As the Tenth Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, I decree that these revised Statutes of the Fourth Synod of the Diocese of Trenton (2014), following consultation with and review by the Presbyteral Council and appropriate Diocesan Officials, are hereby promulgated as particular law and policy for the Diocese of Trenton, effective immediately. The prior Statutes of the Fourth Synod of the Diocese of Trenton (1990) are therefore abrogated and replaced by these revised Statutes.

Given at the Chancery of the Diocese of Trenton on this 8th day of December, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the Year of Our Lord 2014.

Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M., J.C.D.
Bishop of Trenton


The following statutes constitute the official, formally promulgated policies of the Diocese of Trenton. They are derived largely from the Diocesan Synod of 1990, reviewed, revised and updated in 2014. The Diocesan Synod required that these statutes be re-viewed every five (5) years by appropriate diocesan consultative bodies under the direction of the Bishop (statute 7), who alone possesses sole authority to interpret and change them (statute 10).

A Diocesan Synod is a group of selected priests and other members of the Christian faithful of a particular church who offer assistance to the Bishop for the good of the whole diocesan community according to the norm of canon law (canon 460). The only legislator in a Diocesan Synod is the Bishop of the Diocese; the other members of the synod possess only a consultative vote. Only he signs the synodal declarations and decrees, which can be published by his authority alone (canon 466).

The following statutes contain provisions from the universal law of the Church, whether from the 1983 Code of Canon Law or other universal legislative documents; particular law, whether national, regional, or diocesan or pertaining to particular institutions or organizations; authoritative teachings of the Church’s magisterium, and other narrative elements included to contextualize or explain these statutes.

Ecclesiastical law, whether universal or particular, binds all baptized Catholics to whom the law is directed and for whom the law exists in the Church and those institutions or organizations legitimately established or supervised, either formally or informally, by the Church. It also obliges or can affect other non-baptized persons with regard to their relationships to baptized Catholics bound by ecclesiastical law in specific instances.

The legislative provisions of these statutes are intended to assist the entire people of God in the Diocese of Trenton to fulfill the mission of the Roman Catholic Church in the Diocese. Although comprehensive, this is, by no means, an exhaustive document. Other policies of the Diocese are contained in multiple volumes related to the specific topic of interest: finances, vocations, Sacraments, Catholic education, human resources, and so forth. These policies are available from the diocesan curial office responsible for oversight of each particular area and on the diocesan extranet. Copies will be distributed to all parishes, institutions and organizations that each office oversees. These parishes, institutions and organizations, in turn, should make the copies accessible in their main offices for the review of the clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Trenton to whom they pertain.


PART I | The Statutes in General
PART II | The People of God in the Diocese of Trenton

A. The Mission of the Diocese of Trenton

B. The Lay Faithful

C. Ecclesial Movements

D. Institutes of Consecrated Life

E. Priests in General

F. Life of a Priest

G. Spiritual Life of a Priest

H. Assignment of Priests and Transitional Deacons

I. Transitional Deacons

J. Permanent Deacons

K. Compensation of the Clergy

L. Mass Offerings and Stipends

M. Vocation Recruitment Ministry


PART I | The Governing Mission of the Church

A. Ministries in General and the Hierarchical Constitution of the Church

B. Ministries in the Diocese of Trenton

C. The Diocesan Curia

D. Other Diocesan Structures The College of Consultors

PART II | The Parish

A. Structure and Membership

B. Parish Consultative and Advisory Bodies

C. Parish Ministries and Services

D. Parish Archives and Records

E. Parish Finances


The Teaching Mission of the Church in the Diocese of Trenton

A. Evangelization

B. Missionary Activity of the Church

C. Ecumenism / Interreligious Efforts

D. Catholic Moral and Social Teachings

E. Catholic Education


Temporal Administration

A. Stewardship

B. Acquisition of Temporal Goods and Properties

C. Administration and Alienation of Temporal Goods

D. Buildings, Grounds and Facilities

E. Civil Law Issues


PART I | Judicial and Canonical Administration
PART II | Protection of Rights of Persons in the Church

A. Conflict Resolution

B. Processes


The Sanctifying Mission of the Church

A. The Sacraments and Liturgy in General

B. The Sacraments in Particular

C. Sacramental Practices

D. Other General Liturgical and Sacramental Principles and Policies