I wrote last time that I have hesitated to respond publicly to requests that I occasionally receive from readers for gift ideas for priests. But since I already have the following item, I’m happy to recommend it here.
Recently I’ve noticed some search engine traffic leading folks to my blog on this topic. Christmas is in the air, folks are doing their shopping… So here is another suggestion.
Books are nice gifts for priests, but many people worry that the priest will already have the book they buy. Well, this is one that I suspect many priests will not have. And it is a gem.
The book is A Man Approved, by Fr. Leo Trese. I have it, and I read it probably about five years ago, with great profit. It is really wonderful – the sort of book that will affirm your priest in his vocation, encourage him in it, make him proud (in a good way) of it, and challenge him also to be more faithful in it.
This book would also be stimulating reading for lay people.
Also, in the relatively rare case that your priest already has this book, I’m sure it will be his pleasure to share it with another priest or a seminarian.
Above, I link to the book on the publisher’s web site; it is cheaper there than on Amazon. The book is nicely and simply bound in cloth/hardcover. Go there for a full description. Rather than provide my own review here (which I don’t have the time to do), I will simply recommend it, and mention one little detail that might be of interest.
The detail is this: as I recall, the author refers a few times in the book to “black Masses”. He is not speaking about the satanic ritual which has recently been publicized widely in our country. Rather, he is referring to requiem Masses – that is, Masses for the dead. Before the changes to the Mass that took place in the late 1960s, it was not uncommon for priests to celebrate requiem Masses more frequently – and to wear the liturgical color black while doing so. The reasons for this were various; that’s a topic for another day. In any case, if anyone is puzzled when reading that phrase in this book, he’s referring to Masses for the dead.
Incidentally, I also recommend another book by this author, The Faith Explained. It would be great for any lay Catholic who wants to learn more about his or her faith, or wants to have a reference book to hand for occasional questions.