Introduction

The Bishops of the Boston Province (which includes the Dioceses of Portland, Burlington, Manchester, Springfield, Worcester, and Fall River) have established a secure database to issue letters of suitability by e-mail for temporary ministry (14 days or less) for clerics incardinated in those dioceses. Effective June 1, 2018, all new requests for temporary ministry both within and outside the Boston Province should be submitted with the new online form at www.BostonProvinceMinistry.org.  This new process should expedite the processing of requests for letters of suitability and will be particularly helpful in situations when ministry in another diocese may not be foreseen (for example, a funeral).  Please note that this process does not apply to religious order priests or priests not incardinated in the dioceses in the Province.

While we will continue to process requests received by e-mail and phone, we strongly encourage using the new online form as it prompts you to provide all the required information needed to verify good standing. Requests may take longer to process if submitted by phone or e-mail since required information might be missing or it may be difficult to hear the details by phone or voice mail.

Ministry in the Boston Province: If ministry is to be performed in a diocese that is using the new database, and if you are in active ministry without any form of restriction, the Letter will be issued by e-mail to the Bishop and the parish where ministry will be performed. Additionally, you will also receive two e-mails—the first e-mail to acknowledge the information submitted via the online form has been received, and the second e-mail is a copy of the electronic Letter of Good Standing. Please note that the first e-mail does not indicate an approval to perform ministry.  If you do not have an e-mail address, the Letter of Good Standing will only be sent to the Diocesan Chancery you are visiting and either the Pastor that is hosting, or the Parish where ministry will be performed.

Ministry outside of the Boston Province: If ministry is performed outside of the Boston Province, letters of good standing should still be requested by using the online form at www.BostonProvinceMinistry.org. The Letter of Suitability generated will be sent by regular mail to the Bishop and the parish where ministry will be performed.  Please note that you are required to determine precisely what documentation and details the other diocese outside the Boston Province requires.  Verification of Good Standing need to be made two weeks in advance of the date when ministry is being performed, whenever possible. 

Helping Pastors/Administrators in Urgent Situations

Acknowledging that situations may arise where a priest or deacon may arrive in your Parish without the proper documentation, the Office of Canonical Affairs may be able to assist by using the online secure database if the cleric visiting is incardinated in a Diocese in the Boston Province. The clergy visiting will still be responsible for completing the online form so that a formal letter can be generated to record the ministry performed. Please call the Chancery so that the appropriate review can be completed. Otherwise, without the proper documentation, the visiting cleric should not be permitted to perform ministry.