Clerical sexual abuse, COVID-19, declining parishes, and racial unrest—these are some of the many challenges facing Catholic priests and bishops today. Where can they find the wisdom they need to address these and other daunting difficulties?
Archbishop Emeritus Hughes draws on the some of the greatest spiritual guides the Church has ever known to offer a vision for contemporary priestly life—Ignatius of Antioch, Augustine, Gregory the Great, and beyond. He also turns to the timeless advice found in great conciliar documents. What emerges from his survey of the past is the understanding that the Catholic priesthood has overcome many trials throughout its history and the confidence that it will do so in our own day by rediscovering the timeless sources of renewal.
This book is intended to serve a double purpose. It can be used as a text for seminarians, together with a reader drawn from the cited classics, or as a rich source of spiritual reading for priests and bishops.
"All of us who know and love Archbishop Al Hughes—as a priest, professor, author, retreat director, preacher, and a shepherd—have been waiting for this book. Pick-it up and you'll soon join his fan club."
-Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York
"A wonderful book on the priesthood for bishops, priests, and seminarians. With a scholar's care, Archbishop Hughes offers portraits of those who modelled priestly spirituality. With fatherly love, he draws forth from these portraits holy wisdom. As a surefooted guide, the Archbishop brings us through the thickets of history and the challenges of contemporary priestly life and ministry. I warmly recommend this enlightening and challenging text."
Most Rev. William Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore
"This is a wise, perceptive book, and much needed in our day. Archbishop Alfred Hughes understands keenly that a resurgence of fervent priestly dedication and holiness requires a recovery of profound insights from the great Fathers and spiritual figures of the Church and, equally, a realistic awareness of the difficulties that mark every historical period, including our own. In these pages priests and seminarians will find themselves invigorated and challenged to seek real holiness. The bracing hopefulness of this book is that serious spiritual commitment will lead soon to an era of holy young priests in our midst."
-Fr. Donald Haggerty, Author, The Contemplative Hunger and Contemplative Enigmas
"1) From our very origins, the human race has struggled with sin which has divided the hearts of every person and society. Yet, the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us for our salvation. Archbishop Hughes has traced for us how the priesthood of Jesus has faithfully shown the love of God in times of scandal, confusion, and challenge. The priesthood does not escape sin as evidenced with the very apostles who were entrusted with Christ's priestly mission. I found the archbishop's reflections as a source of both challenge and consolation as will anyone who loves the Priesthood of Jesus Christ.
2) In every era of the Church, Christians are challenged, persecuted, ignored, or even martyred. How Jesus' priesthood is lived has never escaped sin and scandal. Archbishop Hughes has traced for us how the faithfulness of priestly ministry makes holy whatever Crosses the Church confronts in her mission of evangelization. Laity, clergy, and seminarians will find consolation with the historical and pastoral reflections provided by Archbishop Hughes.
3) Can you think of one moment in the life of the Church when there was not a scandal or challenge to the Church's mission? Archbishop Hughes has provided us historical and pastoral reflections on the priesthood of Jesus that remind us that authentic discipleship is the key to a faithful life of priestly ministry.
4) It can be hard to love God when Jesus' priesthood is not lived faithfully. Sin and scandal have rocked the Church from her very beginnings, starting with Judas. Archbishop Hughes has traced for us how authentic discipleship inspires a joyful, faithful priestly life and ministry. The cynicism that often pervades the hearts of Christians will pass away when we align our hearts and minds to Jesus as his disciples. This resource is an excellent source for spiritual reading and reflection on the Priesthood of Jesus."
Fr. James Wehner, S.T.D., Rector of Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans
By his reflections on the priesthood as lived throughout the history of the Church, Archbishop Emeritus Hughes offers priests and seminarians a spiritual path for personal renewal and a recipe for the effective evangelization of our world. By employing the spiritual tools found in this book, any priest or seminarian can deepen his relationship with the Lord, grow in personal holiness, find the courage needed to confront the challenges of our age, and become a joyful witness of the Gospel. Reading this book has given me great hope in our troubled times. It will do the same for you.
— Most Rev. Frank Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut