We always expect to see the priest at Mass, especially during the holidays. We watch the deacon assist during sacraments and parish life. We proudly acknowledge the hard work and preparation seminarians undergo for the future of the Church. But, what do we do for the men of the church to say thank you?
First and foremost, with a holy man of the Church in mind, pray this prayer for him in thanksgiving for his vocation:
O Jesus, I pray for your faithful and fervent priests; for your unfaithful and tepid priests; for your priests laboring at home or abroad in distant mission fields; for your tempted priests; for your lonely and desolate priests; for your young priests; for your dying priests; for the souls of your priests in purgatory.
But above all, I recommend to you the priests dearest to me: the priest who baptized me; the priests who absolved me from my sins; the priests at whose Masses I assisted and who gave me your Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who taught and instructed me; all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way, especially … [Fr. ___ ].
O Jesus, keep them all close to your heart, and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.
What else can we do to show our appreciation for all the sacrifices they make during the Christmas season—and every day since entering seminary?
In addition to your own personal prayers, here are some ideas for you to consider gifting the priest or seminarian in your family, friend group, or parish:
1. Catholic Gifts from Catholic Places
Feel a need to support artists, crafters, and others who work with their lands to glorify the Lord? Try looking for family Catholic businesses who sell unique gifts. You might think that your priest or seminarian friend has it all when it comes to Catholic gifts until you spot that perfect present.
Look to Sophia Bernadette for Catholic shirts.
Does he need a planner like those at Catholic Planner?
Does he need some Battle Beads from Rugged Rosaries?
If you can’t make a pilgrimage yourself, you can still send something special from the Holy Land. Holy Land Gifts, for example, allows you to purchase various precious gifts, or holy water directly from Lourdes.
2. From Monasteries & Convents
You can also give to religious life while supporting religious life! There are many monasteries and convent who sell goods, which are useful on a daily basis, great devotional encouragements, or simply scrumptious treats to share.
If not able to make a personal visit to your nearest religious life store, you’re sure to find something online:
Handcrafted soaps, lotion, and lip balm from Monastery Creations.
Fudge anyone? Rum cake? Gethsemani Farms has all you need.
Monastery Greetings, “A collection of gifts from abbeys, convents, monasteries, and hermitages”
Monastery of Christ in the Desert sells music, icons, crucifixes, plaques, and boxes.
Creamed honeys and fruitcakes from the Trappists in Virginia.
Community of St. Benedict Monastery Gift Shop sells numerous treats and gifts, including bourbon-infused honey.
Franciscan Monastery in the Holy Land in America sells many artisan gifts.
Monastery Icons offers beautiful artwork.
For more ideas on the seemingly endless places to find gifts from religious life, see these lists:
We often forget to pray for him—the priest we take for granted, the seminarian who always prays for us, the monk who lives removed from society praying for us, the man who vowed his life to the Church serving on missions, the tired and overworked bishop leading our entire diocese.
Remember when Pope Francis became pope and simply asked us all to pray for him? Those following their vocation to shepherd Christ’s flock as leaders in the church especially need our prayers. And yet, we all too often pray for ourselves and sooner ask for prayers than pray for them.
You could simply send a card from yourself, your family, or your youth group, saying that you are praying for him or offering up difficult tasks for his ministry. There are also ways to dedicate a Mass in his name or enroll him in annual prayers so that he knows others are also praying for him. Any religious order or parish has a way to ask for prayers.
Some examples include:
Seraphic Mass Association (Capuchin)
And don’t forget your own local parish or religious community
4. A Thoughtful Subscription
Magazines are a good way to gift all year round:
Valiant is for young men
America, The Jesuit Review
The Magnificat for extra insight into daily readings
Our Sunday Visitor also publishes The Priest magazine especially for the ordained men in our Church.
See what you can find!
If you desire to send more than just a magazine, send a subscription box. Want to share the saints? Saint of the Month box comes with 4-5 items to help the recipient follow Christ by the example of those who have already made it to heaven. Get 25% off your first box. Just type in promo code: Catholic at checkout. Offer is good until December 20th.
Perhaps a good gift for the studying seminarian you know. Want to send the gift of wearing your faith, plus some devotionals and gifts? Check out the Catholic T-shirt Club. A cool Catholic shirt would come in handy when ministering to the youth or helping at a parish event that doesn’t call for a priest’s collar.
How about that coffee or tea fan? Sign them up for a monthly reminder with Mystic Monk Coffee (or tea!), “100% actually roasted by monks.”
5. Beautiful books and music to uplift his soul
Fiction or nonfiction, many writings from around the world help readers connect deeper with their faith and community. Think about who his favorite saint is or if he tends to quote a particular book often. Maybe even share your favorite book with him so you can talk about it with him later.
There are so many options for uplifting, appropriate Christian music lately. There are even great specifically Catholic options in various genres. Whether preparing for praise and worship, looking for a good playlist for driving, or studying for test in seminary, would your priest or seminarian like a traditional Gregorian chant CD or prefer Fr. Pontifex’s hip hop? How about a concert ticket to join you and other parish members to see Matt Maher, Audrey Assad, or Alanna Marie Boudreau?
(Check out our post on Catholic musicians for more)
Some people have it all, metaphorically, of course. Some are simply difficult to shop for. Ever consider donating to a worthy cause in his name? Cure for cancer? Catholic charities? Favorite mission? Pro-life cause? Food pantry?
What does the priest need for his house or parish that you can help out within service or donations? Anything need fixing or a new set of altar cloths? Or does the seminarian need to pay off student loans? Help at the parish charity this season?
Any little bit can help. Just ask!
7. Dinner AND Companionship
I’m not necessarily talking about an impersonal gift card to a restaurant you hope he likes. If you know he goes with friends to a specific place every week, that’s a very thoughtful gift card. If the seminarian you know loves a certain restaurant, he’ll obviously enjoy a gift card to eat there between studying. If you’re not sure where exactly to get a gift card for him (or you’re not sure he’ll have company to eat with there), try something other than just a gift card.
Your priest probably eats alone for most meals of the day, so try to make your gift of a meal also a gift of community. Actually invite him to dinner with your family! Invite him to your Christmas party, if you host one. Go golfing and have lunch with him. Take him to a picnic with your prayer group. Include him!
It is good to make sure the priests and the seminarians in our life know they are prayed for, loved, and appreciated—not just in passing comments when rushing out of Mass. That is what is most important when searching for the right gift this Christmas.
Don’t see a great gift idea that a priest or seminarian in your life enjoyed? Let us know by sharing in the comments below!