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Getting ready for 'happily ever after'

Retrouvaille offers
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Pope Francis
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Opportunity to
bless a civil marriage
in Alameda

bishop will make
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placeholder February 8, 2016   •   VOL. 54, NO. 3   •   Oakland, CA
Weddings & Anniversaries

Opportunity to bless a civil marriage in Alameda

In the Year of Mercy, St. Joseph Basilica Parish is making an offer to couples who have civil marriages and are eligible to be married in the Catholic Church: It's on us.

Rev. George Alengandan, pastor, made the same offer last year, said Anne Marie Fourre, director of faith formation, and four couples were blessed at a convalidation ceremony. Three additional couples were blessed in ceremonies of their own.

Associate Pastor Rev. Thi Van Hoang made the offer this year, on the day the church remembered the miracle at Cana.

"We want to give them the opportunity to consecrate their marriage in the church," said Fourre.

Convalidation Preparation

What: Retreat and paperwork

When: March 5, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: St. Joseph Basilica,
1109 Chestnut St., Alameda

RSVP: Parish office,
510-522-0181, or
The parish will offer a free one-day convalidation marriage retreat, which will include the opportunity to do the paperwork required for the marriage blessing. The retreat is designed for those who are married civilly to each other and have no previous marriages.

Those who have a prior marriage that may require an annulment are invited to consult with a priest.

The marriage preparation, to be conducted by Mary and Jack Sullivan, condenses what is usually covered in six shorter sessions into one.

The questions differ from those asked by the never-married people, Jack Sullivan said. Couples talk about parenting, for example. They're in the right place: The Sullivans are parents of six children.

There may be cultural reasons the marriage was never consecrated in the church, he said. Some couples are from countries where civil and sacramental marriages are performed separately.

"People wait to have the church ceremony until they have enough money to invite the village," he said.

But, in some case, they come to the United States, have children and the sacrament, while intended, has not been completed.

"It's never, never too late," Fourre said.

The convalidation retreat will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 5. Register at the parish office or by sending an email to afourre@sjbalameda.org.

For the retreat, couples are asked to bring a copy of their baptism certificates, issued within six months of the scheduled convalidation and a copy of First Communion and Confirmation certificates if available. Each person should have one witness (preferably a family member) who knows the person well. The witnesses are asked to come to the church any time between noon to 3 p.m. March 5 for a brief interview and to fill out some paperwork.

The convalidation process will be topped off with a June 18 ceremony at St. Joseph Basilica. A reception will follow.

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