Is your RCIA open all year-round? Serving on the front lines of marriage and annulment issues

Photo by Ethan Robertson on Unsplash

8 thoughts on “Is your RCIA open all year-round? Serving on the front lines of marriage and annulment issues”

  1. Maura Sweeney

    An additional challenge that I am seeing in my ministry is those who have marriages that need to be validated or couples who are living together. This is especially difficult if they have children together. and we do not want to rush to validate a marriage that may not be on steady ground.

  2. I discovered early on in my RCIA ministry that it would help tremendously if I were trained as a Lay Advocate for our diocesan tribunal. It helps me keep track of the progress of any annulment in order to make decisions about progress through the RCIA program. A past Pastor told me not to allow anyone in until all impediments were resolved, but more recent pastors have been accepting of following the advice you have presented in your article. When the participants know you care and are working toward helping them move forward, it makes the relationship with them, other participants much more supportive.
    I have one unmarried, unbaptized couple coming through. It is my understanding if they were already civilly married, then Easter Vigil would sanctify their union without an official Catholic wedding ceremony. Is that your understanding?

    1. Catherine Combier-Donovan

      My understanding is the following: if two unbaptized persons are married and then both receive baptism, (and confirmation and Eucharist,) their natural bond of marriage becomes sacramental marriage at the moment of baptism, so long as the marriage is valid according to civil law, both parties consent, and there is no impediment.

  3. We just had a young father receive the Easter sacraments after a 3-year annulment process for his wife. We journeyed with them all the way and it was day of great rejoicing when they received the notice that the annulment had been approved. Their civil marriage was blessed just a few days before Easter Vigil and that evening was another time of great rejoicing. What a journey! We told them many times how inspired we were by their patience and commitment. I’ve been an RCIA Coordinator for 25+ years and never hear that the Easter Vigil would sanctify a civil union, Maybe it does; I just never learned of that.

    1. Catherine & Jane, that is also my understanding BUT the civil marriage must be a first marriage ie no impediments. We had this situation some years ago and that was the case. I always talk to my PP about it and if any doubt send to the Tribunal.

  4. Glenn Carlson

    We invited an associate pastor, who sits on the Tribunal, come explain the Annulment process, so that our team can be more proactive when seekers come to us, but have marriage issues that need to be resolved. Our role as a team is to be supportive of our seekers and be an aid to assist the advancement of the process, even though we are not privy to the confidential details of the process. If the seeker confides in one of us, we should walk with them as a friend.

  5. Sandy Gallegos

    The most common problem we have in our parish and one I haven’t seen yet in the comments is the widely held belief by the majority of Catholics that one must receive their initiation sacraments BEFORE they can be married in the Church. We started May 6 with 10 inquirers, 8 of whom were in relationships, some already civilly married and some engaged and planning on being married in 2020, all most likely in active sexual relationships, . One couple was already working with our wedding coordinator for a June 2020 wedding. This pattern is increasing. I prepared a detailed handout on the nuts and bolts of what the Church teaches about Catholic marriage, and did a whole inquiry session on the topic. I began the evening by asking how many people believed that one had to be fully initiated to have a Catholic wedding. Every single person in the room raised a hand. All of these people are good people with sincere hearts who want both to be Catholic and to have a Catholic wedding – something we should rejoice in. Many come with churches and reception venues already reserved, with down payments made.We as Church have not done a good job of teaching what our faith believes about marriage. One unbaptized young man is coming with his fully initiated fiancee as a support person. Their jaws dropped open when they were told this information during inquiry, and I was wondering to myself how this sweet young girl didn’t know, if she had gone through a high school Confirmation process. I have found in the past that some RE catechists don’t even know this information. Now we as RCIA team members have to help them work through all this.

  6. I have been working with RCIA ministry since 1987, and have always let individuals enter the process. I explain that they can start, they can continue, they just can’t receive their sacraments till we have that decision & document. They are allowed ‘on the path’, but that milestone/achievement can’t be determined. I have found that as long as I give the expectations early on/up front, it’s not a big problem. Yes, the waiting can be frustrating and the unknowns can be stressful, but there is a goal, and they aren’t walking on the path alone.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Enter your email address and click the button below to get started.
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?
Where can we send your free resource?

Completely transform your RCIA inquiry process with five simple questions

Wednesday, December 7, 2022
11am PST / 2pm EST


"Five Inquiry Questions that Will Shape Your Seekers' Journey of Faith"

Where can we send your free sample?

Welcome to TeamRCIA!

Meet Rita!

Where can we send your free sample?

Be sure you are doing the catechumenate right!

Do your seekers disappear after Easter?
Learn how to form Christians for life.


"RCIA's Six Keys to Making Lifelong Disciples"

Sign up today!

Join over 20,000 subscribers

Enter your email address and click the button below to get started.

Free Training Resource: What to say instead of OCIA

Enter your email address and click the button below to get started.

Creating a Catechumenal CultureAn Amazing Vision
Shopping cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping
0