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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.

Where can I find baptismal or marriage records for myself or my family members? 

Click here for information on obtaining Sacramental Records.

How do I go about petitioning for an annulment? 

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.

Where can I find parish information and Mass times? 

Mass times for churches in the Diocese of Manchester can be found by clicking in the "I Am Looking For" box on the left column of every page.

Find Multicultural Mass times in the Diocese of Manchester

Find Latin Mass times

Find National Mass times

Can the diocese offer any charitable support to me or my organization? 

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 individuals in the rest of the U.S., visit Catholic Charities USA or your local Catholic Charities.

For charitable organizations in the U.S., visit the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

Where can I find employment opportunities? 

Click here to find employment opportunities.

I am getting married soon and have questions about the marriage preparation process. 

Click here to find information about the marriage preparation process.

I am interested in being confirmed or being baptized into the Catholic Church. 

Click here to find information about the initiation process of becoming a Catholic.

I have been away from the Church and am interested in returning. Where do I begin? 

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 mjsilvia@rcbm.org.

What are the Holy Days of Obligation? 

Click here to learn more about the Holy Days of Obligation.

Where can I find directions to the Diocesan Administration Building? 

Click here to find directions to the Diocesan Administration Building.

Am I free to choose a parish or is it based on where I live? 

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.

What is the status of the Saint Benedict Center and the “Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary”? 

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. While canonically these individuals remain in good standing in the Catholic Church, 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 also approved a building at the Center as an appropriate worship space; neither of these actions should be interpreted as a change to the status of Saint Benedict Center or the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

What is the status of “The Religious Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen” and “Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Mission” in Salem? 

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.

Diocese of Manchester
The Catholic Church in New Hampshire

153 Ash Street, Box 310
Manchester, NH 03105-0310
(603) 669-3100
Fax: (603) 669-0377

© Diocese of Manchester