ASK FATHER: What documents are needed for us to marry?

From a senior reader…


My fiancee (age82) and I (age 76) are both widowed and lifelong Catholics. We know what documents we need, but what other church requirements must we go through before marriage.

You should have your baptism certificates, which will indicate other sacraments you received, including your marriages.  You will also need death certificates for your late spouses.

However, the first step you need to take is to go to your parish priest. He can get everything going for you. He will guide you through the steps.

My grandmother married again in her late 70’s. She too snagged a younger man. I think he was 75.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. RichR says:

    This is so cool.

    Prayers going out for the engaged couple. :-))

  2. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Of course, if canonical form weren’t — oh, never mind.

  3. joan ellen says:

    RichR: “This is so cool.” I have to agree. As a widow I am a tiny bit jealous of this new engagement.
    Both of them must have had good marriages before. I would like to do it again. However, God seems to be calling me to remain a ‘dedicated widow’ as some of us say.

  4. joan ellen says:

    Forgot to say, I also will offer them an Our Father, at least.

  5. Matthew says:

    Also speak to a civil lawyer. If you marry ONLY in the Church there will be no impact on your Social Security. If you marry civilly as well as in the Church there may well be a decrease in Social Security benefits.

  6. Elizabeth D says:

    Congratulations to this couple and other couples called to the vocation of Holy Matrimony.

    To other Catholic widows out there, don’t undervalue consecrating (even privately) your widowhood to God Whom you can dedicate yourself to in singleness of heart and in loving service to your neighbor. Humanly speaking this may likely have no advantages to you, but human advantage is not the reason God gives the gift of celibacy.

  7. Random Friar says:

    Not just baptismal certificates, but the dioceses I’ve been in want a recent one (within 6 months), with annotations, mailed to the parish. I tell people this and they still hand me the one the Church gave them as a memento of that happy occasion decades before.

  8. VexillaRegis says:

    Dear Matthew, just marrying in the Church would be against the canon law and it would also be a fraud to do so in order to keep your monetary securities. Such marriages are only permitted by the Church under very very unusual circumstances,. If a priest did that in the US he would put himself in serious trouble with the authorities.

    To the reader: CONGRATULATIONS!

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