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Parish Incorporation

SEPTEMBER 11, 2020

Incorporation of Parishes

GAYLORD, MICHIGAN — Bishop Walter A. Hurley, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Gaylord, has announced that the process of parish incorporation is underway; this process will incorporate every parish in the diocese as a Michigan nonprofit corporation. 

The incorporation of diocesan parishes aligns the civil law structure with the ecclesiastical or church structures. According to church law and theology, each parish and diocese has its own unique set of rights and responsibilities, including the obligation to administer church property. The separate incorporation of parishes is the civil law structure that most accurately reflects ecclesiastical law and theology. Creating nonprofit parish corporations is the simplest and most effective way of ensuring that the rights of parishes regarding church property are respected, not only in church law, but in civil law. 

Since 1911, the Holy See has requested that dioceses pursue parish incorporation, and many parishes in dioceses in the United States have long been incorporated, including some of the dioceses here in Michigan in recent times. This process in the Diocese of Gaylord begins after consultation with the College of Consultors and Finance Council of the diocese, and with their support and encouragement.

Bishop Hurley stated, “I am pleased that this process is underway in the Diocese of Gaylord — while this incorporation project won’t greatly alter the day-to-day for our pastors and their churches, it is of great significance that we align their civil law structure with that of the Church. This is a prudent task, one that we look forward to completing here in this diocese. I remain grateful for all our pastors and leaders, for the great work they are doing to meet the needs of their people, and I am thankful for their engagement in this endeavor for the greater good of the diocese as a whole.”

The diocese has shared information [below], both to inform about the process and to answer common questions.