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How to Write a Thank You Note to the Priest After a Funeral

Updated February 21, 2017

Writing a thank you note after a funeral can be a bit challenging. In days past, mourners were expected to write thank you notes to funeral attendees. This is no longer the case. However, although it's not expected, you may feel compelled to write such a note. In particular, you may want to write a thank you note to the priest who presided over the funeral of your loved one as it may help with your grieving process.

Use proper terms of address and salutation. The proper term of address for a priest is "The Reverend" followed by his full name. After the name, write a comma, then the initials of any appropriate orders he may belong to. Even in times of extreme grief, such formalities are expected.

Express gratitude for their services. Priests do not perform services for mercenary reasons. However, it is important to thank him for performing the service itself. Remember that while he may perform dozens of funerals a year, each one is special. Acknowledging his service is a good way to let him know that you know that.

Acknowledge any spiritual or religious guidance. Performing the necessary rites are only part of the priest's reason for being at a funeral. He is also there to provide spiritual guidance and comfort for the living. Make sure to thank him for that as well.

Be specific. A thank you note always reads better with specifics. Tell him how something he said about the departed particularly moved you. Likewise, make sure he knows what he said that was particularly comforting to you. This makes your thank you card something special for the priest. It fully acknowledges his role in your time of need.

Send within two weeks. It is considered poor form to wait longer than two weeks to send a thank you note. If the note has not been sent within two weeks, find the priest and thank him personally. There is no need for a note.

Tip

If you are not Catholic, or the officiating clergy was not, follow the same rules. Substitute the terms of address for the relevant religious office.

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About the Author

Nicholas Pell began writing professionally in 1995. His features on arts, culture, personal finance and technology have appeared in publications such as "LA Weekly," Salon and Business Insider. Pell holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.