Roman Catholic Priest

How to Address a Catholic Priest

—-Envelope or address block on letter or email:
—-—-The Reverend (Full Name), (initials of order)

—-—-The Reverend (full name), (initials of order)
—-—-(Institution or Organization)

————Which looks like:
—————-The Reverend Timothy Saunders, C.S.Sp.

—————-Our Lady Queen of Peace
—————-1234 South 19th Street
—————-Arlington, VA 67890

—-Letter salutation:
—-—-Dear Father (Surname):

—-—-Father (Surname)

Note: Not every priest will always include post-nominals for their order after their name, but if they provide it, use it in formal written address.

See These Related Links: ----------Archbishop ----------Bishop ----------Brother ----------Cardinal ----------Deacon ----------Monsignor ----------Mother Superior ----------Nun | Sister ----------Pope ----------Priest

How to Address a Retired Priest?

How do I write the name of a retired Priest (actually a Monsignor) on correspondence? Is he still a priest? Still a monsignor?
—-—-—-– Valerie

Dear Valerie:

Clergy of all denominations continue to be addressed as clergy when they retire.

Think of this way: being a rabbi/priest/monsignor/etc. is a personal rank one attains and keeps. A retired person keeps these.

That’s different than a role. Chairman, president, or dean are roles – offices one assumes, occupies, then leaves. Forms of address for such roles stay with the office and don’t follow the person. A retired person wouldn’t keep those.

– Robert Hickey

Robert Hickey author of "Honor & Respect"

How Do Priests Address One Another?

How do Catholic priests address each other? Would they be casual as two non-religious friends calling each other by their first names? Or do they call each other ‘father’ all the time?
———-– Carole Schaeffer

Dear Ms. Schaeffer:

They are likely to have public and private forms of address.

When others, not on a first-name basis, were also present, I’d guess they use first names. In the presence of those not on a first name basis, they would switch over to their formal forms of address.

This pattern is pretty standard with high officials from every hierarchy are with friends. Sometimes they are a public official – at other moments they are a private person. The forms of address match the situation.

– Robert Hickey

See These Related Links: ----------Archbishop ----------Bishop ----------Brother ----------Cardinal ----------Deacon ----------Monsignor ----------Mother Superior ----------Nun | Sister ----------Pope ----------Priest

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.

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"