The Priestly Blessing, Rediscovering the Gift

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By Msgr. Stephen J Rossetti

A bestselling author and leading expert on the Catholic priesthood, Msgr. Stephen J. Rossetti forges a renewed theology of priestly blessing, encouraging his brother priests to embrace the habit of blessing people, objects, and events. In this provocative and inspirational book he shows how the blessing is integral to the identity of priests and crucial to the spiritual wellbeing of all the faithful.

Msgr. Stephen Rossetti fears that many priests shy away from blessing people and objects because of a lack of awareness of the rich tradition of Church blessings and a deficit in training for this important pastoral practice. In The Priestly Blessing,Rossetti urges priests to boldly and frequently embrace this ancient practice because of their unique calling.

Rossetti traces the history of blessing in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. He also explores the various types of blessing, such as praise of God, the invocation of special benefit from God, and being consecrated to God.

The Priestly Blessing also helps priests reflect on what saints and mystics have taught about blessing as a vital activity of the Church, and outlines connections between Catholic sacramental theology, the practice of priestly blessing, and the Catholic understanding of creation that helps make sense of priests blessing objects and animals.

Author 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.

Paperback, 2018

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