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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 a licensed psychologist with a doctorate in psychology from Boston College and a doctor of ministry from the Catholic University of America. He is the author of scores of articles and several books including Why Priests are Happy, Born of the Eucharist, and The Joy of Priesthood—recipient of a Catholic Press Association book award. Rossetti has been featured on NPR and Meet the Press, and has been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, and other major newspapers.

Rossetti has received a Proclaim Award from the USCCB as well as a Lifetime Service Award from the Theological College of the Catholic University of America. In 2013, he was awarded the Pope John Paul II Seminary Leadership award from the National Catholic Educational Association. In 2010, he received the Touchstone Award from the National Federation of Priests’ Councils for a lifetime of work with priests. He lectures to priests and religious internationally on priestly spirituality and wellness issues and serves as president of Saint Luke Institute and clinical associate professor of pastoral studies at the Catholic University of America.

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