ASK FATHER: I have no home base. What would be considered my diocese or parish that I would have a duty to?

From a reader…


I’ve sold my residence, given away my possessions and am now living in a van and traveling full time. I have no home base – where I drive to is where my home is for that particular short period of time. Question: what would be considered my diocese or parish that I would have a duty to?

The answer is found in distinctions made in the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

Can. 100 says a person is said to be a resident (incola) in the place where the person has a domicile.  A temporary resident (advena) lives in the place where the person has a quasi-domicile. A traveler (peregrinus) is a person from outside the place of a domicile or quasi-domicile which is still retained.  A transient (vagus) does not have a domicile or quasi- domicile anywhere.

There is no issue with attending any parish,.  However, if a person is a transient and were to need sacramental care, for example anointing of the sick, to be administered to you in your ‘home’ of your van, you would have the right to call upon the sacramental ministry of the clergy at the parish where your van was parked, that is, if your van is parked in their parish territory, for you would be a transient in their territory.

If you wind up hospitalized (quod Deus avertat), most hospitals have a Catholic chaplaincy or can call upon the Catholic clergy where the hospital is.

A transient Catholic (without domicile or quasi-domicile) is bound by the local laws of a diocese while temporarily there.  “When in Rome”, as it were. For example, if a transient happens to be in the Archdiocese of New York when 17 March is a Friday in Lent, and since St. Patrick’s is a Solemnity in the Archdiocese of New York, therefore abstaining from eating meat on a Friday in Lent is not required on 17 March.

As far as your obligation to see to the material needs of the Church, if you receive a service from a place (such as Mass at a parish church) in justice you should contribute.   Otherwise, there are good organizations… I know a couple!  JUST ASK!

Not too mention…

Use your phone’s camera

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Pingback: ASK FATHER: I have no home base. What would be considered my diocese or parish that I would have a duty to? – Via Nova Media

  2. TonyO says:

    Such a balanced, thorough response. Thank you, Fr. Z!

  3. Michael says:

    That clears up a lot. Thanks.

  4. JabbaPapa says:

    Foot pilgrims are in a similar situation.

    Traditionally, foot pilgrims (if properly baptised and confirmed into the Catholic Faith) have been considered as parishioners of the parishes that they traverse on their ways towards the destination Sanctuary (which is a wonderfully welcoming custom when exercised properly, including from the pilgrim towards the parish).

    Foot pilgrims are also subjected to the rule of the Bishop of any Diocese that they traverse.

  5. bigtex says:

    What happens if you’re living in a van down by the river?

  6. Pingback: SATVRDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

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