5.G.1.1 Parochial Registers in General

1. All sacramental records that are created, received, used, maintained or preserved by the parishes or other entities of the Diocese of Lansing, or by their employees or volunteers acting in an official capacity, are solely the property of the diocese, held in trust for the juridic persons.

2. No records shall be removed, destroyed, transferred, stored, reproduced, transferred into another media format (e.g. digital imaging), or otherwise disposed of except in compliance with the following policies and the procedures developed by the Office of Archivist.

3. The wholesale inspection and reproduction of sacramental records, unrelated to legitimate archiving under the direction of the Diocese of Lansing, is strictly prohibited. (See resources on Genealogical Access.)

4. Every parish must properly maintain and indefinitely preserve the following registers in which sacraments and other actions that affect the canonical status of persons or have an effect in Church law are recorded:

    a. Register of the Elect and Catechumens [1] (commonly called Book of the Elect; see resources that accompany #5.G.1.1 for combining them into one.)

    b. Register of Baptisms [2]

    c. Register of First Communions [3] (First Communions are reported to the parishes of Baptism as a courtesy according to #5.G.7 Recording and Reporting First Holy Communion.)

    d. Register of Confirmations [4]

    e. Register of Marriages [5]

    f. Register of Funerals [6] (see resources that accompany #5.G.1.1 for the difference between these and cemetery records)

    g. Register of Mass Stipends [7] (However, after all the obligations of the Masses in a particular volume have been satisfied and three years have passed, that volume may be destroyed. See #5.G.1.2 Non Sacramental Records and Materials.)

    h. Book of Individual Obligations [8] (see explanation in resources that accompany #5.G.1.1)

5. A Register of the Anointing of the Sick or of Sick Calls may be kept

6. Since the sacrament of penance (also called confession or reconciliation) is a matter of the internal forum, no recording of the first celebration of this sacrament is to be made. No similar registers or lists are to be kept. (See #5.B.7 which excludes the use of commemorative certificates.)



[1] For Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens. See c. 788 §1, RCIA [USA] 46.

[2] CC. 535 and 877.

[3] Former diocesan policy ¶1332 made this particular law although not required by canon law.  However, a First Communion record is sometimes critical in uncovering other records or facts, such as establishing Catholicity in marriage cases.

[4] CC. 535 and 895.

[5] CC. 535, 1081; and 1121.

[6] CC. 535 and 1182.

[7] C. 958 §1.

[8] This pertains to parishes with a non autonomous pious foundation as treated in c. 1037 §2. In addition to the book mentioned in can. 958, §1, another book is to be maintained by the pastor or rector in which the individual obligations, their fulfillment and the offerings are noted. See following comments.


Date approved by Bishop


Posted by
Msgr. S. J. Raica, chancellor