STILL CALLED BY NAME: Why I Love Being a Priest

Dominic Grassi, Author . Loyola $19.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-8294-1715-9

Many Christians are distressed and cynical about the clergy after the torrent of recent charges of sexual abuse by Catholic priests. The doubters can be heartened and inspired, however, by this candid, searching and often poignant retrospective by Grassi, a well-known Chicago pastor and writer who sets out here to strip the priesthood of some of its aura of mystery and drama. In this collection of loosely linked vignettes gleaned from time spent with friends, parishioners, family members and God, he succeeds without in any way diminishing the enormous challenges, stress and profound rewards of being a parish priest. While there is an occasional hint of exhaustion, there is little or no bitterness in these accounts of Grassi's seemingly endless cycle of baptisms, funerals, weddings and counseling sessions. He is excited about the challenge posed by the diminishing number of clergy because he believes it is the laypeople, sharing in Christ's priesthood, who will make or break the church. Those who feel the church should not change may be frightened, he argues, but "ultimately we will become a whole community celebrating together, rather than groups divided by titles, ranks, codes and externals. There is power here, and grace and potential far beyond our comprehension." Grassi's fans will enjoy this, and readers who haven't yet met this beer-drinking, card-playing, sometimes doubting and often rueful priest will find this a refreshing, frank and ultimately very fond tribute to a job that takes everything a man can give and then asks a little more. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/04/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
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