The Catholic Church has long been a leader in providing high-quality marriage preparation programs for engaged couples. The Church rejoices with you as you prepare to enter the Sacrament of Marriage and embark on this great vocation of love and service.This program is designed for those couples who are married civilly and now wish to marry in the Church.Some couples, because of differences in religious background or, a sense of distance from the Church at the time of their marriage, or due to complicating family situations, were married civilly or in some other manner that did not meet the Catholic Church's legal requirements for a valid church marriage.For Catholics, the form for the Sacrament of Marriage is that vows be exchanged in a church before a Catholic Deacon, or Priest, and two witnesses.
The couple should consult with the priest to see if he feels they need further counseling or can do so after a simple interview.
Catholics who have married outside of the Catholic Church are encouraged to have their civil marriage recognized by the Church. These couples, who were no doubt well intentioned and sincere in professing their vows outside of the Catholic Church, are not considered validly married in the eyes of the Catholic Church.
This is because the form for the Sacrament of Marriage has not been observed.
They should go individually and participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the week before the Catholic convalidation ceremony.
It's the couple's responsibility to be proactive in their preparations for the ceremony.