About Us » Frequently Asked Questions
The questions below address inquiries we most often answer by personal e-mail. If you have a general question about the Catholic faith and Church teaching, CLICK HERE for our Catholic Faith FAQs.
The marriage invalidity (annulment) process begins at the parish level, where a Petition for a Canonical Investigation of the Validity of a Marriage is completed with the assistance of the pastor, priest, deacon, Pastoral Associate or Field Advocate; this person then will forward the Petition and other necessary documentation (baptism certificates for Catholic parties, marriage certificate and final divorce decree) to the Tribunal and the Petitioner will be contacted for a preliminary interview. The information in the Petition and the inteview, along with the documentation presented, is evaluated to determine whether the case can be accepted for trial by the Tribunal of the Diocese of Manchester. Once the case is accepted by the Judicial Vicar, the Petitioner is contacted regarding the members of the Court and the grounds upon which the case will be examined, and will be asked to sign a libellus - the legal Petition for the case to continue. This constitutes the official "opening" of the case. The former spouse then is notified of the Petition and is asked to indicate the level of participation he or she intends. Witnesses are contacted, and any other necessary evidence is collected for presentation to the Judges and the Defender of the Bond who will review the case and evaluate the testimonies and evidence according to Church law; the Petitioner and Respondent will be given the opportunity to review the testimonies and to respond to what they have read. The case then is ready for argument, and a definitive sentence will be issued either in favor of the invalidity of the marriage in question, or upholding the validity of the marriage bond. The parties will be notified of the final decision of the Judges and will be given the opportunity to read the argument and the final decision. If the Petitioner, the Respondent, or the Defender of the Bond objects to the decision of the Tribunal, he or she has the right to appeal formally either to the Appellate Court of the Boston Province, or directly to Rome, for its review of the case. If no appeal is presented within fifteen days of the reading of the sentence, the parties will be notified of the outcome, and if appropriate, will be given the decree. Sometimes special conditions are attached to a decision and must be fulfilled before a party may enter into subsequent marriage in the Catholic Church. A lengthier discussion of the process may be found on our "Office of Canonical Services and Tribunal" Web page.
The Diocese of Manchester provides support to New Hampshire residents and charitable agencies through New Hampshire Catholic Charities and the Bishop’s Charitable Assistance Fund.
If you are an individual in need of help, visit New Hampshire Catholic Charities for information on what services they provide.
If you are a charitable organization looking for support, regardless of religious affiliation, learn more about the Bishop’s Charitable Assistance Fund.
Though we are unable to provide direct support for individuals and organizations outside of New Hampshire, the Diocese of Manchester does actively support a number of agencies that do.
For charitable organizations in the U.S., visit the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
No matter how long you have been away and no matter the reason, we invite you to consider renewing or beginning your relationship with the Catholic Church. To speak with someone, contact Mary Jane Silvia at (603) 663-0172, or email@example.com.
In short, the answer is that while parishes are bound to minister to a specific geography and care for those within it, individuals are not bound to worship at that specific parish.
A parish has a defined geography, which in New Hampshire means that each parish is responsible for ministering the sacraments to Catholics within the towns or, in a city, neighborhoods in close proximity. This ensures that no area of a diocese is neglected from reasonable access to Holy Sacraments. National parishes, such as Polish, French or Portuguese parishes, are charged not with a geographic boundary but with a cultural one, and care for the people in areas who share a common language.
While a parish may have a responsibility to care for all Catholics within your community, you as a Catholic can choose to celebrate at another parish. The gifts of different parishes call different people.
The individuals who work and reside at Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, NH, are Catholic men and women who live in community according to their own chosen set of rules. Neither “Saint Benedict Center” nor the “Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” enjoys any recognition, canonical or otherwise, in the Universal Roman Catholic Church or in the Diocese of Manchester.
The Most Reverend Peter A. Libasci, Bishop of Manchester, has granted permission to a priest in good standing to celebrate Mass and hear Confessions at Saint Benedict Center for the residents and their guests. The Bishop has approved a recently constructed building as an appropriate worship space; his approval of the space does not change the status of Saint Benedict Center or the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The space has not been approved as a “chapel” or an “oratory,” and therefore cannot be referred to as a “chapel” or “oratory,” as those terms have particular meaning under Church law.
Assisted by his delegate and by others, it remains Bishop Libasci’s sincere desire to continue to work with Saint Benedict Center to identify a way for the identity and the work of the Center to resonate with the mission of the Universal Church, and in particular, the Diocese of Manchester.
A group which calls itself “The Religious Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen” (“CMRI”) has established a church in Salem by the name of “Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Mission.” On its website, this group indicates that it offers the Tridentine Rite Mass (sometimes referred to as the “Traditional” or “Latin” Mass), Catechism classes for children, and Confessions and other sacraments.
This group and this church are not Catholic, and do not have the right to call themselves Catholic. CMRI is not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and the sacraments they claim to offer have no validity in the Roman Catholic Church. Catholics are not permitted to receive the sacraments from CMRI ministers under any circumstances, nor should they participate in any activity provided by this group.
The members of CMRI are what are called “sedevacantists,” meaning that they believe that the current pope is not truly the pope and that the See of St. Peter is vacant. They believe that there has not been a pope in the Catholic Church since the death of Saint John XXIII, and therefore do not recognize any subsequent pope, including Pope Francis, as head of the Church.
For those who have a desire to attend a celebration of the Tridentine Rite Mass within the Church in union with the Holy See, please click here for a listing of our Latin Masses.
If you have any questions about the relationship between CMRI and the Roman Catholic Church, please contact your pastor, or the diocese.