Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

convalidation and Pre-cana?

Can someone explain more about this to me?Is Pre-cana kind of like pre marital counseling? Even though FI is adamant about not getting married in a church, he once mentioned being bummed to not receive the sacrament as he received most of the ones growing up. I was not raised catholic so I don't even know what I don't know yet. We were planning on doing pre marital counseling anyways.

Re: convalidation and Pre-cana?

  • Yeah, it is basically pre-marital counseling, and tries to cover both basic, practical, non-religious topics -- such as finances, in-law involvement, work-life balance, conflict resolution, planning about children -- and also give you a review of Catholic beliefs about marriage as a sacrament, and what it should look like. Some dioceses have you take a series of classes, some make you meet with a priest, others may have you meet with a sponsor couple. Many involve taking a couple's retreat for a day or weekend at some point, and a lot of them have you take a FOCCUS test, which is basically a compatibility test (don't worry, you can't "fail" it) to help determine talking points that you and your FI may need to discuss more than others.

    I have not found it to be a burdensome or time-consuming process at all, and have actually found the FOCCUS test really helpful. Even though FI and I have been together since 2010 now, there were a number of topics we realized we only had had vague discussions about. If you are wanting a Catholic marriage or convalidation blessing, but Pre-Cana is the only thing you are iffy about, I recommend giving it a try. 

                        


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    OliveOilsMom
  • Not iffy on it at all, just wanted to make sure I wasn't misunderstanding what it is.

    And Pre-cana is required if at any point we decided to do a convalidation? Normal premarriage counseling would not cut it?

  • ThxSugar said:
    Not iffy on it at all, just wanted to make sure I wasn't misunderstanding what it is. And Pre-cana is required if at any point we decided to do a convalidation? Normal premarriage counseling would not cut it?
    Correct.   The Catholic faith requires some form of Pre-cana.   It can be in the form of a couple weekend sessions, a retreat or counseling one on one with a priest.   It seems like each Diocese offers a few options.

    The important thing for your FI to understand is that if you two don't get married in the church then your marriage wouldn't be recognized so he would no longer be a Catholic in good standing which would make him ineligible to receive Sacraments and serve as a Godparent or sponsor for Confirmation.   It's worth looking into so he understands long term consequences so you two can decide what is the best thing for you. 
    OliveOilsMomCMGragain
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited January 2016
    Something that pre-Cana offers in addition to "regular" premarital counselling is discussion about what the Catholic sacrament of marriage entails.

    I'm not sure about all the factors of your situation, @ThxSugar, but I imagine there would at least be some discussion of sort would be involved to prepare for convalidation. There are different scenarios to consider.

    For example, my husband & I just sponsored a married couple in RCIA (the program to convert to Catholicism). They just finished RCIA classes, so there really isn't much of a reason for them to go through extensive pre-Cana to have their marriage convalidated. They've also been married for 10 years, so they're relatively set on premarital counselling discussions on topics like finance and in-laws.

    However, if someone like the OP of that other post were to get married and then immediately seek convalidation, I imagine they'd be required to go through the regular pre-Cana process for that parish (pre-Cana requirements/class styles vary from parish to parish).
    MairePoppy
  • ThxSugarThxSugar member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    edited January 2016

    Something that pre-Cana offers in addition to "regular" premarital counselling is discussion about what the Catholic sacrament of marriage entails.

    I'm not sure about all the factors of your situation, @ThxSugar, but I imagine there would at least be some discussion of sort would be involved to prepare for convalidation. There are different scenarios to consider.

    For example, my husband & I just sponsored a married couple in RCIA (the program to convert to Catholicism). They just finished RCIA classes, so there really isn't much of a reason for them to go through extensive pre-Cana to have their marriage convalidated. They've also been married for 10 years, so they're relatively set on premarital counselling discussions on topics like finance and in-laws.

    However, if someone like the OP of that other post were to get married and then immediately seek convalidation, I imagine they'd be required to go through the regular pre-Cana process for that parish (pre-Cana requirements/class styles vary from parish to parish).

