Priests are called to be worthy spiritual fathers to the souls entrusted to their care. Years of seminary formation ideally forge them into faithful, generous, healthy priests, ready to serve the needs of the Church. But priests are not immune to the busyness, pressures, and distractions of a life of ministry. Over time, the lessons from their formation can fade into the background.
Forming Fathers: Seminary Wisdom for Every Priest seeks to remind priests of the lessons so greatly needed to fulfill their calling faithfully. Originally delivered by Fr. Carter Griffin as talks to seminarians, this series of short, inspiring vignettes can help rekindle a priest’s first love and awaken the aspirations that brought him into the seminary in the first place. Much of what is contained in these pages is also applicable to Catholic laymen, themselves called to the virtues of Christian manhood, the responsibilities of discipleship, and the dignity of spiritual fatherhood.
Fr. Griffin covers such central topics as the life of prayer, offering Holy Mass well, the importance of priestly friendships, and the need for fortitude. He addresses challenging issues, such as chaste celibacy, loving the Church, and living material simplicity, with simple truth. Priests may benefit most, however, from some of the themes that might have been overlooked in their seminary days: the importance of courtesy, the vital role of order and daily exposure to beauty, the virtue of magnanimity and its impact on priestly happiness, and exercising priestly leadership.
Father Carter Griffin is a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington. A graduate of Princeton University and a former line officer in the United States Navy, he obtained his doctorate in theology from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. After serving at St. Peter’s parish on Capitol Hill, in 2011 he was assigned to the newly-established St. John Paul II Seminary in Washington, DC, where he now serves as Rector. He is the author of Why Celibacy?: Reclaiming the Fatherhood of the Priest and Cross-Examined: Catholic Responses to the World’s Questions, published by Emmaus Road Publishing.
Most Rev. James F. Checchio
Bishop of Metuchen Former Rector, Pontifical North American College
Most Rev. Andrew Cozzens
Bishop of Crookston President, Seminary Formation Council
Fr. Paul Scalia
Episcopal Vicar for Clergy, Diocese of Arlington
Sr. Mary Patrice Ahearn, RSM, PsyD
Training Director of the IPS Center Assistant Professor, Divine Mercy University
Fr. Thomas Berg, PhD
Professor of Moral Theology and Director of Seminarian Admission St. Joseph’s Seminary (Dunwoodie)
Dcn. James Keating, PhD
Professor of Spiritual Theology, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, St. Louis Author of Configured to Christ: On Spiritual Direction and Clergy Formation
Susan M. Timoney, STD
Associate Professor of Practice, Pastoral Studies The Catholic University of America
Fr. Brett Brannen
Director of Spiritual Formation, Pontifical College Josephinum Author of To Save a Thousand Souls