What exactly is involved in convalidating a marriage?


I have a Catholic friend that just married his Jewish girlfriend in front of a judge. He did not have permission from the Church to get married in this manner. He got married this way because his girlfriend’s mother was dying and he and his girlfriend (now legal wife) wanted this dying woman to see the marriage. Now that my friend is civilly married, he desperately wants to have his marriage recognized by the Catholic Church. What exactly is involved in this process? Thanks.


He simply meets with his parish priest and does everything he would have done to get married in the Catholic Church in the first place. It’s that simple.


Thanks. Does he go through the whole 1 year-long pre-cana process? The classes? The retreats? Forgive me if these are dumb questions. I also thought that getting a marriage blessed after a civil union was a very quick and simple process that could be done in a pastor’s office. Am I wrong? Again, thank you.


No,you are correct in your understanding of the process.I have a daughter married outside the Church.I was told by a priest that it is just a matter of getting so e paperwork in order,ie: baptism records,etc
The marriage prep classes are a non issue since they are civilly married.


I was told it was that simple, too. First I had to find a priest to talk to, making an appointment is a rare privilege in my diocese. I have an over 30yr marriage to my Christian college sweetheart, neither of us were ever married before…sounds simple. We were told we had to do the classes and a ‘retreat’. Finally sat down and talked with a deacon, a Catholic convert, and discussed with him that we had over a decade of ‘classes’ and marital ‘retreats’. So beware, your friend may have to start from scratch.


Is he regular member of a parish? Parishioners only have to meet with the priest regularly, participate in a retreat/seminar, and be visibly active in the parish for 6 months. But it’s up to the pastor.
And, please don’t let your friend panic. Just because some posters have run into issues at their parish, it does not necessarily indict all Catholic churches.
God bless!


The process is typically 5-6 months and for the couples I prepare the classes retreat etc., depend on how long they have been married. Remember, the church considers the validation the marriage. All the paper work has to be done properly and for me, if married less than a year, the go to a retreat or sponsor couple as well as time in my office.
Otherwise it depends on how long they have had a civil marriage, the condition of the marriage, children etc… I do stress the permanence and sacrificial nature of marriage.
Bottom line, there is always some level of preparation. Depends on the deacon or priest.

Dcn Frank


He needs to meet with his pastor.

Any information you receive here is merely speculation. What others experienced may or may not be what your friend experiences, because the preparation for marriage and convalidation is under the authority of the local bishop. So the processes, procedures, and options will vary widely.

The pastor will interview the couple and will go from there. The requirements for convalidation are set by the bishop, and the pastor knows what those are.


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