Books on Discernment

To Save a Thousand Souls

Fr. Brett A. Brannen

To Save a Thousand Souls: A Guide for Discerning a Vocation to Diocesan Priesthood is the definitive guide for men considering the priesthood. Using powerful and entertaining stories, the book explains in down-to-earth language how to carefully discover God’s call. Learn more

Is Jesus Calling You to be a Catholic Priest?

Fr. Thomas Richter

In this booklet, Msgr. Thomas Richter leads you through 10 spiritual lessons of discerning your vocation to the priesthood. Learn more

Have I Been With You? Personal Prayer for Young Disciples

Fr. Paul Hoesing

The booklet is a primer on prayer for young disciples by Father Paul Hoesing. This primer was written to encourage the kind of prayer that that becomes a lifestyle, a response to the presence and love of Jesus. Learn more

The Discernment of Spirits

Fr. Timothy M. Gallagher

In The Discernment of Spirits, Fr. Timothy Gallagher, a talented teacher, retreat leader, and scholar, helps us understand the Rules and how their insights are essential for our spiritual growth today. By integrating the Rules and the experience of contemporary people, Gallagher shows the precision, clarity, and insight of Ignatius’s Rules, as well as the relevance of his thought for spiritual life today. Learn more

What does God want?

Fr. Michael Scanlan

This book is designed to help you make these decisions. It offers a five part process for decision making that can help you choose the right course of action in matters large and small. Learn more

Paths of Love

Joseph Bolin

Paths of Love: The Discernment of Vocation According to the Teaching of Aquinas, Ignatius, and Pope John Paul II is about vocation to marriage, priesthood, or religious life, has several unique features. First, while being addressed to all Catholics, not only to theologians, it does not oversimplify vocation, or give a mere compilation of advice, but aims to present the rich depth and wealth of the Christian understanding of vocation in a simple and accessible manner. Learn more

Interior Freedom

Fr. Jacques Philippe

Interior Freedom leads one to discover that even in the most unfavorable outward circumstances we possess within ourselves a space of freedom that nobody can take away, because God is its source and guarantee. Without this discovery we will always be restricted in some way and will never taste true happiness. Learn more

Discerning Religious Life

Sister Clare Matthiass, CFR

Discerning Religious Life distills Sr. Clare Matthiass’ wisdom into clear advice, especially for women who are struggling to discover their vocations. Filled with humorous anecdotes and poignant stories of her 20 years as a sister, Discerning Religious Life is easy to read, and contains rock-solid guidance based on the wisdom of the saints. The entire point of the book, as Sr. Clare says, “is to move from discernment to decision.” Learn more

Could You Ever Become a Catholic Priest?

Christopher J. and Lorene Hanley Duquin

What is it that makes the Catholic Church so unique? Why would anyone want to be a Catholic? Could / ever become a Catholic? These questions and many more are addressed in this book by individuals who have asked them too. If you were ever curious about who converts to Catholicism and why, or whether you could ever become a Catholic, you will find much to ponder here. Learn more

Priests for the Third Millennium

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan

A must-read book for men aspiring to the priesthood! Cardinal Dolan masterfully presents the ideals of Christian virtue for aspiring priests, setting forth a clear vision of the kind of strong, humble, self-sacrificing priests needed for the Church in the twenty-first century. One of the most influential books on priesthood for the last two decades. Learn more

Radical Surrender: Letters to Seminarians

Fr. Michael J. Najim

We live in a culture of distraction, making it very difficult to hear God’s voice and respond with courage. Fr. Michael Najim’s book, Radical Surrender: Letters to Seminarians, will assist vocation directors and seminary formators in helping seminarians recognize the true voice of God and rightfully discern their vocation. Seminary formation must be interiorly appropriated; in other words, formation will be fruitful only if the seminarian allows Christ to transform his heart. Radical Surrender: Letters to Seminarians is a unique resource for all interested in the spiritual and human formation of the next generation of priests. Learn more

