The question of parishioner status is important. Active parishioners of Christ Our King look to their parish for many services. Among them are:
Parishioner tuition rates in our Catholic schools
The use of our facilities for liturgical services such as baptisms, weddings and funerals
Certification as eligible sponsors at Sacramental celebrations
These rights and services within the church bring with them certain obligations, as in any form of community. The criteria, for each of the above, to obtain active parishioner status are explained below, as well as in our Sunday bulletin.
To be considered “active,” parishioners must:
be registered in the parish for the required amount of time
provide a letter from former parish stating active Mass participation
attend Mass faithfully
support the life of the parish
use the envelope system weekly
The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation is a serious one. This is not merely a matter of parish policy. Divine Law sets forth this expectation in the third of the Ten Commandments: “Remember, thou shall keep holy the Sabbath”
CHURCH LAW STATES:
On Sundays and other Holy Days of Obligation, the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass; they are also to abstain from those labors and business concerns which impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord’s Day, or the proper relaxation of mind and body. (Canon 1247)
This is the ordinary expectation of Catholics. Obviously, extraordinary circumstances excuse the faithful from this obligation. The elderly or disabled are not bound to Sunday Mass attendance. Where it applies, disregard of this precept is a grave matter. If done knowingly, missing Mass on Sunday constitutes serious sin.
Hopefully, we live beyond the minimal dictates of the law. It simply follows that if Sunday Mass attendance is an important Catholic value, then parents who want a Catholic education for their children will see that this value is lived out in the family and that both parents and their children will attend Mass faithfully on Sundays and Holy Days. Otherwise, perhaps one might appear to be not as interested in Catholic education as in subsidized private education.
The minimum expected financial contribution of “active” parishioners is $10 per week. Parishioners who have difficulty meeting this minimum should contact their Pastor to make this known.
THE ENVELOPE SYSTEM
All are urged to use the envelope system. The use of envelopes is not primarily about money; the envelopes provide a record of Mass attendance. When the office staff is asked to verify “Active Parishioner Status,” they first look to the frequency of envelope use, not the total amount given. If you cannot make the expected contribution, be sure to drop in an envelope every Sunday, even if it just contains a minimum contribution. With a record of regular Mass attendance, you will not have difficulty being certified as an active parishioner of Christ Our King parish.
Attendance at Mass is the most important consideration. However, among the criteria for “active” status in the church, the obligation to support the church is not taken lightly. Canon 222 of the Church’s law articulates the obligation of the faithful to “assist with the needs of the Church.”
The monetary support of our schools is an important aspect of parish finance. Those receiving education in our schools at the “parishioner rate” are, in fact, heavily subsidized by their parish.
Those who do not meet the expectations of active parishioner can be classified as “non-active.” Non-active parishioners do not qualify for parishioner tuition rates in our schools.
Non parishioners are those who live outside the geographical boundaries of Christ Our King parish, never registered as members, or have been removed from the parish roster.
QUALIFICATION FOR PARISHIONER TUITION RATE FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How often am I evaluated for the privilege of active parishioner tuition rate?
Evaluations will take place once a year. A review of your prior calendar year Mass attendance is the basis used to calculate 75% attendance. If at any time you believe your circumstances prevent you from meeting the definition of active parishioner, please contact the parish office to schedule an appointment with the pastor or his designee.
What if I forget to bring my envelope to Mass?
There are extra envelopes at the back of the church. Please include your name and place it in the collection basket so that we can record your attendance. If you prefer, you may place a check in the offertory basket.
Are summer months part of the equation?
Yes, the calculation of the annual average is based on 52 Sundays.
What if I often have to work in another city, even over the weekend?
We expect that your spouse and children would still be able to attend Mass.
What can I do if I must travel or am ill and my spouse is not Catholic?
Your spouse enjoys the benefits of the active parishioner tuition rate for the children as well. They also make a commitment to support a Catholic upbringing, not a private education at a lower rate. They should be willing to bring the children to Mass, in the event that you are unable to attend.
What if I have a relative who is ill and lives out-of-town, which necessitates my travel out-of-town almost every weekend?
Such a situation would hopefully not go on indefinitely. If you anticipate that it will preclude your meeting the 75% attendance rate, please contact the parish office to make an appointment with our pastor or his designee.
What if my children are active with traveling sports teams or other traveling activities and we are gone many weekends?
You must attend Mass 75% of the time at COK to obtain parishioner tuition rates.
What if I attend Mass at other Catholic Churches?
During those times when (hopefully, no more than 25% of the time) you must be out-of-town, we certainly encourage you to attend Mass. However, we have no way of recording your attendance, and therefore, cannot count it toward your parishioner status. If you are in the Greater Charleston area, we expect that you are close enough to home that you can come to COK for Mass. Occasionally, you may choose to go to Mass elsewhere. Parish membership means you think of COK as your spiritual home and where you plan to attend Mass weekly.
What if I work on the weekends?
Your family must attend Mass 75% of the time at COK to obtain parishioner tuition rates.
What if we have financial difficulties and cannot meet the minimum contribution expected?
Please call the parish office and make an appointment with the pastor or his designee.
I don’t like being required to account for my attendance. Isn’t this rather bureaucratic for a Church?
We must have a manner to determine eligibility for active parishioner tuition rates. The only method we have been able to develop to keep track of attendance is the envelope system. With a parish of over 7,000 people (2,100 families), please understand that it is humanly impossible for our staff to truly know who has been present without the envelopes.
What if illness prevents attendance?
For the usual, simple illnesses, absence should not generally exceed 25% of the time. Even if one parent is ill, the children can come to Mass with the other parent. In the case of critical illness which affects the entire rhythm of family life, please call the parish office. We would want to know in order to provide support as needed.
What if, because of family circumstances, I have to be a member of two parishes and support them both?
You must attend Mass 75% of the time at COK to obtain parishioner tuition rates.
Are these policies in place at other parishes?
Yes, Stella Maris and St Benedict also require participation in the life of their parishes in order for active parishioner tuition rates to apply.
Is loss of eligibility for active parishioner rates permanent?
No, you may be reinstated at the next annual review period if your family meets the qualifications for active parishioner status. At that time, your Mass attendance and contributions to the parish will be reviewed and must meet the qualifications outlined in this brochure to be reinstated.
What if I prefer to make my church contribution once a month, or even less frequently, but my total is still within the expected amount?
You may continue to make your contribution in the manner that best fits your family’s financial situation. To record your attendance, we still need you to deposit your envelope weekly in the offertory basket, with or without a contribution.