Buying a gift to honour the ordination anniversary of a beloved parish priest, who has impacted your faith and family for many years, can be a sticky matter. He probably has more than his share of Bibles, rosaries and prayer book covers. Coming up with something different and personal can mean looking more deeply into who he is and what he has meant to you during the years.
Depending on how long he has been your priest, he may have been there for some of the most important moments in your life. He may have given you your first communion, performed your wedding or baptised your child. At the very least, you have shared a few potluck dinners. You have pictures. Compile a scrapbook of photos, announcements and copies of certificates. Have each member of the family write memories, thoughts or funny captions near their favourite photos. Do this with just your family or get the entire parish involved.
A memory quilt is similar to a scrapbook, but it's a gift your priest can use on chilly nights. Ask parish or family members to bring bits of baptism gowns, communion veils, a T-shirt from the church softball team, and whatever other bits of cloth have a special meaning. Get in touch with his family for some things from his childhood to include, then sew them together to form a quilt.
Gifts from Home
Many priests leave their homes and move many miles away to serve. A gift from that faraway and most likely missed homeland can have much meaning. It can be anything from a favourite local food to a relic from a famous local shrine. Books on the history of the church in his homeland may also be appreciated.
When a priest is ordained he takes the name of a saint. This saint, no doubt, has special meaning for him and his faith. A thoughtful gift can be a book on the life of this special saint or a book of quotes and writing by the saint. Find find out what he already has and add to his collection. A rare saint card, a relic from a shrine to the saint or a rare photo or painting of the saint will be treasured.
Christmas ornaments are something you can never have too many of, and if you give one to your priest, he may hang it in the parish hall for everyone to enjoy. Ornaments can be easily personalised. Order a glass cross ornament online and have it engraved with the date of the anniversary. Or, shop your local craft store for a kit with a plain unpainted ornament that you can decorate and personalise. Set the children to work on these.
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