The Catholic Priest: Image of Christ
Posted in General on June 5, 2010
Year of the Priest Book

Published during this Year of the Priest with the support of the Institute of Christ the King, the monumental book The Catholic Priest: Image of Christ places in the forefront the beauty and sacredness of the Catholic priesthood. With 560 illustrations spanning fifteen centuries of art originating in many parts of the world, the author depicts all aspects of the life of the priest, focusing most particularly on the celebration of the Eucharist as the very heart of the priestly being. Included in these vignettes are the life of a priest as a religious and the self-sacrifice of the priest at its highest level: martyrdom.

Profound exposés on the meaning and value of the Holy Mass and on the sanctity and charity of the priesthood are found throughout the book. These accompanying essays, which include important contributions by the His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinal Medina Estevez, as well as Monsignor Gilles Wach, Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, and Monsignor R. Michael Schmitz, Vicar General in the Institute, among others, describe not only what the priest does, but more importantly, who he is.

In addition, various chapters vividly chronicle exemplary priestly lives which reflect Jesus Christ, Sovereign Priest in an extraordinary way: Saint Bernard and Saint Jean-Marie Vianney and martyrs such as Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Blessed Ivan Ziatyk. Splendidly illustrating the lives of holy priests through the beauty of sacred art, this book offers to the reader a sublime meditation on the sacred grandeur of the priestly vocation.


Glimpses of the new book

Since the Catholic priesthood is just as relevant today as ever before, the author explores the manner in which contemporary sacred art portrays the priest as an image of Christ in. In contrast to the pervasive images of the Crucifixion found in most commercial art, the author gathers together many inspiring and prayerful alternatives from around the world. Included in this book are paintings and stained glass images by contemporary artists, whose work reflects the Holy Father's directive on sacred art: "in continuity with the past, but not copying it." These new canvases find themselves in good company with painters such as Fra Angelico or Zurbaran as can be briefly seen in the video clip at right. Like the Church, this is a truly universal book.

The attractive design and layout of this book together with its enlightening articles available in six languages make this volume a masterpiece in itself. Blending insightful text with impressive iconography, this book emphasizes the mystic, sacramental, and divine aspects of the priesthood, as well as the vital importance of the priest as a man of Christ-like charity. This work is also meant to be a tribute to the many holy priests who, living as 'alter Christus' (other Christs) in a modern world so often hostile to their priestly being and ministry, are the unsung heroes of today.

A truly positive and encouraging gift for priests and seminarians during these difficult times for vocations, this book is also gladly received by young people as an appealing means to deepen their Faith and by families as a valuable catechetical resource.

The author, Mr. Steen Heidemann, is of Danish origin and holds degrees in architecture and art (Oxford Polytechnic), as well as a Master of Science degree in management. He now lives with his French wife and children in Normandy and works as an organizer of international art exhibitions. Having been received into the Catholic Church at Westminster Cathedral in London, the author dedicated this book in grateful appreciation for his conversion to the Catholic Faith. With the encouragement of the Institute of Christ the King, the author devoted six years to create this book.

An edition of The Catholic Priest: Image of Christ published by Liana Marabini of LIAMAR in Monaco is available in the United States since June 1, 2010, through Ignatius Press.

Order the Book through Ignatius Press »