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IPF Publications

All of our publications are available for purchase through Cedar House, our publications distributor.  E-books are also available through Amazon.

Veritatis Splendor Thirty Years Later: Pastoral Insights

Edited By Deacon James Keating

In this collection of essays written about Saint Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, leading seminary professors reflect upon the nature of what moral goodness is in relation to pastoral formation and leadership. The content of the book celebrates the encyclical’s thirtieth anniversary by highlighting the topics of the formation of conscience, the reality of objective morality, the necessity of pastoral accompaniment, and the controversial existence of intrinsic evils. The book will aid seminary professors and seminarians in their moral formation and will aid pastors as they guide the consciences of their parishioners.



Relational Prayer: A Small Group Guide

By Jennifer Moser and Jessica Kary, A.O.

Relational Prayer: A Small Group Guide is a book that offers a way to start or move forward in having a closer, more personal encounter with God in prayer. The book offers both key teaching points and a plan to put into practice what we learn by praying. It is divided into six sessions, each offering clear and simple teaching, a guided prayer experience, suggestions for prayer in the coming week, and thoughtful questions for discussion.



Lectio Divina: Assimilating the Holy Word in Seminary Formation

Edited By Deacon James Keating

This book examines how the ancient practice of lectio divina can and should be a vital part of seminary formation. Those who are studying to be priests will form a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God through a commitment to such prayer. This way of prayerfully reading the Bible has been endorsed by the US Bishops in their documents on priestly formation and by papal writings.



The More Discerning Priest: Mature Discernment in Diocesan Priesthood

By Fr. Timothy Gallagher, O.M.V.

In their life and ministry, priests must not only resist the discouragement of desolation but also an energy, a consolation that may draw them toward a good thing— but not one that God desires for them. In eight clear and practical rules, Saint Ignatius of Loyola provides a roadmap through such sensitive discernments. In this book, the first of its kind, Father Gallagher applies these eight rules specifically to the priestly vocation. This short, easily read, and profound book will provide light and guidance to any priest who reads it.



Distributed Like Bread: Hans Urs von Balthasar Speaks to Seminarians

By Jonathan Martin Ciraulo

This book examines the life and writings of the theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar as they relate to priesthood. For Balthasar, a priest should make himself unreservedly available to be put in the service of God. The priest should aspire to be as common and as humble as bread, which is available to be blessed, broken, and distributed. Yet, through that availability, the bread, as well as the priest, becomes the hidden matter in which God Himself becomes present to the world and the world becomes present to God.



As a Priest Thinks, So He Is: The Role of Philosophy in Seminary Formation

By Dr. Beth Rath McGough and Dr. Patricia Pintado-Murphy

As a Priest Thinks, So He Is is a collection of essays that address the importance of the study of philosophy for seminarians. The essays help us understand how thinking philosophically, an intellectual pursuit, enriches the human, pastoral, and spiritual dimensions of priestly formation.



Theology as Prayer: A Primer for the Diocesan Priest

By Msgr. Walter Oxley and Fr. John Cush

Theology as Prayer: A Primer for the Diocesan Priest describes how theology can be integrated in prayer and holiness of life. Msgr. Oxley and Fr. Cush encourage the necessity of the intellectual life for priests and seminarians by providing examples of theological works from various theologians along with relevant meditations on these writings in order to deepen the connection between prayer and intellect.



To A Younger Brother

By Fr. Eric Gilhooly, LC

Fr. Eric Gilhooly, LC has written To a Younger Brother as a very practical and encouraging book for seminarians. The book uses contemporary book, movie, and song examples to offer insightful and realistic advice for those studying for the priesthood.




Make Your Home in Me: Reflections on Prayer

By Fr. Éamonn Bourke

Father Bourke’s book takes the sometimes elusive process of prayer and presents it in easily accessible terms. Because of this gift for clarity in the author, this book makes prayer inviting and attractive. Each chapter provides insight into creating a closer relationship with God and ends with some thought-provoking questions and a simple prayer.



A Positive and Stable Masculine Identity: Directions in the Formation of Seminarians

Edited By Deacon James Keating

The general understanding of what it means to be male and female is in flux in both academia and in contemporary Western culture. If seminary formators want candidates for the priesthood to have a “positive and stable sense” of their own “masculine identity,” they have work to do in interpreting what genuine masculinity is and then applying that interpretation to clerical formation. Any sound interpretation of masculinity will include an understanding of it as both a gift and a task. It is a gift of being an embodied person in communion with others, but it also a task to love appropriately in the context of these roles. The goal of this book is to facilitate a conversation among seminary staff on the true nature of a masculine priest.



