DONORS FUND DISTRIBUTION OF BOOK TO IMPROVE PRIEST SHORTAGE
by Christine Schicker Tuesday, February 16, 2010
For information contact:
Fr. Brett Brannen, 706-513-4660 or
Men Considering Priesthood Are Being Targeted in Nationwide Effort to Hand Out Books
Emmitsburg, MD, February 16—The priest shortage isn’t over in the United States; in fact, it’s becoming worse. Today there are 5,000 fewer priests and 5 million more Catholics than there were ten years ago. To help reverse this trend, a dozen donors have contributed over $80,000 for the publication of a new book by Fr. Brett Brannen. To Save a Thousand Souls is aimed squarely at young men considering the priesthood and thousands of copies are being distributed in this month to bishops, vocation directors, college campuses and Eucharistic adoration chapels nationwide.
The subtitle of the books says it all: A Guide for Discerning a Vocation to Diocesan Priesthood. The 400-page book addresses topics like celibacy, common fears of seminarians and parents’ opposition to their sons becoming priests. But its main purpose is to help men figure out if God is calling them to priesthood. “It’s the best book-length treatment of discerning a priestly vocation I’ve seen,” said Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, CT.
Vocation Directors—the priests in every Catholic diocese who are in charge of recruiting seminarians—have long been daunted by the difficulty of their task. Several have expressed hope that Fr. Brannen’s book will encourage more men to enter seminary. “Not only do I wish that I had this available when I was a vocation director, I wish that it had been available to me as a young man considering a vocation to the priesthood,” said Msgr. Steven Rohlfs, who served as the Vocation Director in the Diocese of Peoria for ten years, and is now rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
Fr. Brannen is vice rector at the same seminary and previously served as Vocation Director in the Diocese of Savannah. In 2007 that diocese gained national attention for its unusually large numbers of ordinations.
Before To Save a Thousand Souls, no comprehensive guide was available for men discerning a vocation to diocesan priesthood. Fr. Brannen said this always surprised him, since the priest shortage is one of the most serious crises in the Church. “I always wanted a single resource I could hand to a man—something that answered all his questions about priesthood—so I started writing a few chapters,” he said. “Then when Pope Benedict declared the Year for Priests, it was confirmation to me that the Holy Spirit wanted me to finish it.” Further confirmation came when Vianney Vocations—a new organization that helps promote vocations—agreed to publish the book.
“I love being a priest,” said Fr. Brannen. “And I know that Jesus is calling a sufficient number of men to be priests in his Church. I hope this book will help these men overcome their fears and respond to God’s call. The purpose of a priest is to bring people to Jesus and Jesus to people. I cannot imagine a more fulfilling life in this world!”
Vianney Vocations helps Catholic dioceses to promote priestly vocations and increase their number of seminarians.
Review copies of the book are available. For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Fr. Brett Brannen at 706-513-4660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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