To Save A Thousand Souls

1849 1849_ () 1849 1849 UPDATE: CONTEST ENDS AT 6 P.M. EASTERN, 3/16/10

A few years ago, our parish was graced with one of the most dynamic priests I had ever met. Fr. Brett had such a contagious love for Jesus that just being around him made me want to be holy, to do better, to be better.

Fr. Brett didn’t stay long at our parish — he was soon offered a position at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary to help with priestly formation. While I was sad to see him go, I couldn’t think of a better use of his tremendous gifts, namely his great love for Jesus and his desire to serve the Church.

As Vice Rector at the seminary, Fr. Brett offers invaluable advice and wisdom to men praying through their vocation. In the midst of that, he was inspired to compile this information in his first book, To Save A Thousand Souls. The book is essentially a field guide for young men who are discerning a vocation (specifically a vocation to the diocesan priesthood). It answers all the questions that arise during this exciting and challenging season; it’s all here in one comprehensive volume.

When I first heard about the book, I thought I would flip through it and then pass it along to a young man who might possibly have a vocation. Maybe it would be a gentle nudge in the right direction. I also figured as a mom with five sons I could use the information to spark conversations with my boys, that Paul and I could use the book to encourage our sons to be open to the priesthood.

Then I started to read it. While it’s true the book will be good for those reasons, I realized this book is for me as much as it could be for my brother or my son. After reading this book, I walked away inspired in my own vocation. Reading about Fr. Brett’s experiences as a priest made me want to better serve Jesus, to do the best job as a wife and mother, to best build the Church in the way God has called me.

I highly recommend this book. You might want a copy for someone discerning the priesthood, but you yourself will find equal inspiration. I promise you will go away feeling encouraged, appreciative of our priests, and with a desire for deeper conversion in your own life.

I’m giving away two copies of the book. Leave a comment to enter!

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  1. I just found your blog and can't wait to read more…I hope to win this book and plan on purchasing a few copies for my own parish library.
    Nancy Buckley

  2. Joannof10 says:

    I would love to win a copy of this book. One of my five sons hopes to enter the seminary in September and I am sure we would all enjoy it.

  3. Cita Online says:

    That excerpt brought tears to my eyes. If I don't win this book I will definitely purchase a copy for myself anyways!

  4. Liz Rich says:

    We had our parish priest over last night for dinner and he told us the story of his own journey to the priesthood. We have 2 boys and would love one of them (or both!) to be called to the priesthood–how appropriate that I should come across this post on your blog today!

  5. Cita Online says:

    Any idea when it'll be available on Amazon? So far it looks like it can only be purchased on Vianney Vocations…

  6. Jennifer Routh says:

    I had tears in my eyes reading the excerpt. I would love to win a copy and read the rest!!!

  7. Keri Sullivan Ninness says:

    I was talking to a friend who was saying that a second brother is discerning the priesthood and how her mom sees Helen as the caregiver for her sweet priest brothers. We all have a role!! And as I am convinced that this is a boy baby in my belly, we will be singing the praises of the priesthood his whole life. At the very least, it will be as realistic and normal an option as teaching or medicine! Hope all your babes are well.

  8. Landreneau Family says:

    I'd love to read this!! If I don't win, I'm surely going to buy it!

  9. Jennifer G. says:

    Sounds beautiful!

  10. Oh my, you can read this while pregnant??? I am tearing up and I'm not – uh, hormonally challenged.

  11. I would love a copy!! It sounds like a great book!

    sarahjoheim at

  12. Catherine Post says:

    Wow, this is an extraordinarily revealing spiritual and emotional book. I would love to read it, & also to share it with a friend who is a priest, and who is feeling rather burned out prior to retirement. Thanks, Rachel!

  13. Thanks, Rachel! Looks like a great book to share with my four boys.

  14. Carolyn A says:

    What a powerful two pages!

  15. I would love to read the rest of this book! Fr. Brett sounds like a great priest!

  16. You're right – that excerpt was very inspiring and touching. I would love to read this book. Thanks for making us aware of it.

  17. Ken Wills says:

    Thanks for posting this. Very inspirational story. I hope to read the book.

  18. Mallahan Family says:

    Thanks for sharing this! I would love for my boys to discern a calling to the priesthood. I have awhile before that happens, they are only 3,2, and 3 months.

    Thanks for your blog – and for your stories about your boys – it is like glimpsing into my future!

  19. Thanks for the offer. I would love to read the book.

  20. I would love to read it also, and then pass it along to someone I know is discerning.

  21. anthonyfrances says:

    That was a beautiful story. I am definitely going to have to read that book! Thanks Rach

  22. Grace in my Heart says:

    Wow, what an excerpt! Thanks for the recommendation and a chance to win the book.

  23. I was all teary reading that excerpt. I hope to buy this book if I don't win it. I sounds like an amazing read.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for posting this – it sounds like a very powerful book. I would love to have a copy around for my boys!

  25. Annie Bizzi says:

    Don't you just love when the good Lord sends you inspiration like Father Brett!
    With four boys, we have a fighting chance that one of them may follow his vocation.

  26. Kansas Mom says:

    I'd love to win a copy!

  27. Denis E. Ambrose, Jr. says:

    I was in seminary formation and wish I had gone to Mt St Mary's. It has such a great reputation. Wouldn't mind a copy of this book to do some more investigating.

