Is it far-fetched to say we Catholics cherish our priests? After all, they may not even know us personally; they may recognize our faces, but not know our names (though it's amazing how priests do remember names!). Still, they are our spiritual fathers. They teach us, guide us, and are present to us in life and in death. They personify God's merciful love in life's most joyful and sorrowful moments. Priests are among the most cherished individuals in the lives of faithful Catholics.
They give selflessly every day in many ways, but they give a gift beyond compare when they administer the Sacraments to the faithful in a worthy manner. In this sacred duty, priests join us to God in the most intimate way possible while we are still here on earth.
Can there be a more precious gift? I don't know about you, but I can't top that.
Even so, there are ways of expressing our gratitude to our beloved priests for their presence in our lives.
Our gifts do not have to be costly to be of great value. There are generous gifts that cost nothing, extravagant gifts, and plenty of gift ideas in between. Here are some of our favorite gifts for priests:
Small Gifts With Big Impact
Priests are busy. Their schedules can be unpredictable and their lives of service physically tiring. Serving your priest in a way that acknowledges his physical, emotional, or spiritual needs is a generous way to show you care. Receiving the generosity of one of his spiritual children can reinvigorate and encourage him.
Here are a few simple ideas for small gifts with a big impact:
Cook your priest a special meal. Bring it to his office well-packed in disposable containers, so he can enjoy something homemade and delicious that he did not have to prepare. If you package it mindfully, he can store or freeze it for another occasion, using it when his schedule is more hectic. Pray for him while you prepare it and you will nurture him in body and soul.
Invite your priest to dinner, or a family dinner and game night. Eat together as a family. Allow him to help with preparations if he offers. My older kids were always slightly uncomfortable when I gave our priests or religious guests tasks like setting the table, making the salad, or sautéing the vegetables.
Treating your priest like family if he offers to help can put him at ease, allow him to contribute, and be a source of fun and conversation. My family enjoyed an incredible meal and I obtained one of my favorite recipes about 10 years ago, when our priest came for dinner and asked if he could help me with the salmon.
He explained his own recipe and remarked that everyone at the rectory enjoyed it. He showed me his method. We made it his way, not mine, and it was fabulous. It also broke the ice and helped Father feel at ease when he rolled up his sleeves in the kitchen.
Spending time with your family reminds your priest that his vocation comes from the heart of family life, and the heart of family life feeds and nurtures the priestly vocation. Don't forget to give Father the leftovers to take home and enjoy later.
Click here to check out our new Good Catholic series, The Heavenly Table, with Fr. Leo Patalinghug, who explains what food has to do with faith, how to grow your family's faith around the dinner table, and how to cook 5 delicious, easy recipes!
Make a holy hour for your priest and send him a note telling him you prayed for him. Adoration is the perfect time and place to remember our priests and their sacrifices for the Church and the world. Their vocation is more than a job. It is the all-consuming love of Christ for our souls. They are literally poured out for us. Who is praying for them? All of us should be.
Go before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and pray for your priest's intentions, but also for his holiness, strength, and protection. Pray for an increase of faith, hope, and charity for him. Pray that he receive wisdom and the other gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, poured out generously upon him, to help him exercise his ministry with profound love and constant grace.
Ask for special spiritual gifts—that his homilies inspire and move hearts, that in his role as a confessor he heals and restores souls to grace and rouses them to pursue holiness. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the special charisms of your priest and pray for those to be elevated and nurtured by Christ, strengthened and enlivened in his ministry.
Give a spiritual bouquet in which the whole family participates. Send your priest a card where your family members document their prayers and sacrifices in their own handwriting. This is especially meaningful when children participate.
When my family was young, we gave our priest a bouquet of flowers on special occasions like Lent or Advent. We kept a list on the kitchen counter where we recorded our prayers and sacrifices over a few weeks. When we were finished, the children made small tags, copying our offerings in their own handwriting. Using a ribbon, we tied each tag to a flower stem on the bouquet.
I still remember one of our special priests telling me how moved and entertained he was to read that my 5-year-old gave up her dessert for him, my 8-year-old cleaned her room as an offering for him, and my 4-year-old did not bite his classmate who snatched the big shovel away from him at recess (even though he wanted to!).
Buying a gift for your cherished priest is another generous and thoughtful way to show your gratitude for their care for you, your family, and your parish. We sell some wonderful items at The Catholic Company. Some are specific to priests. Many are not, but still make wonderful gifts for these special men of God.
