Archives and Records

Sacramental Records Preservation Program

"In each parish there is to be a storage area, or archive, in which the parochial registers are protected along with letters of bishops and other documents which are to be preserved for reason of necessity or advantage. The pastor is to take care that all of these things, which are to be inspected by the diocesan bishop or his delegate at the time of visitation or at some other opportune time, do not come into the hands of outsiders." ~ Canon 535 § 4

Sacramental Records Management

One of the most significant records that a parish keeps is the information about sacraments celebrated there. Canon law requires all parishes to keep registers for baptisms, confirmations, marriages and funerals (deaths), and the Diocese of Savannah requires a register for First Communions. Long-term preservation of these registers is extremely important and the responsiblity of all pastors and administrators.

The Diocese of Savannah has an extensive policy regarding Ownership and Access to Sacramental Records. Some highlights of the policy are:

  • Ownership of all sacramental records solely belongs to the Diocese of Savannah
  • It is now mandatory for sacramental information to be written in the sacramental books and ParishSOFT
  • Active sacramental registers are defined as including sacraments 85 years and younger
  • Inactive sacramental registers are defined as including sacraments 85 years and older
  • The active and inactive registers from parishes that are no longer open are to be transferred to the Archives
  • Any original inactive registers from your parish that are conserved will be transferred to the Archives for permanent storage in climate/humidity control and a copy of that register will be returned to your parish
  • Access to active sacramental information should be closely guarded and limited to the sacramental participant or their designated guardian or authorized Diocesan personnel
  • Inactive sacramental information and all death/funeral information is available to the public upon request; however, the sacramental books are not available to the public for physical examination to protect their integrity

Director of Archives & Records Management

Stephanie Braddy, CA


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