Is it okay to call a priest by his first name?


A priest at my buddy’s church told us that he’d prefer we call him ‘Dave’ (instead of Fr. Dave). This makes me somewhat uncomfortable. He’s not family or a close friend or anything. Do I call him Dave outside of church and Fr. Dave at church or ?

I’m trying to imagine on up the line what I’d do if my bishop, archbishop, cardinal, pope, asked me to call him by his first name. It seems the higher I go, the more trouble I’d have.



We call a priest ‘Father’ out of respect for the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Just because he doesn’t appreciate this fact is not reason for you to imitate him. It’s not about him; it’s about Jesus. And you can tell him that I wrote this.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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