Being Formed by the Heart of the Father: Saint Matthew Speaks to Seminarians

By Dr. Steven Smith

In his book, Being Formed by the Heart of the Father: Saint Matthew Speaks to Seminarians, Dr. Steven Smith examines the areas of priestly formation (human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral) and illustrates how the life and teachings of Christ apply to each of them. Seminarians and their formators will find this book both helpful and inspirational.



The Discerning Priest: Ignatian Wisdom for Daily Life in Priesthood

By Fr. Timothy Gallagher, O.M.V.

This book applies St. Ignatius of Loyola’s classic fourteen rules for discernment to the daily life of the diocesan priest. It describes those alternations of spiritual energy and spiritual discouragement that every priest experiences and supplies spiritual tools for responding to them. Chapter by chapter, the reader follows the story of “Father Tom” — a parish priest who stands for every priest in active ministry — and through his experiences, perceives how St. Ignatius’s rules apply to his own daily life. Above all, the reader will find in these rules a proven path to freedom from discouragement and into the joy of his priestly vocation.



A True and Mature Obedience: Seminary Formation and Freedom

Edited By Deacon James Keating

The real fruitfulness in priestly ministry comes not from the effectiveness of a priest’s ministry and influence but through the Cross, the same way it did for Christ. And the Cross is the symbol of ministerial obedience. It is obedience that allows a priest’s ministry to be God’s ministry and not his own. The mystery of this obedience is explored in these essays, a mystery that first must be appropriated in clerical formation and then guarded throughout ordained life.



A Living Image of The Bridegroom: The Priesthood and the Evangelical Counsels

By Bishop Andrew Cozzens

This book aims to study and explain the fundamental insights of Saint John Paul II—that the priest is called to be a living image of Jesus Christ, the Bridegroom of the Church. The book studies the nuptial image in the whole Tradition, starting with the Scriptures and paying special attention to the Fathers of the Church. In this book, one can see the nuptial nature of the Sacrament of Holy Orders and come to understand how the image of Christ the Bridegroom inspires the priest to total self-gift.



Priest as Prophet: Priestly Participation in the Prophetic Ministry of Jesus

By Dr. Ralph Martin

The priest’s sharing in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly ministry of Jesus is well known, but more attention needs to be paid to the full meaning of Jesus’ prophetic ministry in order to respond effectively to the challenges the Church is facing today, both in its engagement with the culture and in the challenges of internal purification.



Seeking God: An Invitation to Women

By Dr. Mary McCaughey

This short book is an invitation to women to open and trust the Lord as their beloved spouse ,who calls them to trust Him and enter total intimacy with Him, to give Him everything that surfaces in prayer and in life. It is a call of love that invites us to abandon ourselves to the heart of Jesus and to allow this relationship of love to deepen and grow as we listen to Him calling us in the depths of our heart.



Being Formed in Loving Sacrifice: Saint Paul Speaks to Seminarians

By Fr. Thomas D. Stegman, S.J.

In his book Being Formed in Loving Sacrifice: Saint Paul Speaks to Seminarians, Father Thomas D. Stegman, S.J. examines the areas of priestly formation (human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral) and illustrates how St. Paul, in his life and writings, represents each of these areas. Seminarians and their formators will find this book both helpful and inspirational.



Priestly Formation & Integrative Healing

Edited By Deacon James Keating

The formation of a seminarian is a journey to the priesthood that involves the healing of anything that impedes his becoming a bridge between the Church and Christ. Such healing is necessary so that this future priest can effectively minister to God’s people. This healing, that is formation, is directed not toward emotional or psychological pathology but toward the normal cascade of moral and situational pain that holds many men captive. In the best of seminaries, the four integrated dimensions of formation —human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral —conspire to set these men free. This book sets out to explore this kind of healing.



The Priests We Need: A Rector Speaks to His Seminarians

By Msgr. David L. Toups

Monsignor David L. Toups’s newest book, The Priests We Need: A Rector Speaks to His Seminarians, is a selection of presentations that Monsignor Toups has given to his seminarians over the course of his tenure as the Rector of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary. This book is about the hope, transparency, integration, freedom, spirituality, and selflessness necessary for a man who is called to the very real and demanding life of priesthood.



Shepherding the Family of God: The Spirituality of Diocesan Priests in St. John of Avila

By Fr. Gustavo Castillo

This is an important book, and it comes at a crucial moment when there is growing awareness that we are living in a time of reform and renewal in the Catholic Church. The troubles of the Church in our times are not unique. In fact, we see striking similarities between our times and those of St. John of Avila in pre-Reformation Europe. What Pope Francis has said about our times also applies to St. John's times: "We are not living in an era of change but a change of era." As in John's time, the Church carries out her mission today in an emerging global society marked by rapid and profound changes -- technological, economic, political, and cultural. These changes challenge the Church's moral authority and institutional structures and call into question her truth claims in a secularizing society. In every period of the Church's history, the key to her reform and renewal is the reform and renewal of the priesthood.



Abiding in Christ: Staying with God in a Busy World

By Deacon James Keating

Deacon James Keating’s book Abiding in Christ: Staying with God in a Busy World is a how-to-pray resource. This book helps readers to find a quiet space wherein they can be present to God and offers suggestions of how they can be more open to God’s movement within them.



Culture, Contemplation, and Seminary Formation

Edited by Deacon James Keating

Culture, Contemplation, and Seminary Formation is a collection of essays inviting seminary theologians to think more deeply about and, perhaps, even to reconceive the way in which they understand the intellectual formation of seminarians and the way that intellectual formation relates to the other dimensions of priestly formation.



The Priest's Communion with Christ: Dispelling Functionalism

By Fr. Eugene Florea

Many diocesan priests today feel overworked, under-appreciated, and lonely. The problem is a crisis in priestly identity that is rooted in a functional approach to the priesthood, wherein the emphasis lies on "doing" rather than on "being." This "functionalism," describes an approach to life in which a priest derives his identity from his activity, his work, his success, his fidelity to his duties, and other such externally based things. The antidote to functionalism is for the priest to place communion with Christ at the very center of his existence. When the priest is properly grounded in his identity, he will have a clearer sense of mission and a more fruitful ministry. Fr. Eugene Florea explores how priests can move from functionalism to being rooted in communion with Christ.



The Hidden Self Grown Strong

By Fr. George Aschenbrenner, S.J.

The Hidden Self Grown Strong is a series of essays by Fr. George Aschenbrenner, S.J., one of the founders of The Institute for Priestly Formation. He explores topics on the interior life and prayer, the importance of the Examen, and ministry/priesthood. It features 13 essays including, "Becoming Whom We Contemplate," "Comparison and Competition: Stifling Spiritual Intimacy," "A Check on Our Availability: The Examen," and "Abandonment That Enlivens and Sets Fire for Mission."



Wonder and the Prayerful Study of Theology: A Meditation for Seminarians

By Dr. John Gresham and Dr. Thomas Neal

It is our hope that these two inspiring essays will be a gift to seminarians to be read with each new academic year. The authors, two seasoned seminary theologians, and academic deans encourage the hearts of seminarians to anchor their study in the Spirit, in wonder, and in the living truths that theology endeavors to prayerfully and rigorously explore.




Saints and Priestly Formation

Edited By Deacon James Keating

This book is a collection of essays presented at a seminar held at Creighton University by The Institute for Priestly Formation. Each essay focuses on a saint and examines how that saint’s life and works have relevance to the formation of priests and their ministry. Some of the saints whose lives are examined in this book include St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, St. John of the Cross, St. Robert Southwell, S.J., Pope St. Pius X, and St. Ignatius of Antioch.



Liturgy and Priestly Formation: Sharing the Life of Christ

Edited By Deacon James Keating

This book is a collection of essays presented at a seminar held at Creighton University by The Institute for Priestly Formation. All of the essays were written in response to David Fagerberg’s book On Liturgical Asceticism and focused on various issues facing clerics in formation. The essays explore how liturgy renders Christ’s sacrifice available for our own deification, allowing seminarians to reflect more deeply on their noble task of bringing this mystery to the people in Sacrament, word, and charity.



The Pastor at Prayer

By Fr. Paul Turner

In this brief book, Father Turner discusses the many facets of a pastor’s prayer life, ranging from his daily prayer to his celebrating Mass and administering the Sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, and Anointing of the Sick. Father Turner recognizes the challenges that pastors face as they attempt to keep prayer at the center of their busy lives. He gives helpful advice about how to pray, what to pray, where to pray, when to pray, and why to pray. The book concludes with a set of reflection questions that are meant to deepen the pastor’s prayer life and enhance his experiences of spiritual direction.


Homilies at a First Mass: Joseph Ratzinger's Gift to Priests

Edited by Fr. Emery de Gaál

This book is a collection of homilies delivered by Joseph Ratzinger at the First Masses of newly ordained priests, and on other occasions, during various times in the twentieth century. These homilies are filled with an understanding of priesthood and ecclesial ministry that invites priests to abide in Christ, listen to Him, and draw their identity and mission from Christ’s own shared priesthood.