  28. Thanks for posting this book. I have to say, you post quality material on here, I've been following your blog for the last year, I can't even remember how I came across it, but really, thanks for sharing the joy of your vocation with me.

  29. Wow, what a powerful story! I'm definitely interested in reading it and will encourage my brother who is in the seminary to read it. Thank you for the recommendation. : )

  30. Jen in CT says:

    Please enter my name. As a mom of 4, 5th on the way, with 3 boys so far, I am sure much benefit can come of reading this book. Thank you.

  31. Wow – what a powerful excerpt. I'd love to read more; please enter me!

  32. Please pick me! My cousin's son is 13 and has been talking about becoming a priest his entire life. I'd love for his mom (and him) to read this. Thanks!

  33. Amy Parris says:

    Love Fr. Brett and can't wait to read it!

  34. I would love a copy!

  35. karen murphy says:

    wow.simply wow.

  36. Catherine says:

    Amazing excerpt – if the whole book is that good, wow.

  37. This is a very inspiring book indeed. It is so true that a priest who loves and lives his vocations 150% will inevitably make us want to live our vocations to the max. I have experienced that in my life. It has been life transforming to say the least. I agree with you that it is really a book for every Catholic, and will make us appreciate more the calling to the priesthood. Happy selling!

  38. Wow! That book sounds awesome! Thanks for doing a give-away!

  39. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a wonderful book!

  40. What an excerpt. I totally want more now!

  41. That excerpt just brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing.

  42. The excerpt is definitely a tear jerker! I'd love to win a copy 🙂

  43. That was a beautiful excerpt. This sounds like a great inspiring book. I'd love to win one!

  44. Thanks for including this bk in your blog. Whether I win one or not I'm sure I'll purchase it.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I would love to read this book. I hope I win.

  46. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Powerful stuff.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Please include me in the drawing. What a blessing it would be to win this book. Thank you for sharing.
    I can't seem to sign in on my Google Account to post a comment. So I am leaving my name here. I hope it doesn't disqualify me that I am posting a comment as Anonymous!

    -Melissa G.

  48. Neverland Mommy says:

    Long time reader, first time poster. The book sounds amazing, so I thought I would give a shot at winning it. I love you blog, btw.

  49. Carol Kennedy says:

    In tears. I would love a copy.

  50. Laura Ermine says:

    During this Lenten Season I have been reading more and more about the Catholic Faith to gain a better understanding of the power of our Faith and my role within. This book sounds like it might be the perfect addition to this plan. With my husband beginning Spiritual Guidance at this time to work on his vocation, this book will do us both well! Thank you for posting! Your timing is perfect!

  51. That excerpt is so powerful. Beautifully written and immensely moving. I would love to win a copy of this book.

  52. Would love to win! What a beautiful story.

  53. Wow, just read the excerpt. Please count me in.

  54. Wow, what an amazing story! I would love to read the whole thing!

  55. wow….what more can i say? This book will definitely go on my reading list. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  56. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to get this book…sounds fabulous! Just returned home with our two newest sons bringing that number to 5 along with two princesses. Just maybe our family will be blessed with a religious vocation!

  57. Joanna Lonneman says:

    Would love this!

  58. What a beautiful excerpt. I'd love to win a copy.

  59. 2 of my four sons think God might be calling them to the priesthood, though one of them is only 10 years old. The other is 16 and has considered this to be God's will for him for the last 5 years. I'd love to get a copy.

    By the way, when will you be picking the winners?

  60. What an incredibly moving excerpt. Thank you for sharing. And thank you too for your blog – it is a delight to read.

  61. Christine says:

    This sounds like a great read.

  62. The Reader says:

    I'd love to get this book. Thanks for the opportunity.


  63. Yes please! I work for FOCUS ( and we're always looking for awesome formational material for our staff and students.

  64. Nicholas Mom says:

    Rachel, Thanks for sharing about this book. My husband and I have been blessed with four boys and the priesthood is something we talk about often. Our second who is now 5yrs once said that he wanted to be a priest so that he could boss people around.

  65. Meredith says:

    enter this mom of three boys. thank you!!

  66. Long-time reader, first-time commenter. I would love a copy of this book to give to our pastor, an incredible priest, in this year for priests.

  67. sarah g. says:

    looks like a great book! hope you saved a few copies for your lads 🙂

  68. We're blessed to live near the Mount and Fr. Brett comes down to offer mass most weekends. I always check the priest schedule to see which one he has. 🙂

  69. Anonymous says:

    I'd love to win a copy!

    Thank you,

  70. Nick Sungenis says:

    Fr. Brannen, God bless you! Thank you so much for being such an immense inspiration to me; your excerpt was breath-taking, and Greatly inspires me as I am in my application process for the seminary. Reading your words, I could hear Jesus speak to me this very night, Praise God!
    Luke 8:15

  71. Ok, after reading your fav passage, I'm sobbing! What beautiful words of a priest, and what a sad story of the mother!
    Would love the book for our family.

  72. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for the opportunity to read this book!

  73. I have a 13 year old son, and he has talked about being a priest for some time…this looks wonderful :o)

  74. This book sounds very interesting. I would love to win a copy of this book and give it to my parish priest. It would be an inspiration to me also. I definitely would want a copy of this book. Please God.