307 – Permanent Deacons – Clerical Dress and Means of Address

Last Updated: 11/11/2009

November 11, 2009
Volume XXXI, Number 1


Reverend and dear Fathers and Deacons,

Article #89 of the National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States states:

‘The Code of Canon Law does not oblige permanent deacons to wear an ecclesiastical garb. Furthermore, because they are prominent and active in secular professions and society, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops specifies that permanent deacons should resemble the lay faithful in dress and matters of lifestyle. Each diocesan bishop should, however, determine and promulgate any exceptions to this law, as well as specify the appropriate clerical attire that is to be worn.’

Therefore, I promulgate the following exception to the national law regarding clerical dress for deacons:

  • In the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, the normal attire for permanent deacons is secular dress, such as a coat and tie.
  • However, when formally engaged in ministry (i.e. when engaged in a ministry to which the permanent deacon has been formally assigned by the Archbishop), the deacon may wear clerical garb.
  • Clerical garb for a permanent deacon engaged in ministry in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is a gray clerical shirt with Roman collar.

Article #88 of the National Directory states,

‘While various forms of address have emerged with regard to deacons, the Congregation for Clergy has determined that in all forms of address for permanent deacons, the appropriate title is ‘Deacon’.

Therefore, in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, the title of spoken address for a permanent deacon is ‘Deacon (name)’. In writing, a deacon may be addressed by his normal secular address (e.g. Mr., Dr., etc.). ‘Reverend Mister’ is to be used only for transitional deacons.

Given at Saint Paul, Minnesota, this 11th day of November, in the year of Our Lord 2009. All things to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt

Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Jennifer Haselberger

Chancellor for Canonical Affairs