Permanent Parish Records

Permanent Parish Records Diocese of Belleville, Illinois




Sacramental Records

The Diocese of Belleville requires that sacramental records be recorded on paper in bound volumes. Parishes are allowed to use electronic sacramental records management programs, but they must maintain the paper copies of each register.


Under no circumstances are original copies of sacramental registers to be discarded. If the parish is unable to care for the records for any reason, the records can be moved to the diocesan archives for permanent retention.

Pre-nuptial Investigations


All pre-nuptial investigation files should be kept permanently.

Parish Seal

The parish seal should be kept permanently.


Canonical Documents

Documents detailing:

·         The establishment of theparish;

·         Parish boundaries;and

·         Documentation relating to the closing of theparish.





Published or non-published items that describe the history of the parish or document important events in the parish’s history. Includes:

·         Jubilee/dedication booklets andprograms;

·         Articles about theparish;

·         Parish histories;and

·         History of priests or parishmembers.





Parish Administration

Documents and correspondence regarding the administration of the parish. Includes:

·         Correspondence with the Bishop and/or chanceryofficials;

·         Documents and correspondence regarding parish school administration;

·         Parishcalendars;

·         Parishbulletins;

·         Membership lists orcensuses;

·         Parish annual reports;and

·         Meetingminutes.




Parish Organizations

These should be organized in files by the name of the organization:

·         Articles of Incorporation, Constitution, andBylaws;

·         Meetingminutes;

·         Lists of members andofficers;

·         Financialreports;

·         Correspondence;

·         Publications (newsletters, etc.);and

·         Records of specialevents.

Permanent Parish Records 2





Photos should be labeled for easy identification. Label the backs of photos in pencil or acid-free pen.

·         Photographs of the interior/exterior of churchbuilding;

·         Priests appointed at parish (withnames);

·         Parish organizations (with names, ifpossible);

·         Special events; and

·         Parishschools.





Financial Records

·         Account books andledgers;

·         Insurancepolicies;

·         Trust/estate/endowment correspondence andfiles;

·         Annual financialreports;

·         Annualbudgets;

·         Pension records; and

·         Auditreports.

Please note: there are other financial records that do not need to be kept permanently – this is just a sample of some of the general financial records found at parishes.


School Information

·         Studenttranscripts;

·         Schoolhistories;

·         Yearbooks;and

·         Information on students’families.




Legal Documents

·         Articles of Incorporation ofParish;

·         Deeds to parishproperty;

·         Contracts, invoices, paid bills, etc. for constructionprojects;

·         Other contracts andleases;

·         Blueprints;

·         Tax reports;and

·         Records regarding court cases in which the parish isinvolved.


·         Artifacts of historicalvalue.




Tips for Good Record-Keeping:


1.      Date everything: Every letter, document, parish bulletin, set of minutes, photograph, etc. should have a complete date, includingyear.


2.      File wisely: Avoid interfiling permanent records (e.g. annual financial reports) with items that will eventually be destroyed (e.g. cancelled checks). This will allow for the easy destruction of the non-permanent items when their retention period iscomplete.



3.      When in doubt, ask the archivist: The Archivist for the diocese is always happy to answer any questions you may have about parish records. The office can be reached at 618-722-5057.