Clergy often are invited by family and friends to participate at parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago. Visiting clergy are welcome in the Archdiocese of Chicago. If they wish to perform public ministry, whether it be for a Mass, a sacrament or a talk, they must have first present evidence to the Archdiocese of Chicago of their good standing by their bishop or religious superior to the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Extern and International Priests. If you have any questions, please contact this office at (312) 534-8212.
Missionaries Seeking to Collect Funds for their Mission
Many pastors receive requests from missionaries and representatives of overseas Catholic organizations who wish to speak on behalf of their group in order to collect funds. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect our local parish with the Universal Church. However, to protect both the parish and the missionary it is essential that the pastor or staff contact the Mission Office before accepting the visitor. Please read the following important details.
The Mission Office can verify the authenticity of the missionary and the cause. The Mission Office can also ensure that the money raised will be received by the appropriate project or diocese. Even if a parishioner or pastor knows the bishop, priest, religious sister/brother or layperson, it is best practice to have the Mission Office independently verify the legitimacy of the request. It is also in the best interest of the missionary to communicate his or her activity with the Mission Office as most visiting missionaries have a restricted visa that will not allow them to carry money home.
Below is a section from the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual regarding eligibility for a B1 business visa. Many missionaries have this visa when they enter the U.S. for mission appeals. It is very clear that religious men and women cannot sell articles or solicit donations with this type of visa.
9 FAM 402.2-5(C)(1)(a)(3) Ministers of Religion and Missionaries Members of religious denominations, whether ordained or not, entering the United States temporarily for the sole purpose of performing missionary work on behalf of a denomination, so long as the work does not involve the selling of articles or the solicitation or acceptance of donations and provided the minister will receive no salary or remuneration from U.S. sources other than an allowance or other reimbursement for expenses incidental to the temporary stay. Missionary work for this purpose may include religious instruction, aid to the elderly or needy, proselytizing, etc. It does not include ordinary administrative work, nor should it be used as a substitute for ordinary labor for hire.
Any missionary or international visitor who wishes to solicit donations in the Archdiocese of Chicago MUST seek the assistance of the Mission Office so that he or she is not found in violation of their visa. To avoid legal concerns, the parish that takes up the collection must follow the same procedure as the summer Mission Cooperative Plan (described below).
Office of Legal Services
835 N. Rush St. Chicago, IL 60611
Fax: 312-674-7543 or 312-534-5252
Summer Mission Co-Op Plan Procedure:
1. The missionary representative gives a letter of certification, attesting to his/her authenticity, to the pastor or parish administrator. (Priests must also provide an Endorsement Letter.*)
2. The collection is taken up by the parish but it is NOT given directly to the missionary.
3. The collection is counted by the parish and deposited in the parish account.
4. Within a month, the collection total is sent to the Mission Office. Checks are made out to the Mission Office (with “MCP year” in the memo line).
5. The funds from the parish are recorded by the Mission Office and sent directly to the mission cause. The Mission Office also sends a receipt to the parish.
*A visiting ordained priest who wishes to exercise his priestly ministry in any capacity must ALSO apply for an Endorsement Letter from the Archbishop’s Delegate for Extern and International Priests. In order to apply the visiting priest must provide a Letter of Good Standing on official letterhead. Specific requirements for the letter can be found on the Office of Extern and International Priests website. After the office processes the request, copies of the Endorsement Letter will be sent to the pastor of the parish and to the Mission Office.