Called by Name

Dr. Christine Ann Mugridge

Catholic priests communicate the glory of heaven through the ministry of the Word and the sacraments, especially in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the source and summit of our Faith. By fulfilling this mission, these men truly become an alter Christus another Christ.  In this intriguing look at the awesome call to the priesthood, you will experience firsthand the joys, the struggles, and the extraordinary grace needed, and given by, these men we call Father. Learn more

The Priest is Not His Own

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

This is much more than a book for priests. Based on his earlier studies of the life of Christ, Sheen envisions the priest as a man sacrificing himself in the prolongation of Christ’s incarnation. Whereas pagan religions offered sacrifices to the Gods, the priest is himself both priest and victim, as he sacrifices himself, as the ancient priests sacrificed animals and other creatures. A classic description of the significance of the priesthood. Learn more

Those Mysterious Priests

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen

In his final years, Archbishop Sheen gave many retreats to priests, and was very concerned with making sure that priests had a strong moral and spiritual background to meet the challenges facing the Church after Vatican II. This book covers a wide range of topics affecting the priesthood, and is vintage Sheen, written with his usual insight and humor. Learn more

Reclaiming Our Priestly Character

Fr. David L. Toups

In a day and age in which permanent commitments are devalued by our society and in a particular way the priesthood is under attack for the sins of a small percentage, it is of utmost importance to re-emphasize both the permanence and the dignity of the calling to the ministerial priesthood. Reclaiming Our Priestly Character offers a review of the present crisis surrounding priestly identity through careful theological scholarship and a wise and practical spirituality, providing a clear path toward the renewal of the priestly character. An essential guide for every priest and seminarian. Learn more

Dear Father

Catherine Doherty

Are you a priest searching for clear answers to questions about the meaning of the priesthood, or a layman — or seminarian — considering becoming a priest? Or are you a layperson seeking better awareness and appreciation of God s gifts to the Church in and through his priests? Dear Father: A Message of Love for Priests is the book for you. To read yourself or to give as a gift to challenge, encourage, reassure, inspire any priest or aspiring priest, or layperson in relationship with priests. Learn more

Be Holy! God's First call to Priests Today

Tom Forrest

From the Worldwide retreat for priests, Paul VI Audience Hall, Vatican City, October 5th – 9th, 1984 – Talks given by: Pope John Pul II, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens, Silvio Cardinal Oddi, Bernadin Cardinal Gantin, Archbiship Ivan Diaz, Bishop Alfonso Uribe Jaramillo, Bishop Valerian D’Souza, Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa and Fr. Salvador Carrillo Alday. Learn more

Books on Vocation Discernment

Discerning the Will of God
Fr. Timothy Gallagher

A Living Sacrifice
Fr. Benedict Croel, O.P. and Fr. Andrew Hofer, O.P.

Discernment Do’s and Dont’s
Fr. George Elliott 

Magisterial Documents

Presbyterorum Ordinis (Order of Priests), 1965

Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia (From the Beginning of Our Priesthood) 1959

Pastores Dabo Vobis (I will Give You Shepherds), 1992

Program of Priestly Formation (5th Edition), U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2005

Books on the Priesthood

A Priest’s Life: The Calling, The Cost, The Joy
The Word Among Us Press

The Joy of Priesthood
Msgr. Steve Rosetti

Maurice and Therese: The Story of a Love
Saint Therese of Lisieux

The Grace of Ars
Fr. Frederick Miller

Treasure in Clay
Archbishop Fulton Sheen

The Grunt Padre
Fr. Daniel Mode

A Shepherd in Combat Boots: Chaplain Emil Kapaun of the 1st Cavalry Division
William L. Maher

Holy Man: Father Damien of Molokai
Gavan Daws

The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM
Gereon Karl Goldmann

Autobiography of a Hunted Priest
John Gerard

Books on Celibacy

Why Celibacy
Fr. Carter Griffin

When God Asks for an Undivided Heart
Fr. Andrew Apostoli

Sacerdotalis Caelibatus (Priestly Celibacy)
Pope Paul VI, 1967

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa

“…And You are Christ’s” The Charism of Virginity and the Celibate Life
Thomas Dubay, S.M.

Next: Take the Discernment Self-Test