As I mentioned in my last post, this time of year I get a fair number of blog visitors who are searching the internet for “Christmas gifts for priests”.
Please note, lest there be any doubt or suspicion: I am not fishing for gifts by posting this — most of the things I suggest, I already have!
Since this topic is a subject of blog traffic, I’m happy to provide some additional suggestions.
If your priest celebrates the Traditional Latin Mass or has expressed an interest in learning it, a nice set of altar cards would be a very fine gift. Daniel Mitsui, a very talented young artist out of Chicago, has produced a beautiful, unique set:
At $260, this might be the sort of thing to go in with some other parishioners on – especially if you factor in the cost of framing. But it could be a very meaningful and appreciated gift for some priests.
As far as framing, you might present the cards first and then take them for framing after consulting with the recipient. Some priests may want a table-top type frame, with the flap on the back so that it can be stood up on the altar without having to lean it against something like a candlestick or the tabernacle. Other priests may want just a plain frame back with no built-in stand feature (this is what I prefer, at least for the central card: it is easier to move it — e.g., at communion time when I have to get into the tabernacle — without the stand thing on the back to get caught on something). Your priest may also have a preference about frame color: in my opinion, a fairly thin, gold-leaf-look frame would probably be good, but some priests may prefer a darker color like mahogany or something, or perhaps even a weightier frame thickness.
I can vouch for the quality of Daniel’s work. He is extremely talented and has succeeded in making a living (though I’m sure he’s not getting rich) on this trade, while raising an ever-growing family. You can read more about him here: Daniel Mitsui (scroll down 2/3 for the biographical text block).
Another fine gift — and this one more affordable — would be a sign that the priest can hang in the sacristy to help him prepare for Mass. I previously posted about the vesting prayers here, and if you think that particular sign would be of interest to your priest you might consider having it printed (it is formatted for 8.5×11) on a nice card stock, then buying an attractive document-sized frame for it.
But another nice sign for the sacristy is this classic saying:
“Priest of God, say this Mass as if were your first Mass, your last Mass, your only Mass.” Now that is a good meditation to prepare for Holy Mass.
To order this attractive sign, go to this site (it’s # 4 on that page). They also have a couple of frame options, and overall it’s quite affordable.