How to write a letter to a priest: 11 steps (with pictures)

How to write a letter to a priest: 11 steps (with pictures)
How to write a letter to a priest: 11 steps (with pictures)
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Writing a letter to a priest of the Catholic Church can be complicated, but it is important to follow the correct procedure if you want to appear respectful. However, don't worry. All you need to do is find out the rank of the priest so that you can send correspondence correctly.

Steps

Part 1 of 3: write to a priest

Address a Letter to a Priest Step 1

Step 1. Address a letter to a secular priest

On the envelope, write "The Reverend Father (his first name, the initial of his middle name and his last name)" or "The Reverend (his first name, the initial of the middle name and his last name). However, do not forget to put the article "The". For example, you can write “The Reverend Father Jean, M. Auguste."

  • The greeting must be Dear Father. You could also address a priest using the formula Mr. the priest to show a little more politeness. If this is an official letter, write Reverend Father [last name] or Dear Reverend Father as a greeting.
  • If you are close to the priest, you could write Dear Father [last name] or Dear Father. End the letter with Please accept, dear Father, my most respectful greetings in Christ. After that put your full name at the bottom of this formula.
Address a Letter to a Priest Step 2

Step 2. Address a letter to a priest of a religious order

On the back of the envelope, write Curé [first name, initial of middle name and last name] followed by the initials of the order to which he belongs.

  • The main difference here is to add the initials of the religious order as in The Reverend [surname], O.F.M. CAP or The Reverend Father [surname], O.F.M. CAP. For example, write Reverend Father Leo F. Mackenzie, S.J. In this example, the abbreviation S.J. stands for the Catholic religious order Company of Jesus.
  • End the letter with Please accept, dear Father, my most respectful greetings in Christ. After that put your full name at the bottom of this formula.

Part 2 of 3: Speaking to Other Leaders of the Catholic Church

Address a Letter to a Priest Step 3

Step 1. Write to the Pope

Address the letter correctly. The Pope is the highest religious authority in the Catholic Church. Send the letter to His Holiness Pope Francis. You also have the possibility to mention on the envelope The Sovereign Pontiff, His Holiness Pope Francis.

  • The letter's greeting must be Your Holiness or Most Holy Father. When you speak verbally to the Pope, you should say Your Holiness. Its address is the following Apostolic Palace. 00120, Vatican City.
  • End the letter with a good ending note. If you are a faithful Catholic, close the correspondence with this formula I have the honor to be, Most Holy Father, with the deepest respect, of Your Holiness, the very humble and devoted servant.
  • If you are not a Catholic, it is advisable to use the consecrated polite formula to close the letter All my good wishes accompany Your Holiness, very respectfully or I ask Your Holiness to deign to accept the homage of my very deep respect followed by your name. The other appropriate way to end the letter is to say Please accept, Your Holiness, my most respectful greetings in Christ.
Address a Letter to a Priest Step 4

Step 2. Address a cardinal

Mention on the envelope of the letter His Eminence (his baptismal name) the Cardinal (his last name).

  • Use the salutation, Your Eminence. The cardinals are in second position just after the Pope in the Catholic hierarchy. When addressing a cardinal verbally, you must also say Your Eminence.
  • If you are a faithful Catholic, end the letter with this formula I most respectfully implore the blessings of Your Eminence in Christ followed by your name.
Address a Letter to a Priest Step 5

Step 3. Talk to an Archbishop

Indicate on the envelope To his Grace Monsignor the Archbishop [his first name, the initial of his middle name and his last name], followed by the city in which the Archbishop is assigned.

  • The greeting must be Your Excellency. You should also call him that when addressing him verbally.
  • Conclude the letter with the words I most respectfully implore Your Excellency's blessings in Christ or Please accept, Your Excellency, my most respectful greetings in Christ, followed by your name.
Address a Letter to a Priest Step 6

Step 4. Speak to a bishop

Write for example this on the envelope His Excellency the Very Reverend Philippe I. Barbarin, D.D. Bishop of Lyon or His Excellency the Very Reverend Philippe I. Barbarin, Bishop of Lyon.

  • The greeting must be Your Excellency.
  • End the letter with this sentence I most respectfully implore Your Excellency's blessings in Christ, followed by your name. Another way to close the letter is Please accept, Your Excellency, my most respectful greetings in Christ, followed by your name.
Address a Letter to a Priest Step 7

Step 5. Talk to a nun or a monk

To address a monk, write Brother [his first name, the initial of his middle name and his last name], followed by the initials of the order to which he belongs.

  • The greeting should be Dear Brother [his last name]. Then end the letter with Please accept, Brother [his last name], my most respectful greetings in Christ, followed by your full name.
  • To address a nun, write on the envelope Sister [her first name, the initial of her middle name and her last name]. Then end the letter with Please accept, Sister [her last name], my most respectful greetings in Christ, followed by your full name.
Address a Letter to a Priest Step 8

Step 6. Talk to an abbot

Write in this way to address a Most Reverend Abbot [his first and last name], followed by the initials of the order to which he belongs and the name of the city where he exercises his ministry.

  • The formula of greeting is Very Reverend Abbot.
  • End the letter with this sentence Please accept, Most Reverend Abbot, my most respectful greetings in Christ, followed by your name.

Part 3 of 3: Using Appropriate Ethics to Address Priests

Address a Letter to a Priest Step 9

Step 1. Follow the usual drafting protocol

If this is an official letter, write it on letterhead. You have the possibility to create your own header by putting your name and your contact details in the middle of the sheet.

  • Do not indent your paragraphs and be sure to leave an extra line between them. You can also have your contact details and our name at the top left of the letter.
  • Use nice paper and an appropriate envelope. Be sure to write your address and name on it.
Address a Letter to a Priest Step 10

Step 2. Use a formal tone when addressing a priest

It is not appropriate to call a clergyman by his first name, like Father Bob. Otherwise, address him by simply saying My Father or Father Smith.

  • In the old days, you could call a priest by Your Reverence, but you can still call him that if you want to sound more classic and reverent.
  • Of course, if a priest tells you to call him Father Bob, that's his right. However, this is seen as disrespectful in some communities.
Address a Letter to a Priest Step 11

Step 3. Adopt the appropriate behaviors for the priests to see

You should get up when a priest enters a room and stay in that position until he tells you to sit down.

  • If you are a man, you must remove your hat in the presence of a priest. Then kiss his hand. This is meant to honor the fact that priests have dedicated themselves to the Eucharist.
  • Show that same respect when you leave the presence of a priest.

Advice

  • When you want to write a letter to a Catholic priest, opt for white paper and black ink.
  • Most French dictionaries have a section that teaches you how to address priests of different ranks in Episcopal and Orthodox churches.

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