Why Priests Are Happy

Why Priests Are Happy


Author: Stephen J Rossetti
Publisher: Ave Maria
ISBN: 9781594712746
Format: Paperback
Page Count:
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In his groundbreaking Why Priests Are Happy: A Study of the Psychological and Spiritual Health of Priests, Msgr Stephen J Rossetti presents the findings from the most comprehensive survey of priests’ happiness and spiritual lives ever undertaken. From this survey of nearly 2,500 priests from twenty-three dioceses in the United States, Rossetti discovered that American priests enjoy an extraordinarily high rate of happiness and satisfaction, among the highest of any profession.

Contrary to popular media portrayals, Rossetti finds that priests, as a group, are very happy men. They like the priesthood and are committed to it. In fact, 92 percent say they are happy in their ministry, among the highest rate of satisfaction of any profession in the United States. This accessible, fascinating study compares priests to the general male population with respect to human intimacy, sexual difficulties, burnout, psychological problems, physical health, and self-care. It identifies fourteen factors that contribute to happiness among priests, examining the contribution of spirituality to their psychological health. Rossetti’s cutting-edge, hopeful work will be a must-read not only for priests, but for anyone interested in the priesthood and the Church.


Msgr Stephen J Rossetti, a priest of the Diocese of Syracuse, served for many years at Saint Luke Institute in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he became president and CEO. A priest of the Diocese of Syracuse, he previously served in two diocesan parishes. He lectures to priests and religious internationally on priestly spirituality and wellness issues and currently serves as Clinical Associate Professor of Pastoral Studies at the Catholic University of America. He 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 Born of the Eucharist, The Joy of Priesthood – recipient of a Catholic Press Association book award -and Our Journey Into Joy, and he is editor of Behold Your Mother.

Msgr Rossetti has 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.


“Useful and sage advice to ensure the health and wellness of our present and future priests and provides an invaluable tool for those responsible for their formation. Indeed, all the faithful would benefit from reading it!” Msgr. Robert Panke, President, National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors.

“By clearing away the debris of myth and public prejudice, [Rossetti] helps the Church focus on the very real challenges facing the priesthood.” From the Foreword by John L Allen Jr, Senior Correspondent, National Catholic Reporter.

“A wonderful example of how the sciences and the candid survey of priest respondents reveal the reasons why the Catholic priesthood remains among the happiest vocations to be studied… refreshing and enlightening at the same time.” Most Rev Wilton D Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta.


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