Convalidating a catholic marriage

Some couples comment that they had not been active and practicing Catholics when they married outside the Church.

A Church marriage was not, therefore, a significant priority for them.

Unless they received a “dispensation from canonical form,” Catholics who exchange vows in the presence of ministers from other religious traditions or civil officials are not considered validly married in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

Regardless of what happened in the past, the Catholic Church invites you to bring new meaning to your lives by embracing the vocation of marriage and dedicating your family’s mission to sharing God’s love.

Leah Tenorio, parish director of Hispanic ministry, has noticed that convalidation is helpful for couples and their children in building their faith.

“I also work with the children who are preparing for first Communion and oftentimes the children come to Mass with their parents, and if they’re not in a valid marriage, the parents, they can’t go to Communion,” Tenorio said.

Later, those couples may seek to have their union officially recognized by the Church.

Unless they requested and received a “dispensation from canonical form,” Catholics who exchange marriage vows in the presence of only ministers from other religious traditions or authorized civic officials are not considered validly married in the eyes of the Catholic Church.

Some dreaded a scolding by a priest because they had not been practicing their religion.

At San Bernardino Catholic Engaged Encounter, we generally have anywhere from 2 to 5 couples on each weekend who are in the process of validating a prior civil marriage.

Good Shepherd’s first convalidation ceremony occurred in 2002 and continued every two years until 2016.

The event was such a success that the parish decided to have another this year.

Other couples indicate that they simply were in a hurry or felt stressed by various factors.

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