success stories

The First Five Years of the Priesthood: A Study of Newly Ordained Catholic Priests
Author: Dean R. Hoge
The Liturgical Press, St. Johnís Abbey, Collegeville, MN, pp. 194, 2002

Excerpt from Jacket: Reports indicate that many newly ordained men were feeling demoralized and some were resigning. The accounts raised many questions. How widespread is the problem? What difficulties are the recently ordained priests facing? Is the problem due to changes in lay attitudes or to changes in the ordained themselves? Is the situation different from what it was ten or twenty years ago?

The First Five Years of the Priesthood is a collaborative work of the National Federation of Priestsí Councils and the Life Cycle Institute of the Catholic University of America that considers this phenomenon. It explores the experience of early priesthood and is based on a pilot survey of two groups ó recently ordained priests active in service and those who have resigned.

The research team minimized interpretative work on the findings and engaged credible voices in American Catholic life to write commentaries on the implications of the findings. The First Five Years of the Priesthood includes both the research findings and commentaries.

The Table of Contents:

1. The setting of the priesthood today

2. Attitudes of newly ordained active and resigned priests

3. What makes for satisfied newly ordained priests?

4. Four types of resigned priests

5. Life experience of newly ordained active and resigned priests

6. Recommendations made by the priests

Commentaries by:

Rev. George Crespin

Rev. Thomas Curry

Rev. James Gill, SJ, M..D.

Ms. Marti Jewell

Rev. Stephen Rossetti

Sr. Katarina Schuth, OSF

Br. Loughlin Sofield, ST

Excerpt from contents:

An incomplete but length list of priestsí often unmet celibacy-related needs (as inferred from the study) includes the following:

-- sense of belonging

-- to love and feel loved

-- esteem and approval

-- sense of sexual identity

-- need to feel needed

-- challenge to mature

-- someone to live for

-- constructive feedback

-- intimacy (profoundly shared experiences and feelings)

-- a deeply shared common mission

-- joy and playfulness

-- generativity

-- variety and balance in activities

-- time for pleasure

-- comforting compassion

-- dependable moral support