For centuries, priests have been writing books. Some have entered the canon of important literature, such as St. Augustine’s Confessions, though countless other titles by priests have also offered valuable spiritual advice to the laity.
As you may imagine, many priests have written books explicitly about the priesthood, reflecting on the mystery of their own vocation. One recent entry to this category stands out:
Lend Your Own Voice to Christ, by Msgr. Tom Richter. It’s really more of a booklet, but despite its short length, it’s long on wisdom. The main thesis? As part of priests’ normal ministry as doctors of souls, they should feel empowered in calling forth young men whom they perceive to have characteristics of a future priest. It is an inspiring, uplifting, and yet practical work that any priest will find useful.
A second booklet, also by Msgr. Richter, is specifically for young men who are considering the priesthood. If you’re looking for something to distribute to a group of young men—say a high school graduating class—
Is Jesus Christ Calling You to Be a Catholic Priest? is the booklet to give them. In seven “lessons,” Fr. Richter lays out the spiritual principles for discerning one’s vocation. It’s a clear guide to living a holy life and listening for God’s voice.
If you are a promoter of vocations, and want to know what a man who is discerning a priestly goes through—from the first inkling of interest all the way to ordination—you will want to read Fr. Brett Brannen’s
To Save a Thousand Souls: A Guide for Discerning a Vocation to Diocesan Priesthood. While written primarily for young men, it has been praised as an invaluable resource for parents and other family member, Serra Club members, and many priests and vocation directors. The strength of the book is its conversational tone and dozens of memorable stories. Believe it or not, some have described the 400-page volume as a “page turner.” If you know a young man who is serious about delving into the possibility of the priesthood, by all means, give him this book!
In the YouTube generation, when young people consume thousands of bits of information in short bursts, good books are still important. They can be taken into the church or chapel, and in the quiet of God’s presence an inspiring passage may just spark a new vocation.
Thank you for helping promote vocations in the Diocese of Ogdensburg! Your work and prayers are greatly appreciated. ________
If you know a young man who is interested in the priesthood, please encourage him to contact us. Likewise, if you are aware of a young woman or man who is discerning religious life, please send them our way. We'll help connect them with respective religious communities. And of course, let us keep praying for each other and for all holy vocations in the Church.