Do we have to go to the nearest parish?


is it absolutely necessary to go to the nearest parish to your house? for me, it’s easier to catch the bus to my old parish, just a 10 minute ride without having to transfer. and if my dad drives, it’s only a 15 minute drive.


No you do not need to attend Mass at the nearest parish to which you live.

That said, depending on what country you live in and what diocese you live in, you may find that receiving sacraments such as matrimony and anointing of the sick, being considered for entrance into Catholic school, being visited by a priest in the hospital, getting counseling for spiritual problems, etc. is more difficult if you are not known in your territorial parish or if you don’t support your territorial parish financially.


I wouldn’t tihnk so. I currently go to the parish closest to my school because I don’t have transportation outside of my feet, but I would go back to my home parish if I had a car.


That’s the beautiful of our faith. I go to several Catholic churches, sometimes for closeness to the house, sometimes for better accessibility (to a wheelchair), sometimes for which best goes with my schedule that day. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

My mother, on the other hand, has the view that she feels most comfortable going to one Catholic church as her parish.

She is free to go to hers. I am free to go to mine.


Obviously the answer is no but I know in some diocese’s (at least in mine) you have to get permission to become a member of a Parish that is not your territorial one and it has to be a good reason (ex. you work in that city or if you are closer to a parish in another diocese). That being said I know a number of families who give their charity to their territorial parish but for other reasons go to another parish. One of the best examples is that of a family who typically goes to the TLM in our diocese but supports their geographical parish through donating money and to the music ministry. However you can attend whatever parish you wish. Hopefully you aren’t a church shopper though. You should try to have a sort of spiritual home.


So long as you are a member somewhere, and you participate in the ministries on some level, there’s really nothing wrong with finding a parish that feeds you spiritually.
I’ve always worked in parishes, and they’ve never been the one I’m supposed to register at. They are always miles away. But I always register and tithe wherever I am.


No, the Church does not require us to attend or financially support our territorial parish.


no no, i used to live close to it but when we moved, it was sitll easier to go to that one. it’s not that far away, just not the absolutely closest one geographically. it’s about 5 miles away maybe and there are about 3 others that are 2-3 miles from my house, but harder to get to by transit


No, you can go to any parish. I’m not even registered at either of the parishes that are 2 miles away in different directions. I am registered at an ethnic parish instead.


Do we have to be a member somewhere?
I have been regularly attending one parish…it is close, but not the closest. I have not registered there, though. I haven’t been confirmed anywhere and I’m still kind of waiting to figure out what’s happening with my first confession/communion at SSPX, so…I just haven’t registered. I am not sure if I should yet.
Is there any sort of process to registering? At the bottom of the bulletin there is a little registration card that says to fill out with your information and put in the tithe basket…is that all? Or does it involve anything else?

Sorry if this should go under a different thread.


Nope, nothing fancy. Just letting them know you are there and a regular.
You’ll probably start getting envelopes…and you may get mailings, such as the Diocesan newspaper, which is great to read.
Sometimes, it makes the reception of sacraments easier to navigate, but you can’t really be turned down for Sacraments. Mostly, parishes don’t want to be seen as a place where you can avoid the decisions of your true pastor. Believe or not, people shop for these things in regard to their children…like finding classes that don’t conflict with soccer or ballet lessons. :rolleyes:
Also, people register, and when they move, they hardly ever tell us they’ve moved. Artificially building up numbers is problematic, as the parishes get taxed by the Diocese based on their membership. So, wherever you register…tell them if you leave, so they can take you off the rolls and you’re not duplicated elsewhere. The finance committee will appreciate it. :wink:
It helps the pastor make decisions on programs, ministries, and helps with his budget when he knows how many people he is shepherding.


I’ll add that the nearest parish church doesn’t necessarily determine the territorial parish.

Some time ago, I’d reached the point of wondering what my territorial parish is, but I hadn’t reached the point of calling the diocese to ask :p, and I long assumed that I live in a certain parish, in part because it has the nearest church.

The diocesan website added a helpful interactive map that shows such things as parish boundaries, and unless something is wildly wrong with this map :eek:, the boundary between parishes turns out to be a short distance from my home. My territorial parish is actually the next one over.

It’s not hard to find similar spots elsewhere on the map, since parish boundaries (at least in this diocese) are not drawn so that the nearest church is always matched to the territorial parish.


This happens a lot with diocesan boundaries too. In my state I know many places where someone lives across the river from one parish that is like a mile away but their territorial parish is 15 miles away.


You are not obligated to only go to the Catholic Church in your residential parish. You are allowed to go to any Catholic Church of your choice. If you choose to be registered in a particular parish, then you become registered in that Diocese or Archdiocese.


No. When we moved we wanted to continue going to our old church.


Taxed? How does this work? This is not the state, right, but within the hierarchy of the church? What does registration mean to the church, actually?


Taxed by the Diocese. Meaning, they will ask for a percentage of what the parish takes in in order to support the Chancery offices, the Seminarians, Charities, and other entities within the Diocese like the schools, retired religious, etc.
If your numbers are off, it could cost a struggling parish dearly.
Even if the Annual Appeal does not bring in what your percentage should be, the parish still has to make up the difference.

Registration means, you are happy to call yourself a member of St. Whomever Catholic Church. You have plans to receive your Sacraments there, you are part of the worshiping community, you expect to be informed of major events, you have an interest in the parish thriving. You will attend events. You will avail yourself of things like Bible study, be active in ministry, pray for the parish and it’s members, be known to the priest. Or all of the above, or only one of the above. Some people are members, but live in assisted living and cannot make it there. The Pastor brings them communion weekly along with the Deacons, and they are included in daily prayer, for example.

Registration has its benefits, and most of them are personal. We are called to be gathered as family. We welcome the stranger yes, but we love our parish family and pray for them daily.

Hope this helps.
God bless you.


You may attend any Catholic church anywhere.

However, you are only a member of the parish in which you reside. Parishes are territorial entitles. The territory is the parish.

Parish registration has no effect on parish membership. While registrations is a useful administrative tool, it has no effect on membership. None.

Parishes are like state lines. You are a citizen of the state where you reside. It doesn’t matter if you live closer to one capital or another. All that matters is which side of the line you reside.

Regardless of where one attends, or where one is registered, or which names are on which mailing lists, a Catholic is a member of the parish in which territory he has a residence.

The two exceptions to this are:

  1. What are known as “personal parishes” meaning that the membership is determined by persons not territory. Examples of this are ethnic parishes, parishes for the Extraordinary Form, or Anglican Ordinariate parishes.
  2. A person may have more than one residence. Quasi-domicile (living in a place other than one’s home for 3 months or longer) means that one may have more than one parish.


We have no such thing as registration .

When you live within a certain parish you are automatically a member of that parish .


On a literal level, yes that’s true.
For practical reasons, pastors want people to register. It helps them discern what is needed.
How much to budget for education, etc.
The Dioceses here in the US expect them to give reports to them. That’s where they derive their statistics from. That’s how they determine if your parish needs a second or third priest. Things like this.
Maybe it’s different where you are.

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