by Fr Paul Tatu
Together with the celebration of the Year of Mercy in 2016 the Holy Father, Pope Francis emphasised the importance of marriage life. The Pope called upon all the Bishops around the world to give special attention to the proper formation for marriage life, accompaniment of the married couples and to address the challenges facing the more closely.
The Catholic Bishops of South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland, adhered to the message of the Holy Father by promoting and implementing practical programs through which the vision of the church regarding marriage life will be realised.
As an initial step towards the realisation of the vision of transforming marriage life, the Catholic Bishops approved Catholic Engaged Encounter (CEE) Program and considered it as one of the effective ways of preparing the engaged couples towards building a strongly founded marriage life. This is also considered to be a relevant discernment process for those who are preparing themselves in the near future to enter into the Sacrament of Matrimony.
Catholic Engaged Encounter program has been in the Southern Africa Catholic Conference region since early 1980s but it has not made a strong impact in many parts of the conference including the diocese of Manzini.
After a lot of emphasis on the formation of the catholic engaged couples, the CEE program is being promoted to spread across different corners of SACBC.
On the 20-22 July 2018, Bishop Jose Luis Ponce de Leon of the Diocese of Manzini in Swaziland invited the CEE National Team to come to his diocese for the first time to conduct the program. 8 couples from different parts of the diocese attended the program.
The first program of CEE in Swaziland was very successful. The attendees expressed their sincere gratitude to the conducting team. They expressed the need to make sure that CEE spread across the whole diocese of Manzini.
Some of the couples who attended expressed their availability to make sure that the fruits of the program would be realised among the people of Swaziland. They also said the program will be beneficial to the people of Swaziland.
Mr Kabelo Senne, the National Coordinator of CEE, who was part of the conducting team, also expressed his happiness about the success of the first program is Swaziland. He also told the attending couples that he is very positive that CEE program will be very successful in Swaziland.
Mr Senne encouraged the attending couples to avail themselves in starting the program in Swaziland. He emphasised that without their availability the program will not succeed. He further said, together with other team members that they would be ready to come back to Swaziland to train the couples who will run the program.
Lastly, Mr Senne thanked the team that accompanied him. He said that they have made history in becoming the first CEE team to conduct the program in Swaziland. The Team consisted of Fr Paul Tatu CSS from Southern Africa Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Mr Kabelo Senne, the National Coordinators of CEE, Mr and Mrs Hennessey from the Archdiocese of Johannesburg and Mr and Mrs Mamogale from the Archdiocese of Pretoria.
Mr Senne also thanked the two couples for their valuable contribution throughout the weekend.
At the end of the program Bishop Jose Luis thanked the team for coming all the way to conduct the Catholic Engaged Encounter program in Swaziland.
The Catholic Engaged Encounter is a special program, bearing catholic content, which is meant to help the engaged couples to prepare themselves thoroughly for the Sacrament of Matrimony.
CEE is open for all the couples of good will who see a need of undergoing this preparation before they enter into matrimonial commitment. It does not replace the accompaniment which has to take place in the parish, but an integrated final program before matrimony.
CEE program takes three days. Normally it starts on Friday evening ending on Sunday afternoon.
For more information and bookings contact: Mr & Mrs Senne: +27792819561 or visit: www.engagedencounter.co.za.