Roman Catholic Deacon

How to Address a Roman Catholic Deacon?

How do I address a deacon on the outside envelope?
——————-– Chris Wilder

Dear Ms. Wilder:

People I’ve consulted with in the Roman Catholic hierarchy say there are two types of Roman Catholic deacons — Permanent Deacons who are not addressed as ‘the Reverend.’ … and Transitional Deacons {seminary graduates on their way to becoming priests} who are addresses as ‘the Reverend’. So that would suggest you will need to find out which type of deacon you are inviting.

—–Outside envelope for an invitation:
—–—–The Reverend Mr. (Full Name)

—–Inside envelope for an invitation:
—–—–Deacon (Surname)

—–Outside envelope for an invitation:
—–—–Deacon (Full Name)

—–Inside envelope for an invitation:
—–—–Deacon (Surname)

—–#1) In formal address, use The Reverend … not just Reverend. It is a courtesy title used just like ‘the Honorable’ … with a ‘the’ and always preceding a full name.

—–#2) The use of ‘The Reverend + Mr.’ is unusual in the United States. The American tradition is to use just one courtesy title or honorific before the name. E.g., a Navy Captain, who is also a physician, is not addressed as ‘Captain Dr. (name).’ or a member of the House of Representatives who is an Ph.D. would not be ‘the Honorable Dr. (name).’

—–#3) Double titles are typical in the UK, and when people tell me of such a form (‘Reverend Mr.’), I always wonder if their source isn’t a British (Church of England) style guide? While I’ve seen ‘the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’ here and there … it is not what they use that at The King Center in Atlanta. They use ‘the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’ and ‘Dr. King’ He was a ‘the Reverend’ and he held a doctorate but used one honorific or courtesy title at a time.

—–#4) Note to other readers: I am interested in hearing from you if you have an opinion. See two of the notes below from others.

— Robert Hickey


Dear Mr. Hickey,

As a deacon, I can tell you that in the Diocese of Trenton (and other NJ dioceses I believe), there are two standards:

—-Permanent Deacons are addressed:
—-—-Deacon (Full Name)

—-Transitional Deacons are addressed:
—-—-The Reverend Mr. (Full Name)

—-Both are addressed in conversation as:
—-—-Deacon (Surname)

I believe this is fairly consistent throughout the US.

– Deacon Kevin


Dear Mr. Hickey:

In the Roman Catholic Church, we do have ‘transitional’ and ‘permanent’ deacons’ – but the ministry is the same. Therefore, you address either deacon the same.

—-Formal address in writing is:
—-—-‘the Reverend Mr. (Full Name)’.

—-In conversation it is simply:
—-—-Deacon (Surname)’.

The transitional deacon will go on to priestly ordination and formally become ‘the Reverend (Full Name)’ and in conversation be addressed as Father (Surname).

Permanent deacons remain as they were. Same ministry – same title – no difference – only the length of time in that ministry.

– Deacon Dale

See These Related Links:
Mother Superior
—–—–Nun | Sister

Not Finding Your Question Answered?

—-#1)  At right on desktops, at the bottom of every page on tablets and phones, is a list of all the offices, officials & topics covered on the site.

—-#2)  After checking the list and reading the posts, if you don’t see your question answered send me an e-mail. I am pretty fast at sending a reply: usually the next day or so (unless I am traveling.)  Note: I don’t have mailing or Email addresses for any of the officials and I don’t keep track of offices that exist only in history books.

—-#3)  If I think your question is of interest to others, I will post the question & answer – always changing the names and specifics.

— Robert Hickey

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