A diocese is a grouping, usually geographic, of congregations (self-supporting parishes as well as missions, chapels and chaplaincies) under the jurisdiction of a bishop. The diocese is organized and ordered according to its Constitution and Canons, and it has three primary governing bodies: The clergy and elected lay representatives from all congregations meet annually in Diocesan Convention to conduct the business of the diocese. In between the annual conventions, Diocesan Council is the smaller elected body of clergy and lay representatives that meets regularly throughout the year to oversee diocesan business. The Standing Committee is an elected body that serves as a council of advice to the bishop and also has specific canonical responsibilities in matters of parish governance (including approval of by-laws), property matters and the ordination process. The Standing Committee becomes the diocese’s ecclesiastical authority in a situation where there is no bishop in place.
The links below appear alphabetically and pertain specifically to the governing bodies and documents summarized above. Click on any of the links to find more information about each. (Title IV information pertaining to the clergy disciplinary process can be found on the Clergy Disciplinary Process page.)
The canons (church laws) under which the Diocese of Massachusetts operates.