I am going to be a seminarian next year and the bishop has invited me over to his house for dinner. In this sort of friendly atmosphere how should I address him?
Be proper until/unless he tells you otherwise. Say “Your Excellency”, and if he wants to be called something else, he will tell you.
A lot depends upon local culture and personal sensibilities. Around here, a lot of people just say “Bishop So and So” or “Cardinal This and That”. Others would be offended by such a use. I’d ask a couple of priests in your area what is most appropriate under your circusmstances. Or you could just avoid titles entirely, politley point and say, “Hey you!”
From my experience working with the military Sir always works well.
How about Your Lordship? That is the European way.
My Most Excellent and All Holy Revered Father, Your Lordship, Bishop __________
This would be especially grand if you kept using it repeatedly, like midsentence, while addressing him. Before long, he’ll give you something to shorted it up to and all your concerns will be fixed!
I have had the pleasure and privilage of being in the same situation. I have met with the auxiliarry bishop a handful of times. (the archbishop of seattle is still recovering from a total knee replacement and so the auxiliarries are doing all the day-to-day stuff, but Archbishop Brunette is still caling the shots from his bed so to speak)
I was very proper at first and used “your excellency” until he asked to be called Bishop Tyson, and I obliged. It was actually kind of nice, since it was a pretty casual setting and it did feel a bit awkward to be using a formal rather than a colloquial/familar title. I dont know how it is in canada, but here in the states we do have a tendancy to call church officials by their office. Archbishop N or Cardinal N rather than His Excellency or Eminence. but i would still advise out of courtesy to use the formal title until told otherwise.
Oh and I only use Bishop N after permission in casual or private settings. Formal settings or in public, if ever i run into the bishop (im in the cathedral city and i like to haunt the cathedral so it happens on rare occasions) i call him excellency.