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A Pressing Need

The Need

WHILE FOSTERING NEW VOCATIONS TO THE PRIESTHOOD is an urgent task for the twenty-first century, so too is the task of supporting those men already serving in priestly ministry. Priests need to receive, in addition to a solid seminary education, continuous nourishment to refresh, encourage and sustain them in their ministry. If they are to continue feeding the flock, shepherds must be fed as well. In the words of the Program for Priestly Formation, “The process and the journey of the ongoing formation of priests is both necessary and lifelong. Its purpose is not only the spiritual growth of the priest himself, but also the continued effectiveness of his mission and ministry.”
Feed My Sheep
John 21:17
IN A FAITHFUL “YES” TO THIS COMMAND OF THE LORD, priests in each generation have taken up the call to be shepherds of His people: to teach, to govern, and to sanctify… to offer their very lives for the life of the world, in union with Christ Himself and the Church He established. The gift of the Eucharist, source and summit of our faith, passes to every generation only by way of this personal “yes” uttered again and again in a chorus of loving obedience that extends throughout the ages.
IN OUR OWN DAY, MEN WHO OFFER THEIR “YES” TO THIS CALL face unique challenges. While the Catholic population grows each year, the number of priests available to shepherd the faithful is decreasing. In the United States, for example, membership in the Catholic Church has risen almost 16% in the past thirty years, while the number of priests serving that membership has dropped nearly 20% in that same period. Many priests serve in more than one parish, and one in five parishes have no resident pastor. In such a situation, an already busy pastoral life can become extremely taxing for even the most energetic priest. In this context, providing priests with opportunities to be refreshed, strengthened and connected with their brothers in the priesthood is a vital need.

History

T HE PLANS FOR CHRISTOPHER INN INTERNATIONAL were first and foremost born of prayer and a sense of God’s call to provide a place of refreshment for His shepherds.

The beginnings of the call came in 1997, with the idea of serving the priests locally in the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Christopher Inn, Inc. (CI) was established as a non-profit organization on February 22, 2000. As the vision for the project was shared with priests—locally, nationally, and internationally—clergy expressed universal enthusiasm for the project. By the end of 2003, the idea of making the Christopher Inn an international place for bishops and priests, located in Ireland, expanded the scope of the vision. Several years of prayer and discernment followed. In 2008, a core team developed to meet weekly for prayer and to discuss the business development of CI. In 2009, the vision for the project was presented to the Congregation for the Clergy at the Vatican, and supporting materials were delivered to the Congregation on June 19, 2009, as the Year for Priests began.

In June of 2011, The Christopher Inn International was established as a corporation in Ireland, and in the spring of 2012, the first two Programs for Priestly Renewal for Irish priests were hosted in western Ireland.

With the grace of God and the generosity of donors, we hope to be able to acquire property in the near future and open the doors of The Christopher Inn International, as a gift at the service of the Church’s priests.

To learn more about the development of this apostolate, visit our News & Resources page.

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A gift on the part of laypeople to the Church's priests: a unique international destination offering refreshment, formation and fraternity for Catholic clergy.
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Christopher Inn, Inc.
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