Posts Tagged ‘Father Gerdenio Sonny Manuel’
America Magazine brought home a number of first place wins from the annual Catholic Press Association (CPA) awards on June 21 in Denver. Nominated in 12 categories, the Jesuit magazine took first place in eight of them.
“The results are a testament to our terrific editorial team and to Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen’s fine leadership in 2012,” said Jesuit Father Matt Malone, America’s editor-in-chief, who succeeded Fr. Christiansen in October 2012.
America won first place awards for the following magazine categories:
- Best essay
- Best coverage of religious liberty issues
- Best coverage of the election and forming conscience
- Best coverage of the 50th anniversary of Vatican II’s opening
- Best review section
- Best in-depth writing
- Best online/multi-media presentation of visuals
- Best magazine website
In addition, the magazine took second or third place in several categories, including best regular column, best coverage of vocations to the priesthood and best online blog.
Two Jesuit authors were also recognized for their books by the CPA.
Jesuit Father Gerard J. McGlone and co-author Len Sperry received second place in the Professional Development category for their book “The Inner Life of Priests,” published by Liturgical Press. The CPA called it “an exceptional book for anyone in vocation work, seminary training or priestly evaluation.”
Jesuit Father Sonny Manuel won second place in the First Time Author category for his book “Living Celibacy: Healthy Pathways for Priests,” published by Paulist Press. The CPA described it as a “thoughtful yet practical approach to the celibate life. Though aimed specifically at priests this handbook could also be useful for those in the single, divorced or widowed states, who are trying to live chastely, celibate lives.”
For a complete list of all the CPA’s 2013 award winners, visit their website.
Father Gerdenio Sonny Manuel, a Jesuit for four decades and a practicing clinical psychologist and professor, didn’t set out to become a celibacy expert, but the title suits him. Despite the large number of books available on sexual health and wellness, Fr. Manuel recognized that a Catholic priest’s celibacy was a topic that had not been adequately explored, especially in recent years. In the wake of the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis, his new book, “Living Celibacy: Healthy Pathways for Priests,” hopes to demystify a vow that is both misunderstood and denigrated.
Targeted at priests and men considering a vocation to the priesthood, the book is also geared for the families of those men and for anyone seeking a richer understanding of celibacy and its potential to help experience God in “vital, dynamic ways,” according to Fr. Manuel, currently a professor of psychology at the University of San Francisco.
“I wrote the book because the life of a priest and our celibacy is not widely understood by the public, and what is understood, unfortunately, is the mistaken assumption that emerged after the clergy crisis, that priests are either dysfunctional and that if they aren’t, the life would make them so,” says Fr. Manuel. “People haven’t been talking about this aspect of our life and they haven’t talked about it in a way that is accessible and understandable. If we keep being told that our way of life is odd, we will begin internalizing that.”
In writing the book, Fr. Manuel says he relied very much on his own experiences and on firsthand accounts of priests he encountered through his work as a spiritual director. He says that “celibacy is a gift, but it’s also a choice that God graces. It’s a reciprocal relationship, just like in a marriage. It grows out of all of your own personal history and depth into a new possibility and future; that’s the same dynamic in celibacy, where you are introduced to the whole horizon of God. We have to choose our life – whether you are in a marriage or living celibate.”
Trained at Harvard Medical School and Duke University with a specialty in mental illness and community psychology, Fr. Manuel offers five pathways that promote healthy celibacy. The pathways describe how celibacy is experienced and enacted, some of the opportunities and struggles and how the experience of celibacy can enrich priestly life and ministry.
“I titled the book ‘Living Celibacy’ because it’s a way of life, and rather than seeing celibacy as a void, it’s an opportunity to open oneself up to new relationships,” says Fr. Manuel. “In a marriage you have a child and grow a family, you are cooperating in a new creation. By being celibate, you are invited into people’s lives and you get to witness how the sacred emerges in ordinary human experiences. And you basically name the holy for them – that’s the sacramental moment.”
Fr. Manuel says he hopes people read and react to the book and that it “helps them understand what this life is about and how it is a viable life that can help people find God, find their deepest desires and live in community.”