Addressing a Decon with 'and with your Spirit"


Should we really address a Deacon by saying ‘And with your Spirit”? Years ago, the USCCB on their website had a study copy of the then proposed “New’ translation of the Roman Missal. In discussing and explaining some of the changes to the responses, it stated that since a Priest is “Persona Christi”, we should say, “and with your Spirit”. They sited the CCC as follows:

1548 In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis:
It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi).
Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.

I fully understand this and agree. However, they went on to explain that when we address a Deacon, who is not ‘persona Christi”, we should say “and also with you’. However, when the “new’ translation came out it suggests we address the Deacon with “and with your Spirit”. My question is why?


Because by his ordination to the deaconate, his spirit has been imprinted by the Holy Spirit.

CCC 1570 Deacons share in Christ’s mission and grace in a special way.55 The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with an imprint (“character”) which cannot be removed and which configures them to Christ, who made himself the “deacon” or servant of all.56 Among other tasks, it is the task of deacons to assist the bishop and priests in the celebration of the divine mysteries, above all the Eucharist, in the distribution of Holy Communion, in assisting at and blessing marriages, in the proclamation of the Gospel and preaching, in presiding over funerals, and in dedicating themselves to the various ministries of charity.57


Because that’s the English translation of “Et cum spiritu tuo” whenever it’s used in the liturgy or administration of the sacraments. Outside of the liturgy whatever we say in English I don’t think matters.


the response in Latin has always been “Et cum spiritu tuo”

The English translation used to be “And also with you.”

When they were fixing the translation, they may have considered using “And with your Spirit” for priests and “And also with you” for Deacons… But the Latin liturgy does NOT make a distinction between the two. Hence, we don’t have two responses.

Furthermore, as a previous poster mentioned, Deacons are ordained via Holy Orders. So they receive the Holy Spirit and their souls receive the mark of that Sacrament. So it’s not wrong to say “And with your Spirit.”

NOW, if theologically, you want to say that “And with your Spirit” must mean something different for a Deacon vs. Priest, I think you might be able to make that argument. But I could also make the argument that the reply would still work because the priest is working Persona Christi (plus the Holy Spirit) and the Deacon is working via the Holy Spirit.

I hope this is helpful

God Bless.


Remember that the CCC was last edited long before the new translation was approved. So any attempt to try to tie the two together is problematic. BTW, the new translation doesn’t “suggest” we address the Deacon with “and with your spirit”. It is the proper response.

The response “and with your spirit” is the proper response to the celebrant (always a priest or bishop) and/or to the person who will be proclaiming God’s word (possibly a deacon).

The only question that I think is still unresolved is how to respond during a Liturgy of the Word with Communion if the person reading the Gospel is a layperson. The norms have not been revised since the new translation. On the one hand, “and with your spirit” doesn’t seem right but it seems confusing to use two different responses to the introduction of the Gospel.


If a layperson is leading any celebration, he never issues the greeting “The Lord be with you” anyway, even for the Gospel.

Only those who hold the order of Deacon can greet the people “The Lord be with you” and receive the expected reply: “And with your spirit.”


That’s interesting. When I have attended a Liturgy of the Word with Communion, the greetings and responses have been identical to Mass though out the whole Liturgy of the Word. I don’t mean to imply that that’s the right way to do it. We, of course, don’t have easy access to a “script” for a service in absence of a priest.


I think the GRIM covers that. It can be found on line.


If a layman is leading, and he’s saying “The Lord be with you”, he is doing something improper.

This part is governed by the Directory for Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a priest, ( specifically, n. 39.

  1. A layperson who leads the assembly acts as one among equals, in the way followed in the liturgy of the hours when not presided over by an ordained minister, and in the case of blessings when the minister is a layperson (“May the Lord bless us…”; “Let us praise the Lord…”). The layperson is not to use words that are proper to a priest or deacon and is to omit rites that are too readily associated with the Mass, for example, greetings — especially “The Lord be with you” — and dismissals, since these might give the impression that the layperson is a sacred minister.


I’m not too sure about that. Isn’t “And with your spirit” also a response to “May the peace of the Lord be with you” something some of us in the pews say in short to our neighbors during the peace exchange? Generally we respond with “peace” but I’m just trying to demonstrate a principle here.


No, that’s not the answer. The answer is “Amen.” GIRM 154.


I stand corrected. I didn’t know that was the new standard since 2000. But laymen are still allowed to say “May the Peace of the Lord be with you always.”

154.* Deinde sacerdos, manibus extensis, clara voce dicit orationem Dómine
Iesu Christe, qui dixísti; eaque conclusa, extendens et iungens manus, pacem
annuntiat, versus ad populum, dicens: Pax Dómini sit semper vobíscum. Populus
respondet: Et cum spíritu tuo. Postea, pro opportunitate, sacerdos subiungit:
Offérte vobis pacem.
Sacerdos pacem potest dare ministris, semper tamen intra presbyterium
remanens, ne celebratio turbetur. Item faciat si e rationabili causa aliquibus
paucis fidelibus pacem dare velit. Omnes vero, iuxta ea quæ a Conferentia Episcoporum
statuta sunt, pacem, communionem et caritatem sibi invicem significant.
Dum pax datur, dici potest: Pax Dómini sit semper tecum, cui respondetur:
154. Then the Priest, with hands extended, says aloud the prayer Domine Iesu Christe, qui dixisti (Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles) and when it is concluded, extending and then joining his hands, he announces the greeting of peace, facing the people and saying, The peace of the Lord be with you always. The people reply, And with your spirit. After this, if appropriate, the Priest adds, Let us offer each other the sign of peace.

The Priest may give the Sign of Peace to the ministers but always remains within the sanctuary, so that the celebration is not disrupted. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, for a good reason, on special occasions (for example, in the case of a funeral, a wedding, or when civic leaders are present), the Priest may offer the Sign of Peace to a small number of the faithful near the sanctuary. According to what is decided by the Conference of Bishops, all express to one another peace, communion, and charity. While the Sign of Peace is being given, it is permissible to say, The peace of the Lord be with you always, to which the reply is Amen.

This last paragraph of GIRM 154 is an addition to the 2000 edition. Note the optional words for the greeting among those in the assembly, the repetition of the presider’s greeting, and that we don’t reply “and with your spirit,” but “Amen.”


But laity do not say “The Lord be with you.” The Directory citation I gave makes that clear.


The OP doesn’t mention that, only the response to the deacon. There are other instances which call for “And with your spirit” such as “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” I don’t even know if the deacon is allowed to say this; I’m presuming he is.


The Deacon, before proclaiming the Gospel (which is part of the deacon’s role) says “The Lord be with you”, with the proper response being “And with your spirit” - just as if the words had been said by a priest. As for the laity, as others have noted, the prevalent view is that the words “And with your spirit” refer to to the spirit received in ordination and so should not be addressed to a layperson. However, the late great liturgical theologian Ansgar Chupungco disagreed with this interpretation, arguing that it had no solid theological or liturgical basis. In support of this view, he cites an ancient homily for Holy Saturday which refers to Christ searching for Adam among the dead and responding to Adam’s greeting by saying “And with your Spirit.”

Disagreement aside, both interpretations can be viewed as complementing each other and adding to the depth of meaning in the words of the Liturgy.


Study copies and preliminary translations are exactly that. We have to expect some mistakes, and we have to expect that corrections will be made. Otherwise, the texts would be “final versions.”

The point is that what matters is the final, approved version.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit