ASK FATHER: Book recommendations for young men discerning priesthood

From a reader…


In reference to one of your latest posts, do you have any solid book recommendations for young men discerning priesthood. A lot of the stuff usually recommended is emotionally based and does little in the way of sacerdotal theology.

This is interesting.  I had this same question this morning in the sacristy after Mass!   I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to receive such a question.

Immediately there comes to mind…

(This book is good for a range of ages.)


For someone maybe a little older…



I would be delighted to receive – FROM PRIESTS – other suggestions.  Please, Fathers, send them in.

The moderation queue is on.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. frsbr says:

    To Save a Thousand Souls by Fr Bannon


  2. frpatrickop says:

    Fr. Reginald Garrison-Lagrange: “The Priest in Union with Christ.”


  3. hwriggles4 says:

    I highly recommend for boys 14 and over (and young adult men 18 to 35) the book No Turning Back by Father Donald Calloway. I read it myself about five or six years ago. As a man who grew up in the same generation as Father Calloway, I could relate to it very well.

    I also recommend The Grunt Padre by Father Daniel Mode (CDR, CHC, USNR).

  4. hwriggles4 says:

    There is an older book (about 60 years old) titled A Vessel of Clay by Leo Trese. I may have spelled it wrong, and about ten years ago I read parts of it. My recollection is it has more theology. Abebooks would be a good place to find it.

  5. Boniface says:

    The above-listed are superb recommendations. Let me add:
    The Shadow of His Wings by Goldman
    Biography of The Cure of Ads (St. John Vianney) by Abbé Trochu
    Priests for the Third Millennium by Timothy Dolan
    Death Comes for the Archbishop (a novel) by Willa Cather
    Any of the books of Fr. Walter Ciszek, SJ
    Treasure in Clay by Fulton Sheen

  6. kiwiinamerica says:

    “The Priest, The Man of God” by St. Jospeh Cafasso.

    Available from Amazon HERE

  7. Poustinik1 says:

    When God Asks You For An Undivided Heart by Fr. Andrew Apostoli—-excellent for anyone discerning the call to lifelong celibacy. It is beautifully yet pragmatically written.

  8. hwriggles4 says:

    A Clay of Vessel by Father Leo John Trese. It was written in 1950. I tried to copy the image from Amazon, but I was unable to do so.

  9. Cincinnati Priest says:

    About Being a Priest, Federico Suarez.
    Available on Amazon through 3rd party sellers.

  10. Fr.Tony says:

    Three from the realm of fiction.

    The Diary of a Country Priest by Bernarnos

    Death Comes for the Archbishop by Cather

    The Power and the Glory by Greene

    The Bernarnos really understands and displays the profound loneliness and solitude a priest can experience when he is offering what the parishioners may need but may not want

    Though Cather is not Catholic she captures the priest’s authentic need for holy and intimate friendships rooted in Christ.

    Greene offers a priest that would prefer to feed his own passions and has. The unnamed priest would rather leave all behind and save his skin, but the needs of the flock keep calling him back even when it results in his own death.

    My 3 cents anyways.

  11. ajurban says:

    A Priest Forever by Fr. Benedict Groeschel CFR.
    Generations of Priests by Thomas J McGovern
    Letters to Priests, St. John Paul II
    Letters to My Brothers, Msgr. Stephen Rossetti
    Strengthen your Brothers, Archbishop Sartain

  12. Pingback: TUESDAY EDITION | Big Pulpit

  13. Fr. Reader says:

    Oh, books, books! Wonderful books!

Comments are closed.