    I am not entirely sure either, tbh. FI grew up catholic, went through confirmation, received communion, and then stopped once his mom stopped making him go. He is in no way a practicing Catholic. He was pretty adamant about not being married in a church, not even the non-denominational chapel with the amazing stained glass at the botanical garden. We even chose to be married in the state we live in, instead of his home state (where he has all the best money saving hookups) because he didn't want to be pressured to use the church.

    BUT, I get the sense that he wouldn't be opposed to a blessing at the church at a later time. I didn't even know this was an option until recently. And if going through Pre-Cana is needed then we might as well do that, since we were going to do counseling anyways. Even if we don't go through with the blessing, it wouldn't hurt. It is an option we will have to talk about.

    Is convalidation different than a regular blessing?

    Etf: words

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
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    ThxSugar said:
    Something that pre-Cana offers in addition to "regular" premarital counselling is discussion about what the Catholic sacrament of marriage entails. I'm not sure about all the factors of your situation, @ThxSugar, but I imagine there would at least be some discussion of sort would be involved to prepare for convalidation. There are different scenarios to consider. For example, my husband & I just sponsored a married couple in RCIA (the program to convert to Catholicism). They just finished RCIA classes, so there really isn't much of a reason for them to go through extensive pre-Cana to have their marriage convalidated. They've also been married for 10 years, so they're relatively set on premarital counselling discussions on topics like finance and in-laws. However, if someone like the OP of that other post were to get married and then immediately seek convalidation, I imagine they'd be required to go through the regular pre-Cana process for that parish (pre-Cana requirements/class styles vary from parish to parish).
    I am not entirely sure either, tbh. FI grew up catholic, went through confirmation, received communion, and then stopped once his mom stopped making him go. He is in no way a practicing Catholic. He was pretty adamant about not being married in a church, not even the non-denominational chapel with the amazing stained glass at the botanical garden. We even chose to be married in the state we live in, instead of his home state (where he has all the best money saving hookups) because he didn't want to be pressured to use the church. BUT, I get the sense that he wouldn't be opposed to a blessing at the church at a later time. I didn't even know this was an option until recently. And if going through Pre-Cana is needed then we might as well do that, since we were going to do counseling anyways. Even if we don't go through with the blessing, it wouldn't hurt. It is an option we will have to talk about. Is convalidation different than a regular blessing? Etf: words

    There would most likely be no blessing that can be given to you.  Its either the Sacrament of Marriage or a Convalidation ceremony.  The only way you could get a blessing would be if you have a family friend who is a priest and even then, its something he probably shouldn't be doing in the name of the Catholic faith.  It's usually all or nothing with the Church.  There are strict rules that have been in place for centuries.
    ThxSugar
  • Thanks @OliveOilsMom. This is exactly why I asked because I have no idea.

    I thought convalidation was basically a blessing from a priest. But it is more serious than that, it is basically the same commitment as getting married in the church, no?

  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
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    ThxSugar said:
    Thanks @OliveOilsMom. This is exactly why I asked because I have no idea. I thought convalidation was basically a blessing from a priest. But it is more serious than that, it is basically the same commitment as getting married in the church, no?
    It's sort of retroactively applying the sacrament to a marriage, so yes. They don't tend to do it if they know that you opted out of the sacrament (particularly for convenience) in the first place with the plan to "just get a convalidation later." They might do it if you can convince them that when you married, you had no intention of following the precepts of a Catholic marriage, but now you fully intend to. It doesn't sound like you or your fiance is there.
    OliveOilsMom
  • ThxSugarThxSugar member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    edited January 2016


    ThxSugar said:

    Thanks @OliveOilsMom. This is exactly why I asked because I have no idea.

    I thought convalidation was basically a blessing from a priest. But it is more serious than that, it is basically the same commitment as getting married in the church, no?

    It's sort of retroactively applying the sacrament to a marriage, so yes. They don't tend to do it if they know that you opted out of the sacrament (particularly for convenience) in the first place with the plan to "just get a convalidation later." They might do it if you can convince them that when you married, you had no intention of following the precepts of a Catholic marriage, but now you fully intend to. It doesn't sound like you or your fiance is there.

