Book Review: A Priest Forever

Norbertine Fr. Alfred McBride has written an encouraging book for the priests of today who are overworked, getting older and fewer in numbers. In A Priest Forever:  nine signs of renewal and hope ( St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2010.  117 pages.  Paperback.   $12.95.), Fr. McBride encourages priests to be renewed and he provides this book as a source of recommendation on how this renewal can be accomplished.

This book would be good for priest support groups, a priest alone, or to read by others who support priests in their ministry.  He encourages priests to be more attentive and aware of what they do when celebrating the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.  He reminds them to take some time every day in prayer.  Although they should remember social justice in their ministry, it should not be the center of their ministry; that place belongs to Christ.  He encourages priests to mix Catholic social teachings with what they say and do.  He reminds priests — and all Catholics — what the identity of the priest is, that he is set apart from amongst God’s people in a special sacramental way.  A priests should not be ashamed to be identified as a priest.  This book offers encouragement and practical aids on how priests can improve  their preaching and how devotion to the Mother of God can be of great help to priests in the fulfillment of their ministry.  He also discusses the vow of chastity which is under attack again in the media.  He ends the book with a positive, noting that the priesthood is being renewed and that gradually more young men are answering the call of Jesus to the priesthood.

Fr. McBride’s book can be used in a group study setting, a retreat, or profitably read alone.  He uses quotes from various saints, popes and ordinary priests and people.  He tells stories which help to emphasize the points he is making in each chapter.  For further reflection he provides questions at the end of each chapter.  Since it is not overly deep or academic, the book can be quickly read, but and probably the best way to appreciate it is at a slow reflective, meditative pace.

Fr. Alfred McBride, O.Praem., holds a diploma in catechetics from Lumen Vitae, Brussels, Belgium, and a doctorate in religious education from the Catholic University of America.  He has written many books.  The timing of this book is good due to the re-stirring of the sexual abuse scandals and the media attacking the priesthood and the Church.  This book is highly recommended for priests, bishops, and for anyone who supports priests in their ministry.  This book is a great encouragement to priests!

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