Visiting clergy should follow best practice and contact the local parish priest before undertaking ministry in that ecclesiastical jurisdiction. If this ministry is considered to be regulated activity (as defined in 1.2, then the guidance regarding the vetting process should be undertaken and a letter of good standing received (S4.20; 4.21) from the ordinary of the cleric.
However, should the cleric be present for one event in a parish or diocese, such as a funeral, baptism or wedding, he should sign the register in the sacristy to declare his presence on a particular time and date. Furthermore, should the priest not be incardinated in the ecclesiastical jurisdiction that he visits, he must provide his celebret for inspection by the parish priest or duly delegated person, and this should be noted beside the visitor’s signature in the register.
Procedures for visiting persons in any form of consecrated life within and outside Ireland
- Prior to their visit, where there is an intention to engage in public ministry, all visiting religious must write seeking permission of the Bishop, giving details about the duration of the visit, the type of ministry and the location of ministry being considered. Contact details of the Church authority of the visiting religious must be provided in advance;
- Upon receipt of request from the visiting religious to carry out ministry, the Bishop must acknowledge the same, and then make a request in writing to the visitor for a confirmation of good standing (S4.19) signed by their Church authority;
- Vetting check must be processed through the Garda National Vetting Bureau (1.2);
- If the Bishop is satisfied that there are no concerns about the visiting religious, permission should be given in writing to the visitor, outlining the specified ministry, including its duration and location (S4.22).
- A copy of this permission should be forwarded to the parish priest or local superior of the visitor, and also to the parish priest or local superior of the location of the ministry outlined in the letter;
- A copy of the permission should be stored in the offices of the diocese, in line with confidentiality and storage of information (Appendix 3).
Visiting clergy refers to those seeking to minister on a short-term basis, for a special event, during holidays, or as part of mission/retreat or other pastoral activity.