    ****box****

    You are completely right on that one. Thanks everyone for explaining it to me.

    Eta: box

  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    There are actually very little differences between the Sacrament and the Convalidation ceremonies.  As PP said, you would still need to attend pre-cana.  You would say all of the same vows, promising to raise children Catholic (without your interference as the non-Catholic), etc.  So it is quite more involved then a blessing by a priest. 

    And technically, the priest doesn't even marry the couple.  The couple, by vowing to each other, marry each other in terms of the Sacrament.  The priest is only there as witness for the Church and in the US for the Government.  But that's another discussion for another day!  LOL!

    ThxSugarholyguacamole79
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
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    I agree with PP that a priest will likely be wary of giving a blessing to a couple.  It could be misinterpreted.  I mean, when my (now) husband & I got engaged, we asked for a blessing from our priest.  It was really beautiful - he held his hands over us and said a prayer.  But it was for an engagement.  I think that a blessing without the actual sacrament may be misleading.
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
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    edited January 2016
    OP, you sound like you come from a Protestant background.  I am a Methodist who has had a lot of experience with the Catholic faith.  Let me explain a few things.

    Catholic regard communion differently than Protestants.  They believe that when you take the communion that it is a holy sacrament and miracle, and that the bread becomes the actual body of Christ.  This is quite different than in a protestant church, where the bread is simply a remembrance of Jesus'  sacrifice, though this is also regarded as a sacrament. 

    In the Catholic faith, marriage is a similar sacrament, and it must be performed by a priest on sanctified ground, which means in a Catholic church.  This is called "the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony."  In the protestant church (except for Episcopalians), the marriage is a legal agreement, which is blessed by the pastor during the ceremony.  It is not a sacrament.  Most Protestant churches recognize any marriage ceremony, including civil ones.  A Protestant ceremony can be held anywhere.

    If a Catholic stops going to mass for several years, this can be fixed if they go to confession, receive absolution, and do penance (usually prayers).  However, if a Catholic were to be married in a non-Catholic ceremony, they are unable to receive the bread (host) at communion.  This can only be fixed by a Convalidation, which requires a lot of explanation on the part of the Catholic who is no longer in good standing.  He will need a better reason than "I didn't want to go to Pre-Cana classes."  The Convalidation ceremony is designed for people who are converting to Catholicism, and are already married, in order that they may receive the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.

    Have you and your FI talked about how you will raise any future children?  Will they be raised Catholic, Protestant, or in no religion?  Your FMIL will have a strong opinion about this, too, even though it is not her decision to make. Pre-Cana classes are designed to make you think about issues like this that could be a problem in your marriage later on.

    You really need to learn more about the Catholic faith before you marry someone who was raised in it.  It will help you to better understand him and his family.
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  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
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    @CMGragain, just for clarification, Lutherans don't consider the Eucharist a remembrance. We believe in consubstantiation which means that the body and blood of Christ are within the bread and wine. This is different from transubstantiation where the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ - the Catholic Church's belief. My branch of the Lutheran church allows all believers to participate in communion but some branches do not.  Just thought I'd put this out there because there is a difference from what you said.
  • Thank you for the clarification.  I was aware of this (I've been Lutheran, too!), but I was trying to simplify.
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  • agapecarrieagapecarrie member
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    edited January 2016
    Convalidation is not "retroactively" applying the sacrament. That is a "radical sanation. "

    Convalidation is "along with". The term merely applies to the fact that the priest won't be acting on behalf of the state's purposes of a legal marriage, just the religious purposes of making a marriage valid. In the church's view, this IS the actual wedding. (Even if not a sacrament. A catholic can marry a non-baptized person, and it would still need a convalidation (in this scenario), but it wouldn't be a sacrament because both need to be baptized for it to be so). 

    In order for the church to consider the marriage/convalidation, the 2 people must be of the mind of the church regarding marriage, including open to children and raising them "according to Christ's laws and his church". 

    It isn't just a "blessing". 
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