How to Write To a Pastor


Greetings. Not sure where i should have posted this question to, but I know someone will be able to help me out. I am currently writing a letter to my pastor to address some liturgical abuses at our parish. I want to make sure that when I address the pastor in my email, that I am doing it with the utmost respect. Is there any standard salutation and closing I should be using?



Just “Dear Father (last name),” and “Sincerely, (full name, role (if any), parish)” - nothing complicated.

Be sure to follow the rule of two compliments for every criticism, and keep criticisms short, factual, and unemotional. Also use “please” and “thank you” when requesting information or action.


Macd, it’s pretty standard to offer the salutation as “Dear Father . . . ., and to end either with “Sincerely” or Sincerely Yours”, or “In Christ”. The address on the envelope would “Rev. John Q. Smith”. With the concern you show here, I’m sure you will have no problems in expressing yourself with all courtesy and charity.


Why would your first response be to write a letter? :confused: Why would you not just sit down and ask our priest why he does or allows “this” or "that’ in the liturgy? You could make an appointment … take him to lunch, invite him to dinner, out for a cup of coffee … :slight_smile:

Better yet would be to join the liturgy committee or the group that plans the liturgy for your parish :thumbsup: … before offering your “complaints” which may or may not be valid … you might get involved … be part of the solution or the process depending upon what insights you gain through your participation and study with this group …

Liturgy committees work in many of the areas that impact the liturgy: from training the ushers, EMHC, Lectors, and Altar servers to planning and/or approving the environmental elements. Ususally someone from the music ministry reports about the music to be focused on during the next liturgical cycle [ordinary, advent, lent, easter] …

Also, a representative from the RCIA team attends to coordinate those areas particular to the Rites for RCIA [Welcoming, Sending, Easter Vigil, etc] …

They review problems or areas of concern that occured during the liturgies including from parishioner complaints … even occassionally the "compliment’ :stuck_out_tongue:

They work on scheduling the “special Masses” like this Friday’s Feast of the Assumption …

Get involved, especially if you have knowledge and interest as noted by your sitting down to write a letter …

AND, personnally, I would never write this kind of correspondance in an email … bad form :frowning:



Thanks for the feedback. I am actually a member of our liturgy committee, but the issue is involves a staff member who happens to be on the committee as well. Would make for a rather uncomfortable and inappropriate place to address the issue. A letter might be the easy way out, but I’m honestly more comfortable writing it down so that I do not mess up in a face to face meeting. It’s just a delicate issue and i was not even sure if and when to bring it up, but i feel i must.



Oh, I see …

Though I am somewhat confused as to why and how a staff member could impose liturgical abuses upon the Mass overriding a committee and atthe same time gain and obtain the acquiesience and participation of the priest …

You don’t say what the abuses are … and maybe you do not need to …

I might make the appointment and meet face to face with the priest but have a written list of my concerns, the church documents that define the action as an abuse … one for me and one for the priest … to refer back to in the discussion … face to face is still better


I would also avoid e-mail. The ability to reply to e-mails before thinking and calming down seems to make e-mail the perfect environment for inflaming problems rather than solving them.

I would also think about talking to the priest privately. Or if you really do prefer writing then I think a hand-written letter would avoid the problems that e-mail can generate.



How about writing a letter…including what you want to talk about…and ask for a face to face?

closed #9

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