US Catholic Faith in Real Life

USC Book Club: The Way of Goodness and Holiness

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June 2012:

The Way of Goodness and Holiness: A Spirituality for Pastoral Ministers

By Richard M. Gula, S.S.


Father Richard Gula’s The Way of Goodness and Holiness is a wonderful invitation for ministers—whether ordained or lay—to reflect on just what kind of minister they want to be. A veteran moral theologian, Gula bridges the gap between ethics and spirituality by grounding a spirituality of pastoral ministry in the virtues. He suggests that developing and cultivating these qualities—including gratitude, humility, generosity, compassion, and humor—make us more effective and authentic ministers.  

This is not a “how to” book or manual, but one that provides wise guidance for reflection in a very accessible style. This book is a great source of information—and inspiration—for all who minister in the church, as well as a great resource for formation for ministry programs.

Rev. John Molyneux, C.M.F., Editor,  U.S. CATHOLIC

Way of Goodness and HolinessLiturgical Press says: By grounding a spirituality for pastoral ministry in the virtues, Gula helps ministers to discover who they are and who they hope to become in imitation of Christ Jesus.

Paperback: $18.95
e-book: $9.99

Available at bookstores or from Liturgical Press: 800-858-5450 or shop online at

Order now from Liturgical Press.

Discussion questions:

In the Introduction, author Robert Gula asked you to write down three virtues you aspire to embody in ministry. After reading the book would you list the same virtues or different ones?

Jesus made inclusiveness the basic value for anyone who wanted to be identified with him and his mission. How can you expand your circle of inclusivity?

Whatever practices can you put in place to increase the virtue of gratitude in your life?

When have you practiced humility by stepping back from trying to control a situation completely and allowed another’s gift to shine forth?

What messages have influenced your sense of self-worth? Are there any old negative messages that get in the way of your own healthy self-esteem? Who has treated you as a treasure?

Discerning ministers are people we recognize as “holy” because they make us feel that we are in touch with a special presence that is more than ourselves. Who have been these “spiritual persons” in your life?

How can you improve your skill of attentive listening?

What relationships can you cultivate to ensure that humor is part of your life?

How are you committed to life-long learning and reflection to integrate study with life experience?

As you practice prudence, what might be your Achilles heel in decision making?

How would others describe you if all they knew about you was your position of giving and getting?

How can I give generously of my time, talents, and space while keeping self-care in mind?