VOCATION BOOKS

Here is a list of excellent spiritual books recommended by the Vocation Office. Please  Contact Fr. King if you are discerning the priesthood and/or religious life and would like a copy of one of the books listed below.

"The Diary of A Country Priest" by Georges Bernanos

 

This is a book of heroic virtue.  The story chronicles the day-to-day life of a country priest in France.  It offers the reader glimpses into the secret life of the priest and shares his passions, satisfactions, and difficulties in engaging his parish, which is, at times, resistant to the Word of God.  

 

"The Diary of a Country Priest" is a raw, gritty tale of deep emotions and earnest reflection that will keep young readers enthralled until the last page.

"To Save A Thousand Souls" by Fr. Brett Brannen

 

This book is a definitive guide for men who are considering the priesthood.  Using powerful and entertaining stories, it explains in simple, easy-to-read language how to discover and understand God's call.  "To Save A Thousand Souls" has been bulk-ordered by over 100 dioceses in the United States alone.  It has become the standard "catechism for discernment" and has been reprinted in Europe and Asia and even translated into Spanish.  

 

Readers are enthusiastic in their praise for "To Save A Thousand Souls," referring to it as easy to read and able to answer most of their questions about discernment.  This book has led many young men to join the seminary.    

"A Priest in the Family: A Guide for Parents Whose Sons are Considering Priesthood" by Father Brett A. Brannen

 

Like his previous book, "To Save A Thousand Souls," Father Brannen's new book for parents is relatable, engaging, and filled with humor.  Father Brannen takes the reader on a spiritual journey that is based on his own experience as a priest.  He lends his gift for story-telling to a wide range of issues and keeps in mind parents' legitimate questions and concerns. 

 

Father Brennan explains priesthood, seminary, celibacy, and discernment in twelve short chapters. This book is entertaining and explanatory for parents who wish to better understand their son's decision to discern.    

"Vocations Anonymous: A Handbook for Adults Discerning Priesthood and Religious Life" by Sr. Kathleen Bryant, RSC

 

This book is an excellent resource for anyone who is in search of their vocation or who is responsible for guiding young people throughout their discernment.  It is concise, practical, and offers a comprehensive overview of vocations to religious life and priestly ministry.  Sister Kathleen Bryant uses her experience to guide young adults through the process of discernment.  

 

"Vocations Anonymous" offers educated suggestions and relatable stories for Christians who wish to walk the path of discernment. 

"Introduction to the Devout Life" by Saint Francis de Sales

 

For nearly four hundred years Saint Francis de Sales' book, "Introduction to the Devout Life," has remained a unique and relevant treasure of devotion.  This classic illustrates Saint Francis de Sales' instructions on how to live in Christ based on his own experience with Christians from all levels of society. 

 

This book withstands the test of time and will lead its readers on a journey to attain a devout life without renouncing the world.   

"Priests for the Third Millennium" by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan



From his opening words on faith, as it is expressed in the Apostles' Creed, to his concluding chapter on devotion to Mary,  Cardinal Dolan faithfully teaches Catholic doctrine with enthusiasm and simplicity.  This book clearly emphasizes what it takes to be a Catholic priest in the third millennium. 

 

Cardinal Dolan stresses the necessity of regular Confession and daily Mass and discusses priestly celibacy in frank, realistic terms.  He characterizes the true 'priest identity' by presenting a life worth living, sharing, and offering up to the Father through Christ and in the Holy Spirit. 

"To Whom Shall We Go?" by Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan

 

Cardinal Timothy Dolan's book, "To Whom Shall We Go?" is an accessible exposition for teens and adults that teaches lessons from the Apostle Peter. 

 

St. Peter is aware that even the most  devout Chrisitan can become frightened and unsure, can make mistakes and betray a loved one, can seek and receive forgiveness, can begin again and - with renewed strength - can go on to face life's most difficult challenges.

 

Cardinal Dolan's book is an inspiring, motivating guide that is filled with good humor and and touching stories.  This book is particularly well-suited for discussion groups and book clubs.   

"Discernment Matters : Listening with the Ear of the Heart" by Sister Mary Margaret Funk

 

"Discernment Matters" is a sophisticated, intricate guide by Sister Mary Margaret Funk, a Benedictine nun of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Indiana.  This work contains chapters of useful tips to assist one on the journey of discernment.  Sister Funk defines discernment in eloquent words as the "[...] personaly, subtle prompting of the Holy Spirit" (xxiii).

 

Not only does this volume offer Sister Funk's straightforward five steps of the discernment process, but it also highlights the eight afflictive thoughts of Saint John Cassian.  

"The Courage to be Chaste" by Father Benedict Groeschel

 

"The Courage to be Chaste" is a book about living a lifestyle that is chaste and pleasing to God.  Father Benedict Groeschel draws on his experience as both a priest and a psychiatrist throughout this book.  He emphasizes the value of chastity and welcoming God with a pure heart and open mind and illustrates the importance of friendship and prayer as forces in building inner strength in the face of temptation. 