These items are personal but incredibly functional. They are expressions of faith that are highly practical. We have large umbrellas, baseball hats, T-shirts with many different inspirational messages and saintly quotes, and even socks that reflect the liturgical year or honor your favorite saints.
We also carry smaller personal items like cuff links, travel cases, keychains, and more.
Practical Gifts On the Go
These are some of our favorite gifts for priests on the go. In the course of their busy days, our priests are constantly on the move. Keep them going and give a gift they can use in transit. While they are in the car or moving from meeting to meeting, here are some thoughtful gifts for your priest.
Our custom stainless steel tumblers keep beverages hot or cold and come in many different designs. If your priest has a favorite saint or devotional, we probably have a tumbler for him.
Make it even more special by adding a bag of our smooth and delicious Catholic Coffee, which we roast in-house and prepare with great care. Some flavors are seasonal and some are year-round. Our blends are absolutely tantalizing, with special flavors like Irish Cream and Mexican Mocha, as well as regular roasts, espresso, and decaf blends. They are inspired by the saints, so you can choose a favorite patron or flavor.
We also have gift sets that pair our high-quality artisanal coffee blends with other accessories if your priest is a coffee-lover.
Regardless of his beverage of choice, we have plenty of options for him, from water bottles to recipes for drinks that honor the saints throughout the liturgical year.
Items for Home or Prayer
Our selection of home accents contains many wonderful options for gift-giving. If you know your priest's special interests, hobbies, or devotions, you can choose an even more personalized gift for him to enjoy. From coasters and cookbooks to prayer candles to fine art, we have many unique and extraordinary choices.
Our proprietary candles feature beautiful imagery, including reproductions of traditional full-color fine art, inspirational quotes, and beautiful drawings. They are infused with scents such as Midnight Mass, Leather & Suede, and Mandarin Vanilla Bourbon.
Classic religious art is a distinctive and exceptional gift. Our art prints come in a variety of sizes and price points, with frame styles ranging from formal traditional to modern minimalist. Does your priest have a special devotion or patron saint? Our selections include saint images in many different styles and inspirational quotes from the saints as well.
Some of our prints are framed in smaller sizes in-house, and others are larger, matted, and much more formal. We offer an extraordinary range of themes, styles, and price points. You are sure to find an inspiring gift for a priest you cherish.
A good book is one of the simple joys of life. At The Catholic Company, we have curated an extensive reading selection that contains everything from classic works of the early Church and saints to current offerings in Catholicism to Catholic fiction.
Some are in fine leather binding with gold leaf pages and ribbon markers. Some can be personalized in gold foiling for a special touch. We also have blank journals for recording inspirations, prayer intentions, meeting notes, and more.
Some of our books feature topics of special interest to priests.
If your priest is an avid reader of fiction or historical fiction, we carry a wide selection of novels that are suspenseful, incredible, and inspiring reads.
We offer statues, holy water fonts, and other devotional pieces in a variety of sizes, finishes, and materials. If your priest has a favorite saint or devotion, these are exquisite gifts and our selection is extensive.
The Gift of the Priesthood
These are some basic gift suggestions for our beloved priests. Of course, they are the true gift of God to mankind, an incredible treasure we Catholics cannot take for granted. Without our priests, we would not have access to the Sacraments. There are many in the world today who cannot receive them daily or weekly, or even monthly.
Imagine the pain of being separated from the Eucharist, Reconciliation, or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Only our priests can bring us these mystical realities that feed our souls, urge us to holiness, and help us aspire to heaven.
The world of God can seem so far from us at times - especially in these times. By the sacred reality of the Sacraments, the priest connects the world of God to the world of man in a way no one else on earth can. He links the unknown and otherworldly to the imperfect world. Called by God, he does that for us.
He is the person of Christ on earth. Thanks be to God for the gift of the Priesthood. Let's all remember our beloved priests in prayer.
Choose a daily prayer for them. It can be as simple as a Glory Be, a Rosary, or anything else. Make one small offering or sacrifice a day for them. It could be something as small as not having a second cup of coffee or doing an unsolicited act of kindness and offering it for our priests.
I pray this prayer by St. Thérèse and the Luminous Mysteries of my daily Rosary for priests. Their ministry is powerful, their needs are great, and they are among our greatest treasures.