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, view our "Understanding Our Faith" page.
The most up-to-date information about the diocesan response to the pandemic can be found at: www.catholicnh.org/coronavirus
Find information on obtaining Sacramental Records.
Find information about annulments on the Office for Canonical Services and Tribunal page.
Mass times for churches in the Diocese of Manchester can be found on our online directory.
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.
Find information about marriage preparation.
Find information about the initiation process of becoming a Catholic.
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 Martha Drennan at (603) 663-0172, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about the Holy Days of Obligation.
Find directions to the Diocesan Administration Building.
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.
Clergy members who need to request a Statement of Suitability or Letter of Good Standing can log in to the Extranet and find the link under "Priestly Life and Ministry".
The individuals who work and reside at Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, NH, are men and women who have chosen to live in community having adopted and following their own set of rules. Neither Saint Benedict Center, the Immaculate Heart of Mary School, nor the self-referenced “Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” enjoy any recognition, canonical or otherwise, in the Universal Roman Catholic Church or in the Diocese of Manchester. They are not a Catholic organization (de facto or otherwise,) nor can they, or should they, present themselves in such a way. The Immaculate Heart of Mary School is not a Catholic School, nor can it, or should it, present itself as such, or imply that it offers an education rooted in Catholic Tradition.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, in April 2016 and again in October 2016, declared “unacceptable,” therefore erroneous and contrary to Church teachings, the manner with which the Saint Benedict Center and the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary interpret the principle “extra ecclesiam nulla salus,” (outside the Church there is no salvation.) Rome pronounced the matter closed, thus no longer open to dialogue or debate.
In the past, the Bishop of Manchester has granted permission for a priest in good standing to offer ministry at the Saint Benedict Center. This fact was manipulated by the Slaves and the Center to imply support or recognition by the Church. To avoid any further misrepresentation of the status of the Saint Benedict Center and the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, beginning 7 January 2019, Catholic priests are now forbidden to celebrate the Sacraments of the Church at the Center.
Consequently, the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, The Saint Benedict Center, The Saint Benedict Center, Inc., and the Immaculate Heart of Mary School, are placed under strict canonical prohibitions and obligations. It is the most sincere hope of the Bishop of Manchester that all those associated with the Saint Benedict Center and its various entities will rediscover full communion with the See of Peter.
Catholics are not permitted, under any circumstances, to receive the sacraments of the Church at the Saint Benedict Center, Richmond, New Hampshire, and its associated locations, nor should they participate in any activity provided by this group, their school and summer camp.
In his pastoral care for the souls of those who work, live at, or reside near the Saint Benedict Center, the Bishop of Manchester has arranged for the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Latin Mass) at Saint Stanislaus, 80 Richmond St., Winchester, NH 03470, on Sundays at 7:45am.
The Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Saint Benedict Center in Still River, MA, is not associated or affiliated with the St. Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire or catholicism.org. They are recognized as a Private Association of the Faithful by the Diocese of Worcester, MA.
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, visit our online directory 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.
Regretfully, despite sustained efforts by Pope John-Paul II during his pontificate, and in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI who had previously led many of that work, decided to formally address the status of the Society of Saint Pius X. In a letter to the Bishops of the Church, Pope Benedict wrote “until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.” Therefore, it is important to know that the Society still does not possess a canonical status in the Diocese of Manchester, nor in the Universal Church. It is not recognized in, or by the Church. This is not based on disciplinary reasons but on serious doctrinal differences in interpretation of Church teaching. Any Roman Catholic should desire to be in, and remain in, communion with the Church and therefore refrain from any involvement with the Society of Saint Pius X.
For those who have a desire to attend a celebration of the Tridentine Rite Mass (Latin Mass) within the Catholic Church and in union with the Holy See, please visit our website for a listing of our Latin Masses.