Christ as the Foundation of Seminary Formation

Edited by Deacon James Keating, Ph.D.

Summary: Christ as the Foundation of Seminary Formation is a compilation of essays that address the integration of human formation in seminarians with their spiritual development. Seminaries are communities that reveal Christ to the seminarians and in so doing facilitate the seminarians spiritual and human maturation. These essays carry practical import for all who minister to seminarians. Within them is found methods for mentoring seminarians into true men of communion, men who have matured in affect and prayer by clinging to Christ and entering deeply into the way of formation each seminary offers. To be a good priest, a man must be emotionally mature and spiritually alive. The experts writing in this book will assist in facilitating this goal.


The Priest and Theological Study

Edited by Deacon James Keating, Ph.D.

Summary: A compilation of essays addressing how the study of theology can more deeply secure the diocesan priestly identity - The Priest and Theological Study is an essential exploration for anyone involved in forming clergy. It is a great resource for seminarians and priests who wish to study theology as a life-long pursuit of truth and knowledge.




The Priest as Beloved Son

Edited by Deacon James Keating, Ph.D.

Summary: The Priest as Beloved Son is a compilation of essays that were written to expound upon one of the five priestly identities, that of Beloved Son. Edited by Deacon James Keating, Ph. D., these essays explore such areas as the Scriptural foundations for the identity of Beloved Son, as well as discussions of affective maturity of priests as sons of God. Together, the essays provide descriptions and details of how a priest truly is a beloved son of God and how he can effectively live out that role as he fulfills his vocation to the priesthood.


Entering into the Mind of Christ: The True Nature of Theology

Edited by Deacon James Keating, Ph.D.

Summary: Entering into the Mind of Christ: The True Nature of Theology is a compilation of essays that were written to address the question: “How does spirituality supply theological study with the correct method?” Edited by Deacon James Keating, Ph. D., these essays affirm the fact that the study of theology necessarily involves spirituality.

The essays explore the definitions of “theology” and “spirituality,” recognizing that the two concepts are often defined incompletely. Furthermore, the role of faith, as well as the importance of dialogue, in the understanding and practice of theology is presented.


Seminary Theology III: Seminary Formation and Psychology

Edited by Deacon James Keating, Ph.D.

Summary: A compilation of essays submitted for a theological seminar focusing on "Priestly Identity and Its Relationship to Human Maturation and Theological Teaching."

Seminar participants were asked to reflect upon the role of the psychological sciences as they interpenetrate with theology to bring forth within priestly formation men of affective maturity.


Seminary Formation and Homosexuality

By Father Earl K. Fernandes, S.T.D.

Summary: This book examines comments by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in Light of the World regarding the recent Vatican instruction “Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with Regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in View of Their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders,” which deals with homosexuality and the priesthood.

This book demonstrates that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI's comments on this issue have been consistent both within his pontificate and while he held office at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As sexual mores have changed in the culture, attempting to 'normalize' homosexuality, the Church has developed guidelines for seminary formators, culminating in the instruction upon which Benedict commented.


Healing Prayer

By Father John Horn, S.J.

Summary: Healing Prayer is a necessary aid to all who guide others into a life of prayer. It is especially meant for spiritual directors and pastors. Several chapters of the book contain interviews with people from various walks of life who share their experiences of praying through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.


Spousal Prayer: A Way to Marital Happiness

By Deacon James Keating, Ph.D.

Summary: Deacon Keating's book affirms that the sharing of hearts is a necessary commitment in both marriage and prayer. The mingling of the love of spouse, with and in the love of God, is and has always been the foundation for a life of peace, creativity, vibrancy and sanctity. In fact, we cannot even understand what marriage is unless we look at how Christ loved His Bride, the Church, till the end (Jn 13:1).

Spousal Prayer is also available in Spanish.


The Parish as a School of Prayer: Foundations for the New Evangelization

By Father Scott Traynor, JCL

Summary: This book recognizes St. John Paul II's urging for priests to tranform their parishes into powerhouses of prayer. The priest must become a Christian witness of prayer. He should not draw attention to himself but to the utter necessity, goodness, and beauty of deepening intimacy with God in prayer. In calling the parish to the life of prayer, the priest is uniting himself with God's own loving initiative.


