The Collar: A Year of Striving and Faith Inside a Catholic Seminary

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Apr 1, 2007 - Religion - 301 pages
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The journalist Jonathan Englert goes inside a seminary to follow five men who have left their careers and lives behind in pursuit of the priesthood.

There are now a record sixty-four million Catholics in the United States, yet the number of priests is plummeting so fast that hundreds of parishes nationwide are closing down. Against this turbulent backdrop, Englert charts the journey of five men toward the priesthood at a seminary that specializes in "second-career" priests -- men who come to their vocation later than their college years. We meet a divorced father and avid hunter from Wyoming, an ex-salesman and Marine with ADHD, a recently widowed father of four, a blind musician, and others. With wit and sometimes heartbreaking candor, they face the challenges of priestly life -- from the traditional hurdles of obedience and chastity to more modern travails, like the bad press let loose by recent sexual abuse scandals and the skepticism of their friends and families. For each man, these challenges are intensified by their past experiences as they sacrifice familiar comforts to answer their calling.

Englert is ideally qualified to write The Collar, both professionally, as a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism, and spiritually, as a convert to Catholicism who has walked the tortuous path of faith. His empathy with the spiritual journeys of the men he portrays recalls The Cloister Walk. His deft, evenhanded unveiling of a compelling, little-observed culture will resonate with both the faithful and the merely curious.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Schmerguls - LibraryThing

This book is not by a seminarian but by a writer who lived at Sacred Heart Seminary at Hales Corner, Wisconsin, during the school year 2001 to 2002. The seminary is for older men who have been in the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - StMartinLecompte - LibraryThing

What does it mean to take up God’s work? What motivates a man in these times to leave the secular for the spiritual life? In The Collar, Jonathan Englert finds the answers in the journey of five men ... Read full review

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About the author (2007)

JONATHAN ENGLERT, a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism, attended Fordham University School of Law and has written for the New York Times and Catholic Digest, among other publications. Before arriving at Milwaukee's Sacred Heart Seminary, where this book is set, Englert had access extended and then revoked by two different dioceses, in one case after more than a year of research and reporting. He is a convert to Catholicism and lives with his wife in New York City.

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