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hen Pope Benedict XVI inaugurated a Year for Priests in June 2009, he did it first and foremost for the priests themselves. He invited them to renew their faith so that they could become ever more effective witnesses to the gospel in the world today. W

But this Year for Priests is for the whole Church as well. Not only does it help those of us in the laity to take a step back and recall the vital role of the priest in the Church and in our faith lives, it also inspires us to encourage and pray for all of our priests. At The Word Among Us, we thought that one way we could celebrate this special Year is to publish A Priest’s Life: The Calling, the Cost, the Joy.

In these times, when we often hear about the weaknesses and failings of priests, we wanted to compile these stories and wit- nesses to honor the many thousands of priests worldwide who serve us so selflessly. The priests you will meet in these pages are hardly representative of all the priests serving the Church today. And yet, in another sense, they are. As you read their stories, you will see beyond the specific circumstances of their lives to the passion they have to serve God in this special way. They love the Lord, they love the people they serve, and they love this vocation

that God has given to them.

A Priest’s Life features stories of priests serving God in many different ways—in parishes, in foreign missions, as prison chap- lains, as teachers and preachers, on battlefields. Some of the men in this book write about their path to becoming priests—the dis- cernment, the challenges, and finally the certainty that they are


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