how does marriage work when one only one is catholic
QUESTION: I was baptized a Catholic, made my first Holy Communion, but did not make my confirmation until 2008.
I married a non Catholic. We were married by a Justice of the Peace in 1975. I am now 52 years old still married to my husband.
Just thought I'd give a little background. Last December I wanted to go on retreat but was told by a fellow parishioner that I could not because I was not married in the church.
I feel like I can't move forward in strengthening my faith and want to know how does it work when your spouse is not catholic? I have not had a chance to sit down and discuss with my parish priest. Can you please advise me what steps I Need to pursue.
ANSWER: The first thing we suggest you do is have a heart-to-heart conversation with your husband. Tell him that you would like to strengthen your faith, and would like to be more active in your faith-life. In particular, tell him that you would like to deepen your Faith by participating in various activities of your parish, such as retreats, maybe by joining a religious organization, and others. Tell him that your Faith is important to you, and in the same that his Faith is important to him. It is important you establish a mutual respect for each other's beliefs, and actively encourage each other to practice each other's Faith to the fullest.
Second, we encourage you to actively participate in the various activities of your parish. Go ahead and join the various retreats and recollections offered by your parish. God is a merciful and loving God, and He will always welcome you with open arms. As such, there is nothing that should hinder you from actively participating in Church activities to deepen your Faith, despite your current state.
Finally, we suggest for you to actively seek the counsel of your parish priest, through a private dialogue and consultation. The parish where you belong is your "home" in the Catholic faith. The parish priest is your "father" in the faith. He will be able to help give you a lot of solid guidance with your situation.
Your desire to deepen your Faith, despite your current situation with your non-Catholic husband, is very much a gift of God to you. He is calling you to a deeper relationship with Him. Make this seed of desire grow and blossom into a full tree, so that you may find complete peace, love and joy in the loving embrace of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith.