramsden.

We run at least 5 weekends in a year and to date, 25 successful weekends have taken place since inception, with an average of 25 couples per weekend. So far about 568 couples have gone through this training. The latest successful training workshop was on the 19-21 July 2019 which attracted 44 couples from various Parishes in the Dioceses of Gaborone and Francistown. This was the largest group CEE has experienced in the history of CEE in Botswana.