Can one belong to more than one Parish?

Forgive me if I have posted this in the wrong place, but I wasn’t sure of where to put it.

My problem is that I live in one city (Antioch) but teach Catechism in another (Condord) so I belong to that Parish (I lived in Concord for 7 years but now I don’t). Since I have a year left of the 2 yrs of catechism for the kids at my current Parish, I don’t know if I can belong to the one where I live now as well. I know that I have to belong to the Parish where I teach catechism, so I belong to that one (and actually after the class I attend Mass there). Since we’re going into summer vacation in a few weeks, I won’t need to go to Concord, but when classes begin again in the fall, I will be going to Mass there again. While the kids are on vacation I will be going to Mass in Antioch. The Pastor sent me an email asking me to join the Parish but I don’t know if I can since I belong to the other one… so, can I belong to 2 Parishes? I don’t think I can but I wanted to ask just in case…sorry if this is confusing…

I’d hate to give up my old Parish since I love the way Mass is given there and the Pastor is just wonderful, plus, it’s the only old fashioned Church around and am not very fond of the modern looking ones (the one’s in Antioch are both modern, no saint statues, only a plain cross w/o Jesus on it).

I don’t know what to do since I’d be attending both on a regular basis…


Go talk to your priest (the one in Concord), he can guide you.

If I lived in Antioch, I would not be adverse to driving to Concord, Pittsburg (Yes, Pittsburg), Pleasant Hill, San Pablo or even Richmond. But I am a biased old coot.

It is my understanding that all things beuing equal, you would be a member of the parish within whose geographical boundaries you live. I beleive you may become a member of another parish, but you need to be a member of some parish if for no other reasons than records. That does not, however preclude you from attending Mass in another parish.

In virtually every single diocese in the U.S. you can register in any Catholic Church you choose. You reside in a particular parish, but you can register in any Latin or Eastern Catholic Church. You do not have to formally switch ritual churches either, but if you want to, for example, be ordained in an Eastern Catholic Church, you would need to switch ritual churches formally.

I belong to two parishes. One near my home and another one much further away which my family has a long history with.

How do you know this?


Yep! You may register and attend where you are fed best. One IS NOT BOUND by geographics. I know this as it has been answered on CA’s radio so many times.

But back to the question, can one be registered to more than one parish? I would thlnk so, especially if you are contributing to each financially. I would simply divide your current contribution and give to each parish in the matter you attend them. I do this myself between two parishes, although I never registered at one of them. But then, I attend a clustered parish which is different than your situation.

You can’t spit in San Antonio without hitting a Catholic church (not that I’d intentionally spit on a church, mind you), so we live near MANY different parishes. Technically, my husband and I belong to two, but mostly attend just one in particular.

No one’s blown up yet, and know one’s complained, so I guess it’s fine. :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t doubt that someone can belong to two parishes in terms of having successfully registered at and being considered a member by those communities, yet I do wonder whether there are not certain fairly specific canonical questions that would require identifying the proper pastor for an individual.

Because where I teach catechism, it’s says on the bulletin that if you want to be a part of any ministry you have to register with that parish.

Indeed, as Br. Rich alluded:

Can. 102 §1 Domicile is acquired by residence in the territory of a parish, or at least of a diocese…

Can. 107 §1 Both through domicile and through quasi-domicile everyone acquires his or her own parish priest and Ordinary.


Okay. That is a parochial (or perhaps diocesan) policy, but not universal.

:twocents: I don’t think it makes sense to be registered in 2 parishes generally*. However being registered in a particular parish does not obligate you to always attend there either, though it does evidence intent, at least, to materially support the parish. (ie it would not make sense, or would be otherwise deceptive, to register with one parish, but to materially support another one to its exclusion).

In your situation (if I understand it correctly), I would thank the territorial pastor for his kind invitation, but explain the catechetical requirement which is obliging you otherwise. Again, my :twocents:

(* A situation where I judge it would be sensible would be someone who maintains eg a summer residence in NY and a winter residence in FL)


I have failed to see in canon law the rules on Parish registration…If canon law is silent on this issue I believe that we all must assume it as a Lacuna and Must come to the conclusion that it is not proper if not impossible to be registered at more than one parish. WIth this in mind and the fact that some cities have “vicariates” parish boundries no doubt overlap (Canon 374).

Could someone please direct to me as to if there is a geographical REQURIEMENT mandating parish registration?

I recently moved and was informed by a church close by that I could not join since I was located in another parish’s territory (Diocesans rules). I kept my membership at my old parish (which is about an hour away and in a different Diocese) since I still, on occasion, attend mass there and have been an active member there since birth. The parish I was told I must join I do not like very much and its mass times are inconvenient and its architecture disturbing (an oversized stature of Christ behind the altar that looks as if it is larger than the church itself) and the priests seems to perform all types of liturgical abuses (sitting for the gospel, adding all words and phases to the liturgy, using more inclusive language, etc.). I am very troubled because I wanted to become active in my new parish but I feel I am very restricted. Any thoughts on this?

Part of this may be determined by what you mean as to “active in my new parish”.

There is an old saw about it being easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission. I have never been in a parish which refused my volunteer help; but then, I have rarely volunteered in a parish that I was not attending regularly. Showing up regularly often is taken to presume that you are officially a member; I have never heard anyone sya that you had to show a membership card bdfore they would let you volunteer your time.

On the other hand, if it is issues about doing something that would specifically require the pastor’s permission (e.g. teaching RCIA), or if you are looking at issues such as a child attending the parish school, then you might want to think about how long you will be in the general area, and how you might go about changing your residence.

By active in my old parish I mean I was a lector, board member of the Holy Name Society, and as a volunteer at various parish functions and my wife and I were both part of the Pre-Cana program. From what I understand one must be registered in a parish to be part of these types of activities.

Here in St. Louis, we have a number of beautiful old Catholic churches that were built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The city neighborhoods where these churches are located were once heavily populated with large German, Irish, Italian, or Polish Catholic families who filled the pews every Sunday. But now these neighborhoods have far fewer families and far fewer Catholics. Many of these churches have closed completely, but others have been kept open as “personal parishes” (I think that is the term).

Essentially, these are parishes without geographic boundaries. Some are designed to meet the needs of a specific population (offering the Latin Mass, or offering Mass in Spanish, Vietnamese, Polish, etc.) Some others have a specific ethnic heritage but seem to regularly offer Mass only in English. Others seem to simply allow people with a historic connection to the parish to remain active with it, and allow people from more modern suburban parishes to attend mass in a more traditional historic Catholic church.

In my experience it seems that many of the people who attend these parishes belong to both their “home” parish and this “personal parish” attending Mass at both and providing financial support to both. I don’t know what the specific rules are on this, but this is what I have observed in daily practice.

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