Questions on parishes

  1. I live part of the year in one city, and part of the year in another, though both are in the same diocese (I am a university student.) With which parish should I register?

  2. Does a Newman Center count as a parish?

  3. If the nearest parish church is an ethnic parish, is that my parish, or may I register in the slightly-farther English-speaking parish?

Also, if one gets married, they have to have that marriage recorded in the parish of their birth, right? How does that work for immigrants? Do I have to call St. Luke’s in Manila to inform them?

You could, in theory, register at the Newman Center, but, you might want to check it out first for fidelity to the Church, especially where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. When I went to the University, I was blessed enough to have both a parish and a Newman Center within close proximity of my dorm. However, one visit to the Newman Center sent me walking to the parish.

Now, do you have a car? If you have a car, there is no need to change parishes. My parish is not the one that is closest to me. I go elsewhere.

If I were you, I’d register in your “home city” parish and support your Newman Center on campus. When you go through marriage prep, your pastor, with the help of your diocese, will take care of the details of having your marriage recorded.

The marriage needs to be recorded in the same parish where the Baptism of the person took place. In fact, if you are planning on getting married, now would be a good time to request a copy of your baptismal certificate. In my diocese, the most recent copy of required (not the original one).

What happens when the parish of baptism no longer exists? Many parishes have closed up here in recent years.

I’m not going to be married for quite some time, just a curious question should it happen.

I have a copy of my baptismal certificate (I needed it to get my papers), but do I need to notify the parish in the Philippines where I was baptized?

*]The situation you describe is canonically one of *domicile *and *quasi-domicile *cf. [post=6713054]Transferring Parishes/Diocese[/post]. I believe it is correct to register in both places – Doesn’t hurt to ask them if that’s right.
*]Not as a rule, but it is possible.
*]If you are not a member of the ethnic community served by the parish, I expect you would register with the English-speaking parish.


The diocese should know where the records have been secured – Either in their own archives or within the records of another parish.


If/when such time arrives, you will need to obtain a recent copy of the certificate (usually within 6 months), in order to show there are no previous unions impeding the proposed marriage. After the marriage is celebrated, the local parish should communicate that fact to the parish of your baptism.


I recently obtained a copy of my Bptismal Certificate from the parish where I was baptised and there is no record of my marriage on it. I have separate copies of my First Communion certificate, and my marriage certificate, all of which were at different parishes, and my marriage was in a different Diocese. Am I supposed to notify the parish in which I was baptized of all of these (after 40 and 50 years)?

I think that the parish where the marriage took place should have done this. If I were you, I would let them know. It helps, for example, your descendants if they happen to dabble in geneaology. I learned a lot from the baptismal certificates of my late maternal grandparents.

First of all, you need to know that registering at a parish essentially means nothing other than the fact that you are on a list at the parish office. Registration has nothing to do with parish membership because a Catholic is a member of the parish in whose territory he has a residence (or in your case quasi-residence). In canon law, you are actually a parishioner of both your home parish and the parish at school–registration has nothing to do with this.

  1. Whether you register or not, you are a parishioner of both places. If you choose you can register at either, both, or neither. You can also choose to register at another parish where you don’t live–but that won’t make you a parishioner; For example, you could “register” at a parish in Vermont if the pastor lets you, but it won’t amount to anything.

  2. The Newman centers are usually not parishes, but extensions of the local parish. This will depend on how the parish boundaries are defined by the local bishop. Again, it comes down to a question of exactly where your dorm/apartment/house etc is located. Whatever parish territory that turns out to be is your parish. It’s not impossible, but it’s very unlikely for a Newman center to be an outright parish under canon law, and if it were, it would have a proper title (like Saint soandso parish).

  3. An ethnic parish is an exception to the rule in that these parishes are defined by members rather than by territory. There is a difference though between an official “ethnic parish” and a “parish with an ethnicity.” If it’s just coincidence that most of the people in a certain parish happen to be of the same background, but the parish is still a territorial one, then you are automatically a member of that parish even if you don’t identify with that ethnicity. Whether or not you are a parishioner in the English-speaking parish depends entirely upon that parish territory. If you live within the territory, then you’re a parishioner there, and you certainly may register there. If you don’t live within the territory, then you’re not a parishioner, even if you do happen to register. Your proper parish might even be one you haven’t discovered yet.


