many thanks to Bro, deacon and others who corrected me, I have been researching this for a couple of days, but couldn’t find the thread again.
I searched all relevant answers hear and CA homepage, CUF, Catholicexchange and any other link I could find, while I was trying to get hold of somebody from the diocese to give a definitive answer on who needs convalidation and when they need it. Talked to everyone I know who does RCIA in their parish, the deacon who helps me, and the person who trained me. There is a priest assigned to RCIA and liturgy, and another assigned to marriage & tribunal, plus a family life office, but they are new to their assignments and have not had time to get back to me yet.
What I found is this-- there is not one written guideline or book for all of this stuff. The sacramental guidelines in print were put out under the old bishop, and not considered entirely reliable. My pastor pointed out several problems with them. We have just concluded a diocesan synod and results are being written up and published, so we have to wait for new sacramental and RCIA written guidelines, but they hope this will result in full implementation of RICA and standardization of practices among parishes.
bottom line: every parish is on their own, and if you ask 10 people a question you get 10 different answers.
another complication is that if people don’t like what you tell them they try to go over the border to Mexico to get baptism or other sacraments for themselves or their kids.
I only have to worry about my parish, and my original insticts are right, refer all adults in RCIA to the deacon for a pastoral interview, including questions on marriage situations and let him resolve it. All I need to know is what I need to know to get the paperwork straight. another good argument for not letting DRE, parish secretary or catechist give opinions on what are properly pastoral concerns.
It seems the most common practice is that when one or both members of a couple are baptized, and approach us for full communion or sacraments, they are counselled and urged to convalidate or bless or whatever as soon as possible, but definitely before receiving communion and or confirmation. It also seems that unbaptized couples who enter the church request a church wedding, but whether that is actually a marriage ceremony or simply renewing vows I don’t know since it hasn’t happened on my watch.
We also teach on and prepare for confession early in the process for all baptized adults so they can take advantage of this sacrament as soon as they feel ready.
The discussions on catechetical and RCIA topics on these forums are worth the price of admission, and my profound thanks to all who participate.