The Melchizedek Project is a nationwide initiative to form small discernment groups at colleges, high schools, and parishes, that provide information and support for young men as they discern a vocation to the Catholic priesthood. Most young Catholic men lack the in-depth information they need to prayerfully discern the priesthood. Small discernment groups provide a good support structure for men as they “dive deep” into the discernment process.
More than 1,100 Melchizedek Project discernment groups have been formed nationwide involving more than 12,000 young men. Hundreds of seminarians credit the program for giving them the clarity to take the next steps toward the priesthood.
The groups are fruitful for two main reasons. First, because they foster good relationships between priests and young men. Second, because they approach priestly discernment with the wisdom and guidance in Fr. Brett Brannen’s book, To Save a Thousand Souls, which helps men reach a mature decision about their vocations.
The discernment groups meet seven times per semester for about 90 minutes. A discussion guide in the back of To Save a Thousand Souls provides an excellent format for each meeting, with questions corresponding to each chapter in the book. Very little preparation is needed for leaders or participants, as key passages of the book are read aloud and discussed.
Our Overall Mission
The overarching aim of The Melchizedek Project is to help men hear the call of Jesus Christ and discover their true vocations. This initiative is supported by your donations and by The Foundation for Priestly Vocations. It is run by Vianney Vocations.
For Vocation Directors: Starting a Network of Discernment Groups in your Diocese
Many dioceses run multiple discernment groups on college campuses and at Catholic high schools and parishes. If you’re a Vocation Director and would like to start a network of groups, we’ll help you invite priests and provide them with the materials they need.
Step 1. Request Start-up packets
Typically, Vocation Directors submit a list of hand-picked campus ministers and priests, to whom we ship a free packet explaining how to begin a discernment group. This includes promo material. You can email us your list; please be sure to include both mailing addresses and email addresses. Or use our online form to Request Start-up Packets.
Step 2. Promote & Form Groups
Once priests have agreed to lead groups, they need to start promoting among young men at the beginning of the semester. The goal is to get commitments from a specific number of young men.
Step 3. Request additional books:
At least 10 days before the first meeting, leaders should visit this site to request additional copies of To Save a Thousand Souls for the men who have committed to the group. There is a donation required, which covers books or materials. Request Materials.
Note: We are conscious that the commitment level of young men varies. We are willing to send copies of To Save a Thousand Souls even to men who cannot attend every meeting of the discernment group, but who are clearly discerning the priesthood.
Who leads the Discernment Group?
Every situation is different, so the program is flexible. However, almost all groups are led by a priest, either the Vocation Director, a college chaplain, or a parish priest.
Wondering how to best lead the group? Don’t worry; we’ll include a Leader Guide with best practices for running your discernment group.
The meetings are very well-structured, so there is no need to “invent” content for each meeting. The discussion questions correspond to the most important chapters in To Save a Thousand Souls, with topics such as developing a prayer life, the nature of the priesthood, overcoming common discernment fears (especially celibacy), finding a spiritual director, etc.
About To Save a Thousand Souls
To Save a Thousand Souls: A Guide for Discerning a Vocation to Diocesan Priesthood 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. More than 140 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.” Everywhere we go, seminarians tell us the book was instrumental in their journey.
The author, Fr. Brett Brannen, is the Director of Spiritual Formation at the Pontifical College Josephinum. He is a priest of Savannah, Georgia, and previously served as the Vice-Rector of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD, as well as Vocation Director for his home diocese.
Together, let's find YOUNG men who are ready to ask...
"Am I willing to follow Christ no matter what the cost, no matter what the call?"
"Will I choose to trust His will for me, and courageously go where He leads?"
questions? Call 877-585-1551