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A parish is a territorial entity in many Christian denominations, constituting a division within a diocese. A parish is under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of a priest, often termed a parish priest, who might be assisted by one or more curates, and who operates from a parish church. Historically, a parish often covered the same geographical area as a manor. Its association with the parish church remains paramount.[1]

By extension the term parish refers not only to the territorial entity but to the people of its community or congregation as well as to church property within it. In England this church property was technically in ownership of the parish priest ex-officio, vested in him on his institution to that parish.

The church in Wales was disestablished in 1920 and is made up of six dioceses. Parishes were also civil administration areas until communities were established in 1974.

Methodist Church

Although they are more often simply called congregations and have no geographic boundaries, in the United Methodist Church congregations are called parishes. A prominent example of this usage comes in The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, in which the committee of every local congregation that handles staff support is referred to as the committee on Pastor-Parish Relations. This committee gives recommendations to the bishop on behalf of the parish/congregation since it is the United Methodist Bishop of the episcopal area who appoints a pastor to each congregation. The same is true in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

In New Zealand, a local grouping of Methodist churches that share one or more ministers (which in the United Kingdom would be called a circuit)

In New Zealand, a local grouping of Methodist churches that share one or more ministers (which in the United Kingdom would be called a circuit) is referred to as a parish.

In the Catholic Church, each parish normally has its own parish priest (in some countries called pastor), who has responsibility and canonical authority over the parish.[19]

What in most English-speaking countries is termed the "parish priest" is referred to as the "pastor" in the United States, where the term "parish priest" is used of any priest assigned to a parish even in a subordinate capacity. These are called "assistant priests",[20] "parochial vicars",[21] "curates", or, in the United States, "associate pastors" and "assistant pastors".

Each diocese (administrative region) is divided into parishes, each with their own central church called the parish church, where religious services take place. Some larger parishes or parishes that have been combined under one parish priest may have two or more such churches, or the parish may be responsible for chapels (or chapels of ease) located at some distance from the mother church for the convenience of distant parishioners.[22]

Normally, a parish comprises all Catholics living within its geographically defined area, but non-territorial parishes can also be established within a defined area on a personal basis for Catholics belonging to a particular rite, language, nationality, or community.[23] An example is that of personal parishes established in accordance with the 7 July 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum for those attached to the pre-Vatican II liturgy.[24]

Most Catholic parishes are part of Latin Rite dioceses, which together cover the whole territory of a country. There can also be overlapping parishes of eparchies of What in most English-speaking countries is termed the "parish priest" is referred to as the "pastor" in the United States, where the term "parish priest" is used of any priest assigned to a parish even in a subordinate capacity. These are called "assistant priests",[20] "parochial vicars",[21] "curates", or, in the United States, "associate pastors" and "assistant pastors".

Each diocese (administrative region) is divided into parishes, each with their own central church called the parish church, where religious services take place. Some larger parishes or parishes that have been combined under one parish priest may have two or more such churches, or the parish may be responsible for chapels (or chapels of ease) located at some distance from the mother church for the convenience of distant parishioners.[22]

Normally, a parish comprises all Catholics living within its geographically defined area, but non-territorial parishes can also be established within a defined area on a personal basis for Catholics belonging to a particular rite, language, nationality, or community.[23] An example is that of personal parishes established in accordance with the 7 July 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum for those attached to the pre-Vatican II liturgy.[24]

Most Catholic parishes are part of Latin Rite dioceses, which together cover the whole territory of a country. There can also be overlapping parishes of eparchies of Eastern Catholic Churches, personal ordinariates or military ordinariates. Parishes are generally territorial, but may be personal.