Convalidation - confused

wife and i are having convalidation performed after being married 6 years, priest wants to do a whole wedding mass and everything. with best man and maid of honor as witnesses. its seems like too much.

is this right, i assumed we just went in and the marriage blessed and went on, now we are getting stuck with picking out liturgy readings and prayers,

we just want to be right with the church, not put on a big production. what do we do?

In a convalidation, you exchange consent in the Catholic form. The Catholic form is the Rite of Marriage. The norm for Catholics is to conduct the Sacraments **within **the Mass.

You can have the Rite of Marriage in Mass or outside of Mass. If you have it outside of Mass, you still have the entire Rite of Marriage-- which includes readings, statement of intentions, exchange of consent, vows, nuptial blessing, intercesisons, and the Lord’s Prayer. If you have the Rite of Marriage inside Mass then of course you also have the Liturgy of the Eucharist in addition to the Liturgy of the Word.

You need two witnesses, a “best man” and “maid/matron of honor”. You do not need a special wedding dress, bouquets, bridesmaids dresses, etc.

It does not have to be a “big prduction.” You could do it in a Sunday Mass, for example. Even if in a private Mass, you don’t have to invite a bunch of people.

My husband and I recently stood as witnesses for a couple having a convalidation. Since she was not yet Catholic, the Rite of Marriage outside the Mass was used. It was the couple, us, and the priest on a Wednesday afternoon at the altar in the church. We wore nice church clothes, and the bride bought some flowers for the altar. I did the readings. We sang a song. The priest gave a homily. They exchanged vows and we did the petitions and the Lord’s Prayer. It was about 20 minutes or so.

You do not have to have the Mass. But you would still have the Rite of Marriage and that does include readings and it does include witnesses.

no you don’t have to exchange vows in the context of Mass, but it is a gift your pastor is offering you, he probably wants you to know that you are entitled to as much of a celebration as you both want. Is it possible her ideas and yours of what is appropriate do not jibe and the priest is getting mixed signals. You are not “stuck” with anything, an opportunity has been offered, you can simply decline and ask the priest to choose the readings without taking offense. Sometimes a gift can be refused simply by saying, no thank you.

We had to pick out the readings and such…with two witnesses. We had ours after Mass. It’s really somewhere in the middle. You want it to be special…because it is. But like another poster said…you don’t have to spend a bunch of money or have special dresses. And it really shouldn’t be that hard to pick out readings and prayers. Our parish had a book.

You don’t have to put on a big production but you have to understand that you are not simply “getting your marriage blessed”, you are getting married. For the first time as far as the Church is concerned. That requires witnesses and those could be your two moms or your two dads or your mom and dad – they don’t have to be the people who were your ‘best man’ and ‘maid of honor’.

As others have said, even a Rite of Marriage Outside of Mass requires readings and Prayers of the Faithful as well as your exchange of consent, blessing and exchange of rings, and nuptial blessing.

ok, ive just always heard of a simple blessing and you are on your way. i didnt realize it was the same rite. hopefully they wont try and force us to go to some encounter weekend.

why do they bother having a seperate definition for people who are married in a non-catholic or civil ceremony if they dont think they are married anyway?

I’m not sure I understand your question.

Do you mean the term ‘convalidation’? The Church recognizes that a ‘legal’ marriage exists. It doesn’t dispute that. Unfortunately, because you &/or your wife, as Catholics, were required to follow a certain form when you got married and chose not to, your marriage is not “valid”. The ritual will make your marriage valid as well as legal. If both of you are baptized it will also be a sacrament.

yea, when we got married originally i wasnt catholic and she wasnt confirmed (she was baptized as a lutheran and received catholic first communion).

we only found out the obligation to get married in the church a few months back, its not that we willfully rejected the church.

when i went through RCIA the priest saw no problem with our marriage saying that we were both non-catholics when married, but the priest at our new church is saying she was catholic and had the obligation.

You will follow whatever the premarital preparation requirement are for your diocese, as established by your bishop. And, yes, that may include engaged encounter or some other retreat weekend, meetings with your priest, etc. Your priest will guide you.

There is no “separate definition.”

hope they enjoy our childrens presence then, thats if we can come up with the 250 for the fee.

There is no need to be melodramatic, and ugly to me in the process.

You asked a question and I answered it-- you will need to follow premarital guidelines and that *might *include things like a retreat. If you don’t want answers, then don’t post here asking questions.

I suggested you* discuss it with your priest *who could guide you as to the specifics in your diocese. Your priest can guide you as to the requirements, how they might be fulfilled, and options in special situations.