Does this also apply to registering at the diocesan Cathedral parish? If one
lives outside of the territory of the Cathedral, but registers there, can one be a
member of that parish? Is that an exception to the rule?

The cathedral parish is still a parish and the same canon law applies.

Like I already said, you might be able to register at a parish in which you don’t live, but that won’t make you a parishioner. Registration does not make someone a parishioner–only residence does this. Someone who lives outside of the territory of the parish (as the bishop defined that territory), isn’t a parishioner.

Having said that though, in a way, everyone who lives in a given diocese is a “parishioner” of the cathedral because the cathedral is the church of the diocese. But in terms of parish membership, one has to live within the defined territory of the cathedral-as-parish to be a proper parishioner. The pastor of the cathedral is actually the bishop, so when it comes to a question of jurisdiction the pastor of the cathedral already has jurisdiction for everyone living in the diocese; but the rector of the cathedral only has jurisdiction for the people living in the territory of the cathedral-as-parish.

probably not. the Philippines doesn’t keep the records as well as they do here in North America. that is why they always ask you to produce your Baptismal and Confirmation certificate

in fact, i was surprised to learn here that all Sacraments are annotated to your birth certificate, therefore you should report always to the parish of your baptism. its not the case in the Philippines. when i got married, i was already living in another parish, i was baptized in San Agustin (which wasn’t our parish, ever. it was just a popular church), and i was confirmed at Manila Cathedral (again, not our parish ever). when i got married i had to go to my geographical parish, present my Baptismal and Confirmation certificates.

since you’re living in the US now, why not ask your current parish to carry your present records? and present them your Baptismal certificate from the Philippines

Just looked up the nearest Catholic church, but I’m unsure if it’s a proper parish or not - it’s Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe Shrine… only one of the Masses is in English…:confused:

like retirees who spend part of the year in a southern state, you register in the parish where you reside permanently, and attend Mass at any other parish near your part-time residence. Most Newman Centers are not actual parishes, in that they hold Mass regularly, and may be assigned a chaplain but he is usually not a pastor, and sacraments of initiation are not celebrated and recorded there. But yes that is the usual option for those living on a college campus. Our local public college has a Catholic campus ministry center with Mass, bible study and other services, and also holds RCIA and confirmation classes, but those candidates are received into the Church through the “regular” parish in which the school is located, by arrangement with that pastor, and the sacraments are recorded in his parish records.

Any Catholic can fulfill his Mass obligation and receive sacraments at any Catholic parish of any rite, whether it is a territorial (geographical) parish, or jurisdictional parish (such as an “ethnic” parish). There are places where the pastor of the “ethnic” parish may expect those registering in his parish to belong to that group, especially if they expect to enroll children in the school or RE, but that is becoming rarer. It was typical when we raised our kids in the Cleveland diocese, for instance, to be surrounded by an Italian, Hungarian, Slovenian, and Lithuanian parish, each with its own school, but to be told we had to register in the “regular” parish since we did not belong to any of those groups.

When you receive sacraments it is the duty of the pastor to notify your baptismal parish of that fact, as they are all recorded in the baptismal register of that parish. When you ask for marriage, first communion, confirmation, ordination, (or religious profession, even though it is not a sacrament) you will be asked to provide a recent (issued within 6 months) record of your baptism from your baptismal parish, listing alls sacraments received, for the obvious reason of making sure have not already received them. If you don’t know how to contact them, ask the parish secretary of the new parish, she can help you find the information on line, and ask the record be sent directly to the pastor or RE director. It is always wise on general principles to keep important records, not only birth certificate, but sacramental certificates, marriage documents etc. I have found parishes in the Phillipines and in Mexico to be excellent in maintaining and providing sacramental records, the problem usually arises when the individual does not know exactly where he was baptised.

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