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Dean Hoge and his colleagues have performed a great service for everyone interested in shepherding our shepherds. This study of the first five years of the priesthood will be especially helpful as we begin the implementation of the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests. While this study points out many areas where serious attention needs to be given to the spiritual, emotional, and professional formation on a continuing basis; it also points out areas of strength in our young priests for which we all have to be very grateful.
Bishop John R. Gaydos, Diocese of Jefferson City, Chairman of the U.S.C.C.B. Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry
Shakespeare has one of his characters say that all difficulties are easy once they are known. Dean Hoge does the Church and world a commendable service in identifying with keen insight and perceptive analysis some of the difficulties faced by the newly ordained. He also examines with equal care and attention those elements that give life and meaning to diocesan and religious priests. This is accomplished through rigorous research and through asking the right questions. With impressive and firm data, he distinguishes between those who are likely to remain committed as well as those who might leave the priesthood. The results of his research are presented without bias or prejudice, and he makes no pronouncements. He simply presents the facts, and allows others to make interpretations and offer commentaries. Hopefully, this book will be read with great care by those in leadership positions including: bishops and personnel directors; seminary rectors and formational personnel; and certainly
This is an important study and should be read by all those involved in priestly formation, as well as those working with the newly ordained in parishes and other settings. Priesthood never was an easy vocation, but based on what is contained in this volume, it is getting to be more of a challenge than ever before. It will take a cooperative effort of both clergy and laity if it is to survive within the present context of limited numbers and increasing demand.
Tom Sweetser, SJ, Parish Evaluation Project
The First Five Years of the Priesthood is a scholarly and informative survey of social science research pertaining to issues in this critical period of a priest's life: attitudes of new priests, what promotes satisfaction for newly ordained priests, types of resigned priests, and life experiences of both active and resigned priests. In the midst of the current controversy surrounding priesthood, the book provides an important scientific study of what factors most influence both success and recidivism in the priestly life.
The Catholic Journalist