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How to Find a Priest By Name in 2023

Michelle Wilson - October 21, 2022

How to Find a Priest By Name

The easiest way to find a priest within the Roman Catholic church is often with a quick phone call. Contacting the nearest Catholic church rectory or parish office gets you in contact with people who know the individual and can point you in the right direction of how to find them. If you’d like to contact a specific priest that no longer belongs to the parish, the search effort can become more complex. Finding a priest outside the parish is still possible if you’re willing to put in the effort.

Visit the Catholic Directory Website

To start your search, visit the Catholic Directory website. On the top right-hand side of the page, you can search for an organization name, city, state, or postal code. While these search options don’t explicitly suggest searching for a priest, users can also enter the priest’s name directly. Click the search icon. Any positive results will show on the results page, often attached to a local parish or listing.

Call Each Church

If you remember where the priest was appointed, contact the parish. If you’re friendly and familiar with parish members, ask a few church members if they know where the priest has gone. Many churches will have a few ideas about where the individual has gone if they no longer reside there.

Visit the Local Library or Catholic Church

Visit your local library or Catholic church and ask them for a copy of “The Official Catholic Directory.” Search for the priest’s name within the directory of priests.

Contact the Diocese

Get in touch with the diocese if you are still looking for a priest on your own. The diocese may know where to find him, so ask whether they can disclose the new parish information.

Contact the Priest’s Order

Call the priest’s order or a seminary he attended in the past if you know them as to whether they know where he is currently serving or how to get in contact with him.

Use a Background Check Website

If you know the priest’s first and last name, consider performing a general background search. A background check website scans thousands of databases to uncover a comprehensive report on an individual. You’ll need the priest’s first and last name and any other identifying information to get started.

Visit the background check company and enter the individual’s name, address, or phone number into the search. The website will automatically pull available details from various databases, which may reveal the priest’s current whereabouts.  

What is a Priest?

Within the Catholic Church, there are two types of priests. The first is a religious order priest, and the second is a diocesan priest. A diocese is any group of parishes, communities, or collectives overseen by a bishop.

A Religious Order Priest

A religious order priest belongs to a particular religious order within the Catholic faith. These priests don’t own cars or hold worldly possessions. Typically, the priests will live in small groups together and subsist on a small monthly stipend for personal grocery items, toiletries, or entertainment. A religious order priest will not preside over a parish.

A Diocesan Priest

A diocesan priest is appointed to a particular parish by the bishop. They must take a vow of obedience and a promise of celibacy. Parish priests will receive modest housing and salary. The home a priest uses is called the rectory. Parish priests are responsible for their automobiles, personal possessions, and taxes. The priest may receive gifts when performing funerals, baptisms, or weddings, but it is sacrilegious for a priest to ask for payment.

The parish priest presides over daily mass, hears confessions, anoints the sick, witnesses marriage ceremonies, and more. A priest must attend a five-day sabbatical or religious retreat once a year.

How to Find Someone by Name

Technological advances make it possible to find people quickly using the internet. Public records, social media websites, and directories hold a wealth of information on individuals around the world. Many websites will allow users to search public records to find current and vital information. In fact, all you need to track someone down is their name, contact information, social media handles, or address.

Using Social Media to Find Someone Online

With over 82 percent of Americans having a profile on at least one social media networking website, there’s a good chance you’ll find someone if you know how to search. The most accessible social media site to search is Facebook, with approximately 70 percent of Americans having an active account.

Searching Through Facebook

To start your search:

  1. Enter the full name into the search bar at the top of the screen.
  2. Choose the “People” option so only personal profiles appear in the results. You may need to sift through profiles or add additional information depending on the name.
  3. If the full name doesn’t bring any results, consider variations or nicknames the individual used growing up.

For example, Robert Jones might go by Bob Jones on social media.

Searching Through LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional network that requires users to use their real names instead of an alias. It’s primarily used by business professionals and isn’t as popular as other social media platforms. Currently, 169 million LinkedIn users are registered within the United States, meaning half of all Americans now have an account.

Enter an individual’s full name and click on “People” under the search results. Look through the profiles that appear, adjusting the filters to reflect the locations or positions of the person you’re trying to find.

Look Through Google or Search Engines

Although it seems unlikely, search engines act as public record websites, allowing users to sift through public records to pull results. To start your search, visit the Google main page and search by first and last name. Depending on the commonality, include an approximate location of the individual.

Google will likely bring up different results from various third-party websites. Results might include news sites, blogs, and social media platforms. To narrow your search, add quotations around each side of the name before searching online.

Conclusion

When trying to find a priest by name, the most straightforward option starts with contacting the parish. From there, reaching out to different contacts within the Catholic church are easier than trying traditional methods of finding someone by name. Although searching through social media isn’t a conventional approach to finding a priest, it never hurts to try and see what results appear. Whether you want to invite the priest who married you to a special anniversary or you’d like to attend his mass services, searching with these methods is the easiest way to find who you’re looking for.

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