Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Institute for Priestly Formation Celebrates 'Year for Priests' with New Resources

The Institute for Priestly Formation Celebrates 'Year for Priests' with New Resources

IPF Publications Assists Priests and Seminarians in Spiritual Growth

OMAHA, Neb., July 7 /Christian Newswire/ -- The "Year for Priests," announced by Pope Benedict XVI, began on June 19, 2009. The pope said this special year is intended to "encourage priests in striving for spiritual perfection" and he encouraged priests to be "men of intense prayer who cultivate a communion of love and life with the Lord." Benedict also talked about the importance of proper formation of candidates to the priesthood, saying "the work of forming priests is a delicate mission." The Holy Father explained that formation must promote "human maturity, spiritual qualities, apostolic zeal and intellectual rigor."

The Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF), located at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, is answering the Pope's plea to teach these virtues and strengthen the spiritual life of priests and seminarians. IPF has dutifully prepared for the celebration of the Year for Priests and IPF Publications, the publishing arm of the Institute, is providing a variety of resources and programs to assist in this formation process.

Father David Toups, the Interim Director of the Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations for the USCCB, wrote the first in a series of books published by IPF Publications. "Reclaiming Our Priestly Character serves as a source of renewal for the priesthood," says Toups. "By renewing our understanding of the priestly character, we are not saying we are better than the lay faithful, but we are different by virtue of ordination."

Fr. Michael Najim, Vocation Director for the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, offers a resource for seminarians called Radical Surrender: Letters to Seminarians. "While writing this book, I had one simple goal: to inspire seminarians to enter deeply into a personal bond with Jesus Christ so that Christ can interiorly transform them," reflected Najim. "Young men preparing for the priesthood can prayerfully read the letters and then reflect on how the Lord is speaking to their hearts."

Deacon James Keating, Director of Theological Formation at IPF, provides a resource for theologians who teach at seminaries. "Resting on the Heart of Christ offers a vision of theological formation that takes seriously the goal of holiness," said Dr. William Mattison of Catholic University of America. Having taught in seminaries himself, Keating knows the importance of spiritual growth through prayer. Resting on the Heart of Christ integrates the best of theological research with the rich intellectual tradition of the Church and the wisdom of the saints, ensuring conversion of both mind and heart.

An additional resource, Be Thou My Vision: Mediations on the Priesthood, by Bishop David Ricken, Bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay, is scheduled for publication later this year.

IFP was founded to assist bishops in the spiritual formation of diocesan seminarians and priests as well as those who are responsible for diocesan priestly formation.

For more information about The Institute for Priestly Formation or to schedule an interview, please contact Christine Schicker with the Maximus Group at 404- 610-8871.

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