#26. The Melchizedek Project
There comes a time in every young man’s life when he is called to consider what Our Lord is asking him to do with his life. Many are unsure about how to approach discernment when they feel the stirring of God’s Call to the priesthood. The Melchizedek Project is a great tool for Vocation’s Directors to help young men during this discernment process.
The Melchizedek Project provides an organized approach to the many considerations a man must make as he aligns his will with that of Our Lord’s. Each Melchizadek Project discernment group meets under the leadership of an understanding Priest or Seminarian. The program uses as a guide, Fr. Brett Brannen’s book To Save a Thousand Souls: A Guide for Discerning a Vocation to Diocesan Priesthood. (Learn more about the book here.) Often Melchizadek Project discernment groups are organized through a college, high school, parish or diocese. All materials are available from Vianney Vocations and are free of charge through a grant from The Foundation for Priestly Vocations and Our Sunday Visitor Institute.
- Melchizadek Project provides a program for Priesthood discernment groups for dioceses, parishes, high schools, and college campuses
- Groups are generally lead by a Priest or Seminarian
- The group leader hosts men who are discerning a vocation to the priesthood for 14 meetings throughout the year; generally, 7 weeks during the Fall semester and 7 weeks during the Spring semester
- Each group leader receives a startup packet which includes, the book To Save a Thousand Souls: A Guide for Discerning a Vocation to the Diocesan Priesthood, a leader guide, instructional materials, and promotional materials, such as brochures and invitation cards
- Other materials available include posters, social media graphics and videos. Mass announcements and bulletin items are also useful to get the word out
- Each participant receives a copy of To Save a Thousand Souls: A Guide for Discerning a Vocation to the Diocesan Priesthood, which is available in both English and Spanish
- Meetings include time to socialize and may include snacks or meals
- Leaders may plan special guest speakers such as priests, the local bishop, the vocation director, or seminarians
- Leaders may plan excursions, like a trip to a seminary or a holy hour
Serrans / Volunteers
- Inviting priests, deacons, or youth ministers to start a discernment group and sending a free startup packet to potential leaders
- Promoting the program and inviting discerners to join the group.
- Underwriting meals or travel as needed to accommodate leaders and discerners.
- Providing a place for the group to meet.
- Organizing speakers
Program History, Development, and Additional Resources
The Melchizadek Project is an initiative funded by The Foundation for Priestly Vocations and Our Sunday Visitor Institute, and is administered through Vianney Vocations. The Melchizedek Project has helped hundreds of priests and seminarians discern their vocation.
The Melchizadek Project discernment program was designed using the Father Brannen’s very comprehensive discernment guide To Save a Thousand Souls: A Guide for Discerning a Vocation to Diocesan Priesthood. About the book…
To Save a Thousand Souls: A Guide for Discerning a Vocation to Diocesan Priesthood, first published in 2010, is a ground-breaking book that has been hailed as a “catechism of discernment.” It has been praised by dozens of bishops and Vocation Directors as the most complete guide for men considering priesthood. Over 100 dioceses have ordered copies for their candidates.
Filled with inspiring stories, humor, and wisdom, the book is an easy-to-read yet deeply moving work. One young man recently sent us a letter of thanks, saying “Your book single-handedly answered so many of my unanswered questions and fears about my search to accept God’s will.”
Fr. Brett Brannen is a pastor in the Diocese of Savannah. He previously served as the Vice-Rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD after having served for ten years as Vocation Director in the Diocese of Savannah.
Father Paul Sullivan, Vocation Director of the Diocese of Phoenix, AZ stated that the Melchizadek Project discernment program is a great help, particularly in groups where young men are in a similar situation in life. It helps them to develop relationships with others and know they aren’t alone in their discernment. Most importantly, he said that it helps them to know what questions to ask…of themselves, of the vocations director and of Our Lord in prayer.
Father Kevin Bordelon, Vocation Director of the Diocese of Lafayette, LA in his June 11, 2016 article stated that in the Diocese of Lafayette they “anticipate more priests to be ordained in the next five years than will retire in the next ten years. He attributes this growth in vocations largely to the Melchizadek Project which helps “assist the Lord in making his call more clear”. He stated, “The Melchizedek Project not only gives them good information it also allows them to form good and holy friendships. It gives a glimpse of priestly fraternity”.
Order Startup Packets for group leaders and potential group leaders:
Group Leaders may order free books, leadership guides, and marketing materials here:
Listen to a podcast featuring the author of To Save a Thousand Souls, Fr. Brett Brannen, here:
Here are a downloadable Videos for your event:
Melchizedek Project Leads to Boom in Vocations, by: Father Kevin Bordelon, June 11, 2016 article in the Vianney Vocations Blog: