Roman Catholic Deacon

How to Address a Roman Catholic Deacon?

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 you will need to find out which type of deacon you are inviting.

—–Envelope or address block on letter or email:
—–—–The Reverend Mr. (Full Name)—–Notes #1 & #2 

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

—–Conversation on in a salutation:
—–—–Deacon (Surname)

Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

—–Envelope or address block on letter or email:
—–—–Deacon (Full Name)

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

—–Conversation on in a salutation:
—–—–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).’

Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

—–#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

Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

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

Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”

When Should You Use the Forms on this Page?

You can use these forms of address for any mode of communication: addressing a letter, invitation, card or Email. (If there are differences between the official and social forms of address, I will have mentioned the different forms.)  The form noted in the salutation is the same form you say when you say their name in conversation or when you greet them.
___What I don’t cover on this site are many things I do cover in my book: all the rules of forms of address, about names, international titles, precedence, complimentary closes, details on invitations, place cards, all sorts of introductions, etc. I hope you’ll get a copy of the book if you’d like the further detail.

Not Finding Your Answer?

—-#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)  If you don’t see the official you seek included or 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, Sometimes I post the question  – but always change all the specifics.

— Robert Hickey 

Robert Hickey author of “Honor & Respect”