What Happens in the Chancery? What does a Chancellor do?
We can find the answer to these questions in the Code of Canon Law:
Chancellor (c. 482)
The primary role of the chancellor is to gather, arrange, and safeguard the Acts and the archives of the diocesan curia. That is, he or she is responsible for the orderly arrangement and accessibility of the records and files that keep the diocese running and are its recorded history. This is especially true in regard to the sacramental registers, which detail the sacramental history of each parish in the diocese. The chancellor is also the official notary on all of the documents issued by the diocesan bishop.
In many dioceses, including the Diocese of Camden, the chancellor is assisted by vice-chancellors overseeing specific aspects of the many areas of concern, i.e., the microfilming of parish sacramental registers and compliance in maintaining the minute books of parish pastoral and finance councils. More and more often, the chancellor assumes the duties of an archivist in preserving both the recorded history of the diocese as well as the preservation of its historical artifacts. In addition, many chancellors share in the power of governance in a diocese by issuing decrees and rescripts that allow a person to function in a limited capacity within a diocese or restricts that ability to function freely.
The office of the chancellor also helps disseminate information to clergy, parishes, and the Catholic faithful that may be beneficial to the people of the Diocese of Camden as they make their journey of Faith toward God’s eternal kingdom. It is in that spirit that this toolkit offers various articles, forms, and other periodic updates to help the Catholic population of South Jersey be more fully aware and fully informed about the Church’s most current teaching. The Advanced Directives are those that have been approved by all of the bishops in the State of New Jersey. These Directives meet all civil requirements as well as all ecclesiastical concerns and can be downloaded for use by interested Catholics in the diocese. Further information may also be found at the New Jersey Catholic Conference website.
The questionnaire for entrance into the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults was developed by the Diocesan R.C.I.A. Commission in the 1990’s in conjunction with the appropriate canonical experts. It is an extremely useful tool for all priests and R.C.I.A. team moderators in surfacing particular issues for those seeking entrance in to the Catholic Church. This is especially true of those who have had previous marriages that need to be rectified before a person can receive the sacraments of the Church. This questionnaire can be downloaded and used for parish R.C.I.A. purposes. (Click here to see “RCIA” in Liturgy)
The Chancery website also includes a Reference Guide for Sacramental Record-Keeping that will be available for priests, deacons, parish secretaries, and all who make entries into a parish sacramental record book. This is intended to ensure that the sacramental histories of our parishes are kept accurately up-to-date and well-preserved in parish facilities.
Questions and concerns may be directed to the Office of the Chancellor at (856) 583-2807.
Rev. Robert Hughes, Chancellor
Rev. James Bartoloma, Vice Chancellor
Rev. Msgr. Dominic J. Bottino, Vice Chancellor for Marriage Concerns
Anna M. Summers, Chancery Secretary