Question about Marriage


I’m new to the board, read it for a while, thought it was time to ask a question.
I’m seventeen years old, and catholic by birth.
My parents also catholic BUT never got married by the church, just by law
…because at first they said they’re too shy, to do the whole ceremony (walking down aisle)
…now (20+ years later), they say they’d feel dumb doing the ceremony after 20 years of “marriage”

my question is…even if they wanted to…could they get married now?
and does it have to be a private ceremony (because they say thats another part they don’t want, because it would only be 10 people in an empty church watching them get married)
can the priest just do a more quiet thing, or at least do a small thing during a regular mass, kind of like the RCIA people during easter…

this has ALWAYS bothered me, and I’ve always begged them to do it,


They can talk to a parish priest about having their marriage blessed. This can be done privately. A possible idea might be to have a “renewal of vows” ceremony in which they receive the Sacrament.


so if the marriage is just blessed it still doesn’t mean they’ve received the sacrament?
in both is it possible for them to begin receiving the Eucharist again?


It’s not really being blessed it’s called convalidation and it can be done with as many or as few people as they wish. They do need at least two witnesses. Once this is done there marriage will be sacramental and they can return to receiving the Eucharist.


yes they can do it now (assuming neither has ever been married before), they should see their pastor immediately to get the ball rolling. there will probably be some counselling or a seminar to attend, suited to their age, length of time together, and family situation. the convalidation ceremony can be as quiet or as elaborate as they wish. Quite usual is after the Saturday evening Mass, with only the family present, simply exchanging vows in front of the priest or deacon and two witnesses. any party or celebration is completely optional. They should do this so they can join their children in receiving the sacraments of the Church, and for the immense blessings Jesus is ready to pour out on your family through this sacrament of holy matrimony.

this is neither a renewal of vows, nor a simple blessing, the correct term is convalidation, they are actually getting married for the first time in the eyes of the Church.


You’re right, the Church can’t bless something that doesn’t exist and as far as the Church is concerned no marriage will exist until the couple repeat their vows in front of witnesses.


Oh, by all means please encourage them to do it!

The best thing would be for them to contact a priest, let him know of their situation, concerns etc.

There is no way it would be dumb for them to convalidate their marriage and be in full Communion with the Church!!! What a joy it would be!!!

If they have never been married to anyone else before, odds are it won’t be that difficult to get married validly.

I wish you and your family the best!

From canon law:
“Can. 1160 A marriage which is null because of defect of form must be contracted anew in canonical form in order to become valid…”


Thanks for using the proper term which is convalidation.
This is how “having a marriage blessed” is generally understood.
I used the example of “renewing vows” as a means of overcoming objections based on the longevity of the relationship. Many couples who have been married a long time will have a special ceremony to honor their relationship. They will have a ceremony on their silver or golden anniversary, for instance, in which they publicly renew the promises they made to each other when they first married. The convalidation could be arranged in the same way. It is merely a suggestion of how the OP can present the idea to his/her parents.


Friends of mine had their marriage convalidated. It was a lovely, joyful thing. The ceremony was in between Saturday masses. She had a beautiful corsage and he had a suit. Afterwards we had a big crawfish boil. MMmmmm.

They’ve been married 30 years or so, all their kids are grown. They went for the convalidation because the wife was converting, and the husband reverting to Catholicism. They had been very devout Episcopalians, but felt the need for full union with the Church in every aspect.

So yes, it can be private, and you can celebrate however you wish. I’ve also seen a couple have the convalidation during Saturday noon mass.


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