"The Imitation of Christ" by Tomas Kempis

 

Next to the Bible, this book is the most-published book in any language.  For 600 years Christians have studied Kempis' meditations on the life and teachings of Jesus, finding in them a path to prayer and spiritual guidance.  "The Imitation of Christ" discusses liberation from worldly inclinations, recollection as a preparation for prayer, the consolation of prayer, and the place of eucharistic communion in a devout life.  

 

With simple, relatable language this translation will convey God's gift of providing Christians with true happiness, peace and contentment in their religious life.  

"The Grace of Ars" by Father Frederick Miller

 

"The Grace of Ars" is a great tool for priests and seminarians who wish to strengthen their commitment to the priesthood as well as those who are discerning the call of Christ in thier lives.  It uses beautiful reflections that focus on many aspects of the life of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of all parish priests.  Saint Vianney lived out his priesthood in the aftermath of the French Revolution, which was a difficult period for Catholic priests in France.  Father Miller's book reveals that specific Grace of Ars. 

 

This book is a treasury of spiritual wisdom that will take you on a pilgrimage to the very place where St. John Vianney labored so long and so heroically for the good of souls and the love of God.  

"Priestly Celibacy Today" by Father Thomas McGovern

 

Father Thomas McGovern's book, "Priestly Celibacy Today," does Christians a great service by enabling them- particularly the youth- to re-enter the Catholic value-system and better understand the Church's view of the priesthood and why priests are celibate.

 

This book emphasizes the foundations of priestly celibacy in scripture, the teaching of the church, and theology in simple, easy-to-read language. "Priestly Celibacy Today" is full of practical wisdom and Christian common sense to help Christians navigate today's ever-changing culture in  way that is also pleasing to Christ.   

"Discernment" by Henri Nouwen

 

Henri Nouwen, the world-renowned spiritual guide and counselor, understood the spiritual life as a journey of faith and transformation that is deepend by accountability, community, and relationships.  "Discernment," the third book in Nouwen's series, offers guidance on spiritual development and teaches Christians how to read the "signs of the times" in daily life in order to make decisions that are guided by God. 

"Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi" by St. Francis of Assisi

 

In this engaging and spiritually motivating book, Saint Francis of Assisi preserved his legend and those of the first disciples, combining stories of miracles with relatable portraits of men who were no less human for having been called by God.  It tells the life and struggles of Saint Francis and how he found God despite all of life's temptations.  

 

This book is an inspiring spiritual classic full of faith-building, humble stories that teach the importance of temperence, piety, and charity.  

"Why Priests are Happy" by Monsignor Stephen Rossetti

 

In his groundbreaking study, Monsignor Stephen Rossetti, the former director of the Saint Luke Institute, finds that American priests enjoy an extraordinary high rate of happiness and satisfaction, among the highest of any profession.  In his study, Monsignor Rossetti discovers that, contrary to popular media portrayals, priests as a group, are very happy men.  In fact, 92 percent say they are happy in their ministry, among the highest rate of satisfaction of any profession in the United States.  

 

This study compares priests to the general male population with respect to human intimacy, sexual difficulties, burnout, psychological problems, physical health, and self-care.

"The Joy of Priesthood" by Monsignor Stephen Rossetti

 

In "The Joy of Priesthood," Monsignor Stephen Rossetti stresses that psychology can be effective in enrichening the lives of priests, and the priesthood itself, when it works with a basis of spirituality.  This book highlights the challenges of today's cultural climate and the important role that priests play in our daily lives.  Monsignor Rossetti invites priests to recognize the dignity of their calling through honest and psychologically based self-assessment because happiness in the priest flows from both wholeness and holiness.    

"The Priest is Not His Own" by Archbishop Fulton Sheen

 

In his book, "The Priest is Not His Own," Archbishop Fulton Sheen presents a profound and deeply spiritual look at the meaning of the priesthood and relationship of the priest with Christ as an "alter Christus."  He delves deeply into what he considers the main character of the priesthood, and one not often discussed, that of being, like Christ, a "holy victim."  To be like Christ, Sheen emphasizes that the priest must imitate Christ in His example of sacrifice, offering himself as a victim to make His incarnation continually present in the world.

"About Being A Priest" by Federico Suarez

 

This book is a forceful presentation of the daily life and duties of a priest.  It combines theological insight- heavily based on Scripture- along with experience and practical advice.  It covers a wide range of topics, including effective preaching, intellectual growth, mortification, the spirit of poverty, and friendship among priests.  

 

"About Being A Priest" is a useful, inspiring book for priests both young and old, as well as men considering a vocation to the priesthood. 

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