Explanation of Parishioner Status

The question of parishioner status is important. Active parishioners of Christ Our King rightfully look to their Parish for any number of services. Among these services are:

  • Parishioner tuition rates in our Catholic Schools
  • Use of our facilities for liturgical services such as Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals
  • Certification as sponsors at Sacramental celebrations

The criteria for active parishioner status are articulated every Sunday in our Parish Bulletin. In the following paragraphs, they are set forth in greater detail.

Active Parishioners

To be considered active, parishioners must be registered in the Parish for a sufficient period of time, attend Mass faithfully, and support the Parish using the envelope system.

The use of envelopes provides a record of Mass attendance which is the most important consideration in these criteria. Some years ago Christ Our King and Stella Maris developed a joint understanding that the minimum expected contribution is ten dollars per week. Parishioners who have difficulty meeting this minimum should simply drop a note to the Pastor making this known.

The monetary support of our Schools is an important aspect of Parish finance. However, the use of envelopes is not primarily about money; the envelopes provide a record of Mass attendance. When the Office Staff is asked to certify active parishioner status, they first look to the frequency of envelope use, not to the total amount given. As many parishioners have been told, if you cannot make the expected contribution, let the Pastor know and be sure to drop in an envelope every Sunday even if it just contains a minimal contribution. With a record of regular Mass attendance, you will not have difficulty being certified as an active parishioner of Christ Our King.

The obligation to attend Mass on Sunday 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, keep holy the Sabbath." Exercising the "Power of the Keys" given to the Church by Christ, Himself, Cannon 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 such as sickness, travel, or bad weather excuse the faithful from this obligation. The elderly or disabled are not bound to Sunday Mass attendance. While an individual disregard of this precept would not constitute grave matter (and thus serious sin), habitual disregard for God's Law and the Law of the Church would.

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 they attend Mass faithfully on Sunday; otherwise, perhaps people are not so interested in Catholic education as they are in subsidized private education.

Parents should also note that the expectations regarding Mass attendance do not apply simply to the Catholic parent or parents, but to the students as well. All Catholic students enjoying the benefits of parishioner tuition rates, whether at Christ Our King-Stella Maris or Bishop England High School are expected to attend Mass faithfully.

 Provisional Certification

In cases where active parishioner status is not verified by a regular record of Mass attendance, parishioners can be given "provisional" or "temporary" certification. In such cases, the record of Mass attendance will be re-evaluated in the future. If the parishioners have not been attending Mass and using the envelope system, Christ Our King reserves the right to withdraw certification of active parishioner status at any time, even during the school year. In such an event, tuition will be changed to the non-parishioner rate, and the responsible parties will be billed accordingly.


Inactive Parishioner Status

Those who do not meet the expectations of active parishioners are classified "inactive." In-active parishioners do not qualify for parishioner tuition rates in our schools.


Non-parishioner Status

Non-parishioners are those who do not live within the canonical boundaries of Christ Our King Parish or have never registered as members of Christ Our King.


Frequently Asked Questions about eligibility for parishioner tuition rates

Active parishioners at Christ Our King are eligible for the parishioner tuition rate at Christ Our King - Stella Maris and Bishop England High School. Your parish is eager to subsidize a Catholic education for your children, provided you as the parents are truly committed to a Catholic upbringing. The most critical aspect of this education is Mass attendance on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation.


What is the parishioner certification committee?

The parishioner certification committee serves in an advisory capacity to the pastor. This committee does not make decisions regarding individual cases

How often am I evaluated regarding my parishioner status for purposes of retaining the privilege of lower tuition rates?

The re-evaluation will take place once a year, in January. If at any time you believe your circumstances prevent you from meeting the definition of parishioner, please contact the parish office to schedule an appointment with the pastor or his designee. If your extenuating circumstances are on record, they can be included in the January review.


What if I forget to bring my envelope to Mass?

There are extra envelopes in the back of the church, Please write your name in and place the envelope in the collection basket so that we can record your attendance.


With as much travel as occurs in the summer, are these months part of the equation?

Yes. The calculation of the annual average is based on 52 Sundays plus the Holy Days of Obligation


What if I attend Mass at other Catholic churches?

During those times (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, but on the whole, parish membership means you think of COK as your spiritual home. We expect you to attend your parish's Masses.

What if my spouse is not Catholic and the responsibility for church attendance rests solely on me? What can I do if I must travel or am ill?

Your spouse enjoys the benefits of the lower tuition rate for their children, too. In signing them up for those rates, they are making 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 or make arrangements for a friend or neighbor to take them.


What if we have financial difficulties and cannot meet the minimum contribution expected?

Please call the parish office and make an appointment with our pastor or his designee.


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. First of all, we would want to know in order to provide support as needed. Secondly, your circumstances can be kept in mind when the January review is conducted.


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 to obtain parishioner tuition rates.


What if, because of family circumstances, I in effect have to be a member of two parishes and support them both?

You must attend Mass 75% of the time to obtain parishioner tuition rates.


What if I work on the weekends?

You must attend Mass 75% of the time to obtain parishioner tuition rates.


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 still continue to make your contribution in the manner that best fits your family's financial situation. Remember that to record your attendance, we still need you to deposit your envelope in the offertory basket, with or without a contribution.


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 parishioner tuition rates. The only means we have to keep track of attendance is the envelope system. With a parish of our size, please understand that it is humanly impossible for our staff to truly know who has been present without the envelopes.


What if I have a friend/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 you meeting the 75% attendance rate, please contact the parish office to make an appointment with our pastor or his designee.


Every Weekday: 7:00a
Wed: 12 Noon
Saturday: 8:00a
Sunday Vigil: 6:00p Saturday
Sunday: 7:30a, 9:30a, 12:00p, 7:00p
Holy Days: 7:00a ,12:00p, 6:30p
Confession: Saturday 5:00-5:30, or by appointment
First Friday Adoration: 7:30a-5:30p
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Christ Our King Catholic Church
1122 Russell Drive
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464


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