WRAP Yourself in Scripture

By Karen Dwyer, Ph.D. & Lawrence A. Dwyer

Summary: This book is designed to help you converse with your Heavenly Father by learning a Scripture study method called WRAP, which is an acronym that stands for Write, Reflect, Apply, and Pray. The goal of WRAP is to foster a personal encounter and conversation with Jesus Christ through the Scriptures. The book contains instructions about how to use this Scripture study method, as well as a WRAP worksheet and suggested Scripture passages to use for reflection.


The Seminary Rector - Forming Priests in Nazareth

By Msgr. Gregory Schlesselmann, S.T.L.

Summary: This book addresses the specific needs of a rector as he pastors his seminary flock. The book is divided into chapters which address the rector's role as it relates to the five identities of the priest, discussed in Blessed John Paul II's Pastores Dabo Vobis and the writings of St. Paul: Beloved Son, Loyal Brother, Chaste Spouse, Loving Father, and Good Shepherd. Each chapter contains Scriptural text, discussion of the chapter's theme, and reflection questions. The basic premise of the book is that Nazareth, the place where Jesus spent His seminal years with Joseph and Mary, was the first seminary, for it was there that Jesus' formation took place.

Only Available as an E-book.


Seminary Theology II: Theology and Spiritual Direction in Dialogue

Edited by Deacon James Keating, Ph.D.

Summary: In this volume, several seminary theologians explore the relationship between teaching theology and the essential ministry of spiritual direction as it is practiced in the seminary. These essays deepen the conversation that was begun in the first volume of this series, Seminary Theology: Teaching in a Contemplative Way. In 2006, the U.S. Bishops invited seminary personnel to consider how they can establish spirituality as the heart of teaching theology in seminary formation.


Spiritual Fathers: A Workbook for Priests and Dads

By Deacon James Keating, Ph.D.

Summary: Together the father and the priest can meet a need in the family and Church today: presenting the spiritual life as a journey to personal happiness. The lack of masculine role modeling in the spiritual life results in boys being ignorant of the true nature and adventure of entering the spiritual life. The best people to introduce this adventure to the boy are his spiritual fathers, the men who already have explored and now enjoy the spiritual life: his dad and his pastor.


Seminary Theology: Teaching in a Contemplative Way

Edited by Deacon James Keating, Ph.D.

"Addressing the pedagogical vocation of the seminary theologian, this fine set of essays draws out the integral relationship between the theological instruction and spiritual formation. It challenges seminary faculty to ask themselves the difficult question: Does my teaching facilitate a deeper love for Christ and commitment to God's will? The essays derserve seious consideration by all who are involved in academic formation at a Catholic seminary." - E. Christian Brugger, D.Phil.
Associate Professor of Moral Theology at Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary


Heart Speaks to Heart

By Father John Horn, S.J.

Summary: This workbook invites readers into the depths of their history, thoughts, and feelings, so that they can be led into prayerful communion with Christ. Through the tools found in this workbook, all believers will find the truth about themselves and their calling to give all and surrender to Christ who desires only the happiness of His followers.


Be Thou My Vision

By Bishop David L. Ricken, D.D., J.C.L.

Summary: This book will deepen a priest's love of his own vocation. In a series of meditations, Bishop Ricken invites the reader not only into a clearer image of priesthood but into a deeper perception of how these images open the mind to healing and prayer. Priests will benefit from prayerfully spending time with these spiritual and practical insights on priestly commitment, prayer and parish life.


Radical Surrender: Letters to Seminarians

By Father Michael J. Najim

Summary: Radical Surrender: Letters to Seminarians will assist vocation directors and seminary formators in helping seminarians recognize the true voice of God and rightfully discern their vocation. Seminary formation must be interiorly appropriated; in other words, formation will be fruitful only if the seminarian allows Christ to transform his heart. This book is a resource for all interested in the spiritual and human formation of the next generation of priests.


Resting on the Heart of Christ: The Vocation and Spirituality of the Seminary Theologian

By Deacon James Keating, Ph.D.

Summary: For seminarians spiritual growth has been hallowed in study, but it can also be developed in the practices of attending to theological content. They want to encounter God in study to draw their parishioners into His Truth which is love. But: How can we serve this longing while also calling seminarians into the ascetics of study? This book answers this question by integrating theological research with the rich intellectual tradition of the Church and the wisdom of the saints.


Reclaiming Our Priestly Character (Revised Edition)

By Msgr. David L. Toups. S.T.D.

Summary: Reclaiming Our Priestly Character offers a review of the present crisis surrounding priestly identity through careful theological scholarship and a wise and practical spirituality, providing a clear path toward the renewal of the priestly character. An essential guide for every priest and seminarian.