Annulment and Holy Communion

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Background: Neither my wife or I are Catholic. It appears though that God is leading me to the Catholic Church. The concern I have is concerning receiving the Eucharist. The situation is this: My wife and I have been married for 30 years and we have three children. This is my first marriage. My wife, however, received a civil annulment to her first marriage because the man she married turned out to be a practicing homosexual. Unknown to her he lived this sinful lifestyle before they were married and he continued to live it after the marriage ceremony. It is my understanding that this situation would easily qualify for an annulment decree by the Catholic Church.

My questions: 1) would we need to apply for and receive an annulment by the Catholic Church before I could receive First Communion? And 2) if an annulment were not granted what would that mean? Would I be expected to divorce my wife of 30 years? Or would I be expected to never participate in the grace of Holy Communion?

Thank you for your answer.
Your wife should have no difficulty in getting her first marriage annulled by the Catholic Church. Yes, the annulment will be necessary before you both can be admitted into the Catholic Church and thus receive the Eucharist. Once it is granted your marriage will automatically be considered valid by the Catholic Church. If you have both already been baptized, the marriage will automatically be considered sacramental. I can’t imagine the Church annulment not being granted since there exists legal evidence from the civil annulment. I fully expect that after fulfilling the requirements of the RCIA, you will be joining us in receiving the Eucharist in the near future. You both are in our prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.
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