May is the typical month for ordination to Holy Orders within the Church, which means for weeks now, families and friends of those being ordained have probably been wondering what to give the newest members of our clergy.
I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: your newest priest or deacon probably doesn’t need any more religious items like Rosaries, Crucifixes, holy cards, or icons. They already have them. A lot of them. So many that they don’t know what to do with all of them.
In fact, I once had a priest tell me to contact him if I needed any religious items for my classroom. He had an entire closet full of beautiful statues, crosses, and other religious images that he simply had no place to display. (It was impressive, and I got some cool stuff for free).
Another priest once said to me, “It’s true, I get lots of beautiful Rosaries as gifts. And I do appreciate them, but perhaps not in the manner that the giver intends. Typically I end up giving them to people who come to me in distress, or individuals on the street. I’ve never kept one for myself.”
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Ordination Gift Ideas
Remember that these men already have mature spiritual lives and already possess religious items of sentimental value. So while these gifts will always be appropriate and appreciated, I wanted to offer some less-traditional gift ideas.
Priests and deacons are regular individuals. Just like you and me, they have interests that extend beyond Catholicism. Keep this in mind when choosing a gift, and consider one of the following alternatives.
Mystic Monk Coffee
For your coffee-loving ordained, Mystic Monk Coffee is roasted “with love and prayer” by an order of Carmelite Monks located in rural Wyoming. You can go big or small, purchasing a “coffee of the month” subscription, or simply choose a bag of one of their delicious blends to give to your loved one!
A Yeti Tumbler
This gift can go hand in hand with some Mystic Monk goodies or can stand on its own for an awesome ordination gift. Priests and deacons are notoriously busy, and nobody likes for their warm drinks to get cold (or vice versa). A Yeti tumbler is a good way to bring a little help and support into each day as our men of Holy Orders run around serving the Body of Christ.
Sock Religious Socks
Another gift for the quirk-at-heart, Sock Religious has an eclectic collection of dress socks featuring Saints, popes, and Jesus.
This is not a cop-out. Gift cards to bookstores, restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations, and Amazon are always appreciated by these men. Who doesn’t like the feeling of going out and not having to spend your own money? Similarly, I have a priest friend who asks for gift cards to fast-food restaurants in amounts of $5-$10. He keeps them all in his wallet and hands them out to those in need.
Spiritual Bouquet or Prayer Pledge
Those who have a vocation to the Sacrament of Holy Orders experience spiritual warfare in a way the laity never will. They greatly need our prayers. Put together a spiritual bouquet of prayers and Masses already said on their behalf. Or, “pledge” prayers. Grab a pocket calendar and write out specific prayers, holy hours, and/or sacrifices you intend to make for them on specific days. This will mean more to them than you know, and it will help their ministry in a very profound way!
A Membership of Some Sort
Does he like to stay fit? If you have the means, you could offer to pay for his gym membership for the year. Does he like to read? Maybe there’s a magazine or journal subscription he’d like to have. Perhaps he’s a wine aficionado? Get him a membership to a wine-of-the-month club. For any of these gifts, check with the man himself first. Make sure its a subscription to something he wants, not necessarily something you think he’d be interested in.
Cash or Check
Whether being ordained a deacon or a priest, these men have some big purchases to make in the upcoming months. Vestments, Mass kits, collars, chalices, sick call kits, and so on. All these things really add up. Sometimes there is even a fund set up by his family for a specific need.
Check with his family or contact him and ask if he has something picked out that you’d like to purchase. Don’t be afraid to just place an amount in a card—you can always add something small and personal (like a Monstrance sticker).
Buy them tickets to a concert, the movies, sporting events, or a trip abroad. Remember, they’re ordinary people who enjoy life outside their rectory. Also, make sure they aren’t going alone!
This ordination gift takes some planning and has to be requested months in advance, but you can actually receive a special blessing from the pope for your newly ordained cleric! If you don’t have enough time for it to come before the ordination date, don’t freak out! You can still order it for him, write him a lovely note to tell him it’s coming, and deliver it at a later date. (Psst…check with the family to see if he’s already getting one!)
For the Best Ordination Gift Ideas, Ask the Man Himself
Remember, when it comes to our priests and deacons, one size does not fit all. They all have different interests, likes, dislikes, and abilities. If you’re unsure what to get them, ask them what they need. There is no shame in this and most appreciate it, as it eliminates the stockpiling of gifts and goodies for which they have little to no use (it also saves us from wasting money on goods that might end up in a closet).
In the coming years, get to know your priests. Invite them out to restaurants with you, invite them over for dinner or a game night. You’ll learn more about them (like if he’s a fan of Star Wars, who his favorite baseball team is, and if he enjoys contemporary bands). This way you’ll have more ideas for gifts for future occasions and holidays, as well as the privilege and perk of having a priest for a friend.
What’s your go-to gift for the newly ordained? Comment below!Holy Orders Ordination Gift Guide #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Grace Bellon is a regular contributor to the BIS blog. She’s a lover of bearded men, rich coffee, cheesy puns, cuddly doggies, and Catholicism. You can find out more about her here (warned ya she liked cheesy puns).