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How to Find a Priest by Name in 2024

Michelle Wilson - January 17, 2024

How to Find a Priest By Name

There are several ways to track down a priest in the United States. Individuals can search through the nearest church rectory or parish office, visit the local library or catholic church, or contact the Priest’s Order or Diocese.

Speak with the Diocese

When someone knows the diocese where the priest last served, contact them and inquire about new parish information. The diocese is a specific district within the care of a bishop. A bishop is directly responsible for monitoring and supervising a collection of churches within a geographic region. These individuals may know the current location of the priest, assuming he’s relocated.

Ask the Local Catholic Church

Always visit your local Catholic church to inquire about a copy of “The Official Catholic Directory.” This book is a large hard copy of all priests currently in service, complete with the current service locations and affiliations. Alternatively, some local libraries may have a copy of this book under the reference section.

Check the Catholic Directory Website

The Catholic Directory website is an online portal that allows direct search for different churches and priests. To get started, visit the website’s home page and locate the search bar at the top of the screen. Although the search method will indicate a city, users can input the priest’s name and run the search. The results page will display any contact information, including the current district or church details.

Once the results appear on the page, contact the parish directly to determine whether the priest is still affiliated with that location. If the priest is still there, continue making an appointment to speak with them further. When a priest is no longer available at that location, ask the receptionist if they have a forwarding location.

Ask Other Church Members

Staying in touch with an entire congregation is virtually impossible; if you have a few current members’ contact details, reaching out may help you reconnect with the priest you’re trying to find. Ask members if they know how to contact the priest outside of the church or where he may have transitioned to after leaving the current parish.

Inquire with the Priest’s Order

Although it may seem far-fetched, contact the seminary the priest attended if you happen to know the information. The seminary is the educational establishment for all serving under the Catholic faith, which may help connect you to his current whereabouts. Additionally, the priest’s order may have additional search methods available.

Purchase a Background Check

A background check offers a comprehensive report of any individual within the United States, assuming you have the personal information required to run the screening. To order a background report, visit a reputable website and enter all known details about the priest. If you recall the previous practice area, include that in the search options. Continue through the verification questions until the report is automatically generated.

Background check websites will scan through all publicly available databases to compile a list of personal details. These details may include previous residential addresses, phone numbers, employment history, credit reports, and educational history.

Are Religious Figures Connected to Social Media?

Social media outlets are becoming increasingly popular for priests to remain in close contact with their congregation. Many religious figures joined social media platforms during the pandemic, allowing virtual service, online contact, and prayer circles during uncertainty. If the priest has a social media presence, there’s a chance you can still connect with him outside of his current work.

How to Search for a Priest on Social Media

While plenty of social media platforms are available for users, a few networks are more likely to help you in your search. To find the priest, visit mainstream networks catering to an interactive or media-based audience. LinkedIn and Facebook are more likely to show results.

Finding a Priest Through LinkedIn

While LinkedIn caters to the career-focused individual, many religious actors will hold a profile on the social media platform. To search for the priest, visit the LinkedIn home page and enter the individual’s first and last name in the search bar. Scroll through the results page to see if he’s connected. If you find his account, you can try to reach out through the messaging platform, although you may need to add him as a personal connection to chat. Alternatively, users can pay for a monthly subscription to initiate contact.

Finding a Priest through Facebook

To locate an individual through Facebook, visit the network’s home page and find the search bar at the top of the screen. Enter the person’s first and last name in the bar and hit enter. Scroll through the results and choose the “people” option to filter results further. If you know the previous church the priest practiced within, search for them on Facebook to see if they have an online following. If they do, private message the church page for more information.

What are the Three Orders of Clergy Within the Church?

The three orders of clergy within the church will include priests, bishops, and the deacon. The deacon ranks the lowest of the three orders.

Is Someone Above the Bishop?

A cardinal is higher than a bishop within the Catholic Church. Cardinals are advisors to the Pope. The Pope is another individual who ranks higher than a Bishop within the church.

Will a Priest Ever Retire?

A priest may choose to retire from all administrative duties or full-time assignments. He will always continue living a lifelong mission within the ministry. A retired priest is called an emeritus priest.

How Can You Find an Emeritus Priest?

Locating a retired priest should always start by contacting the original working parish and asking for contact information. You may be able to leave a message with the receptionist, as many continue contact with the priest after they retire.

What Does a Priest Do Within the Church?

Essentially, the priest helps connect the Gospel with devoted followers. A priest will celebrate mass, preach the Gospel, and lead a parish. Most priests also offer spiritual direction and perform the church’s sacraments for members. Many view the priest as an essential person within their faith, accompanying them through dramatic moments in life. These moments include the birth of a child, weddings, or death.


The most direct way to find a priest is by contacting the original parish and asking for the information. When this option doesn’t work, individuals can get the Catholic Directory, visit the library, try searching for the priest on social media, or speak with the diocese. Although a few of these methods require additional search efforts, they can succeed overall.

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