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.