It seems like you are looking for reasons to be *angry *over this, instead of *joyful *that your marriage will become a Sacrament.

the church makes joyous occasions a pain.

i just dont see the point of a “weekend” when you have been married and have kids, i mean if its a forced requirement for all then that leaves us out in the cold since we really cant do it.

if the church accepts other denomiantions baptism i dont see why it would accept its marriages.

While it’s up to the diocese, in my experience, dioceses generally recognize the different pre-marital requirements of people with different experiences (like non-legally married vs. legally married couples). If your diocese has a special class for convalidation couples, it’ll probably be a half-day event where you discuss things like the religious aspects of marriage (whereas the non-legally married couples will also talk about dealing with finances, communication, family planning, etc). Or, the priest might just have you meet with him a few times and there are no formal classes.

Maybe you should talk to a canon lawyer, then.

I don’t know if you’re looking for a drive-though service or something, but a 20 minute ceremony with you, the priest, two witnesses, and your kids isn’t really that terrible, is it?

Honestly, it’s really not that common for people to go on a retreat as part of premarital counseling, even for those who are not legally married. So there’s no point in complaining about it unless you’re told to go.

if the church accepts other denomiantions baptism i dont see why it would accept its marriages.

The Church does accept weddings by two non-Catholics in a service valid in their denomination that does not suffering from an impediment (such as a previous marriage).

However, if a Catholic marries outside the Catholic Church without a dispensation, that marriage suffers from a defect of form and is invalid. Evidently, when you went through RCIA, someone determined that your wife was not Catholic at the time of your marriage. Now, apparently someone is telling you that she was Catholic.

If you have been civilly married for 6 years, I don’t know that your priest would make you go to a retreat or anything like that. We had our convalidation in February, and my husband and I had been married 11 years. At the first meeting with our priest, he made us fill out a questionnaire about all kinds of aspects of our marriage, thoughts on religion, money, raising children, etc. It was like a “fill in the circle with a #2 pencil” type deal, and he ran the tests through the computer and it came back with the areas that my husband and I had answered differently. We met back with him a week later to go over the results, and as it turns out we’re pretty darn compatible! LOL He said he felt comfortable proceeding with the convalidation without any further preparation, and we scheduled it for a week or so later on a Saturday morning.

DH is a baptized/confirmed Catholic while I was only baptized Catholic but did not receive First Communion or confirmation as a child because we switched to a Methodist church, so we chose to have the non-Mass setting for our convalidation. Our priest gave us a small book with several choices for each of the readings. We had my parents each do one, and our oldest son (he’s 10) did one. My husband and I did the prayers of the faithful ourselves. It was nice to repeat our wedding vows and to have our wedding rings blessed by our priest.

My sister and her family as well as some good friends of ours and their kids attended, and we all went out for a nice lunch afterwards. The ceremony itself was only about 20-30 minutes.

In this diocese the emphasis is on regularizing the couple’s situation as soon as possible, but there are some of the same steps that need to be followed for every couple to insure they are entering into a valid marriage with full capacity, knowledge, free will and consent. What the pastor and diocese stipulate is in order to have the best assurance of that fact. Some of those steps involve gathering relevant paperwork (civil marriage certificate, sacramental records etc), pre-marriage counselling if it seems needed or helpful, some type of retreat experience, and one or more interviews with the pastor, and sometimes with a sponsor couple. It may not take the entire 6 months that is usual for an engaged couple if there are no underlying problems (prior marriages for example). In this diocese there are separate retreats depending on the couple’s own situation
engaged encounter for newly engaged couples who have never been married or had children.
then there are one-day retreats for those who have been together for many years in a civil marriage, are both Catholic, and simply never had a Catholic wedding, and now realize they want to return to Catholic sacraments

or a couple who is marrying after civil divorce and annulment, including those who may be forming a blended family, each with children from a previous marriage.

couples who have children

couples whose civil marriage was very recent and perhaps rushed by circumstances such as military deployment, immigration problem, pregnancy etc.

You will surely agree that each of these couples deserves respect and consideration for their differing situations and pastoral needs, so it is fitting their preparation should provide that.

It is quite likely that OP’s pastor for RCIA did not have the full facts of the wife’s background at the time, and truly thought both were non-Catholic. not uncommon, and certainly not your fault. Now your priest is doing his best to make sure there will be no further concern, and giving you the benefit of celebrating matrimony as a sacrament of the Church. A great gift and a fountain of grace for you and your family. You are blessed.

and a belated Welcome Home! to both of you.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.