Parish Registration

Welcome to Our Lady of Tahoe Catholic Church

Vatican II’s Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People asserted that the laity should be filled with an apostolic spirit and work closely with their priests: “Nourished by their active participation in the liturgical life of their community, they engage zealously in its apostolic works; they draw men toward the Church who had been perhaps very far away from it; they ardently cooperate in the spread of the Word of God, particularly by catechetical instruction; by the expert assistance they increase the efficacy of the care of souls as well as of the administration of the good of the Church” (#10). Therefore, the pastor, his assistants, and the faithful work together to build a sense of community within the parish, mainly through the celebration of the Mass. For this reason, under normal circumstances, adults are to be baptized in their parish Church and infants in the parish church of their parents, and couples are to be married in the parish where either the groom or bride lives. Through the spirit and practice of the laity and the clergy working together to foster this community, the parish's relationship to the bishop is strengthened (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, #42).

To help ensure this dynamic in the parish, the Church requires registration. Parish registration creates a two-fold obligation: On one hand, the pastor is obligated to serve the spiritual needs of that individual. On the other hand, the individual is compelled to support the mission and conditions of the parish.

In her wisdom, the Church has seen the practice of registering at the Church responsible for a particular territory as the best way for both priests and laity to meet these obligations. The Code of Canon Law stipulates, “As a general rule a parish is to be territorial, that is it embraces all the Christian faithful within a certain territory; whenever it is judged useful, however, personal parishes are to be established based upon rite, language, the nationality of the Christian faithful within some territory or even upon some determining factor” (#518). In our society today, sometimes a person may feel more comfortable at a particular parish or like the ambiance of a specific parish even though it is not the territorial parish for where the person lives. When a pastor allows these individuals to register, he also accepts the responsibility for their spiritual care. For instance, if a person were sick or dying, that parish priest now has the responsibility for that person.


In the Roman Catholic Church of the United States of America, members to be considered "active" parishioners must be registered in the Parish for a sufficient period of time, fulfill the Sabbath Commandment by attending Mass faithfully on Sundays and Holy Days, and continuously support the Mission of Christ in the local Parish by preferably using the envelope system. Doing so assures them of all pastoral services necessary in their state of life.