Dear Catholic Exchange:
I just got engaged this past weekend. I am wondering if I have to make my Confirmation before I am able to be married in a Catholic Church. I have been baptized and I made my Holy Communion but never made my Confirmation. Tell me what I would have to do.
Congratulations on your recent engagement.
Confirmation prior to your marriage is not strictly required but is strongly recommended. Here is what Church law says: "If they can do so without serious inconvenience, Catholics who have not yet received the sacrament of Confirmation are to receive it before being admitted to Marriage" (Code of Canon Law, canon 1065).
The timing of all this should work in your favor. Discuss the matter with your pastor or the priest who will be witnessing the marriage. Perhaps you may be confirmed at the Easter vigil or at some other appropriate time prior to the marriage.
Please don't see this simply as "jumping through hoops." The sacrament of Confirmation is important as it will strengthen your faith so that you will be able to fully respond to the graces available through the sacrament of Marriage. In other words, it will help you have a fulfilling, fruitful Christian marriage.
Confirmed Catholics have been empowered to bear witness to Christ and His Church by word and example. As a married person, you will be called to live this Christian vocation by your gift of self to your husband and by accepting children as a gift from God and raising them to worship God. This is a wonderful but also challenging call, and we need the grace Christ offers us through His Church to respond faithfully to His invitation.
Also, along these lines, canon 1065 makes another important recommendation: "It is strongly recommended that those to be married approach the sacraments of Penance and the Most Holy Eucharist so that they may fruitfully receive the sacrament of Marriage." I'd gently encourage you to see in these recommendations the wisdom of holy Mother Church, which desires the very best for you and your spouse-to-be.
Lastly, as a further resource, I'd like to recommend our Handbook for Engaged and Newly Married Couples, which is available at www.emmausroad.org.
May God bless you with a happy and grace-filled marriage.
Sincerely in Christ,
Catholics United for the Faith
827 North Fourth Street
Steubenville, OH 43952