Rules about which parish I can join?

Are there any rules guidlines as to which parish I must belong to?

I live 2 minutes from the nearest church/parish but my wife and I belong to and continue to attend mass at the parish we belonged to as children even though it is a few miles away. Are we ok doing this or is there some rule we are breaking by not attending to the parish nearest us?

Can one belong to whatever parish one wishes regardless of distance? (Of course being realistic, I’m not going to join a church hours away or anything)

(Sorry if this should have been in another forum, I wasn’t sure)

This is all my opinion, if someone has a better answer I bow to their better judgment.

It is up to you as far I have known in the Catholic Church, it is all one Church that is the beauty of it. It is recommended as far as I know to belong to the parish closest to you as you will be more part of that community.
Coming back to the Church I attended a parish which was 40 minutes away from my house for about 5 months as we were deciding if we should come back to the Church. There was an excellent priest there and the Masses were in spanish which were a great help to my wife. In addition the Church close to my house has many problems.
After coming back to the Church and spending time learning more and more, I have decided to attend the Church close to my house. This Church has so so many problems and it has shrunk in size to one Mass per Sunday.
I figure it needs loyal Catholics to spend time, get involved and help bring about renewal. I am trying to dedicate more and more time there and do what we can to get involved even if the parish director is not interested in apologetics. It will take time. Please pray for my parish.

God Bless

As of the 1983 code of canon law, you can pick whatever parish you want to join.


I was listening to CA Live this morning, and the same question came up. The great and powerful Karl Keating replied, “I go to a parish that’s not the closest to my house, mainly because I can’t focus on worship while looking up at the ceiling and thinking of a basketball court.” (slightly paraphrased.)

I think you’re on safe ground.

God Bless,

In my parish, I understand that if I live outside the parish boundaries I must obtain permission from the pastor of the parish whose boundaries I am within.

[quote=jpusateri]In my parish, I understand that if I live outside the parish boundaries I must obtain permission from the pastor of the parish whose boundaries I am within.

That varies from diocese to diocese. When I lived in Philadelphia, that was the case when I first joined the parish that was outside the boundary. I think that rule has been relaxed since then. When I moved to Scranton, that was not the case. Here in Detroit, I would not know since I go to the parish closest to me.


In this diocese (Brownsville) you are a member of the parish in whose geographic boundaries you reside, whether or not you are registered, and may not be denied sacraments and services (and owe your financial support and participation in parish life) even if you are not registered. If you wish to join another parish you are expected to register and to support that parish. Parish membership is important because we Catholics are in this as a community, this is not a one-man band.

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