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Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti to Publish Study of Psychological and Spiritual Health of American Priests

January 17, 2011

[photo courtesy of Msgr. Stephen Rossetti. Rossetti (left) pictured with the late Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J.]

Ave Maria Press is pleased to announce the acquisition of Why Priests Are Happy: A Study of the Psychological and Spiritual Health of Priests by renowned psychologist Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti. Now slated to release in October of 2011, this groundbreaking, peer-reviewed study undermines popular notions that Catholic priests are depressed and unhappy in their vocations.

Rossetti examines many issues, comparing priests to the general male population with respect to human intimacy, sexual difficulties, burnout, psychological problems, physical health and self-care. He identifies the factors that contribute to happiness among priests as well as those that lead a priest to consider leaving the priesthood. He also looks closely at the contribution of spirituality to psychological health, examining thirteen elements of priestly spirituality. What surfaces is a very human portrait of some very human men who are imbued with a spirituality that has a direct and profound effect on their lives. Priests are clearly, and really not surprisingly, normal men. And contrary to the image portrayed in the media, 92% say they are happy in the ministry.

Rossetti is a sought-after expert on Catholic clergy and religious and is frequently interviewed by the New York Times and NPR, particularly in connection with the sexual abuse crisis in America. He served as president and CEO of Saint Luke Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland from 1997 until October of 2009, and for three years prior to that as a staff member. A priest of the Diocese of Syracuse, he also served in two diocesan parishes. Rossetti currently serves as Clinical Associate Professor of Pastoral Studies at the Catholic University of America.

About Stephen J. Rossetti

Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti, a priest of the Diocese of Syracuse, is an expert on priestly spirituality and wellness issues. He is a Catholic speaker, educator, psychologist, and retreat leader. He served for many years at Saint Luke Institute in Maryland, rising to president and CEO. A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Rossetti earned a doctorate in psychology from Boston College and a doctor of ministry from the Catholic University of America. Rossetti is the author or editor of ten books, including Born of the Eucharist, Letters to My Brothers, and The Joy of Priesthood—the recipient of a Catholic Press Association book award. He serves as research associate professor of pastoral studies at the Catholic University and a visiting professor at Gregorian University in Rome.

Rossetti received a Proclaim Award from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as well as a Lifetime Service Award from the Theological College of the Catholic University of America. In 2010, he received the Touchstone Award from the National Federation of Priests’ Councils for a lifetime of work with priests. In 2013, Rossetti received the Pope John Paul II Seminary Leadership Award from National Catholic Educational Association for distinguished service in priestly formation and was awarded a doctor of divinity degree, honoris causa, from St. Mary’s Seminary and University.

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