No matter the time of year, life is a constantly busy time for adults, but it is also a busy time for the Church. Our priests work very hard and should be included in our plans. They work hard year round, but so we can always show them our appreciation. Here are three ways that we can make that happen.
1. Invite them to your house
How many of us can think of someone of hand who may be alone for Christmas, or Easter, or for their birthday? I confess that I am guilty of not doing this, but inviting a priest to dinner is never a bad idea. Sometimes, we get wrapped up in our family gathering that we forget that our spiritual father may not have any family in town. Inviting them over goes a long way in showing that they are appreciated and valued.
2. Thank them
Think of a time in your life when you did something so often for someone that you stopped getting a thank you. They started to react as if the thing you were doing was expected. Yes, being a priest is their calling and vocation, but that does not mean they don’t need to hear words of encouragement. In our own time, the great priests that we have sometimes been lumped in with the scoundrels, and that is unfortunate.
A great majority of priests live holy lives and go above and beyond the call of duty. They are true spiritual fathers who work tireless hours because they love us and want us to get to heaven. Take some time whether it be after Mass, an email, card, or phone call to say thank you for what they do. Maybe even send a card.
3. A small gift
Priests are people too, and they usually enjoy gifts. If you have a good relationship with your priest, then it is acceptable to get him something he will enjoy. My parish priest is a huge lover of American history, especially the development of the constitution. A book or DVD on the subject is appropriate and shows that he is valued. In most cases a gift card or cash is acceptable since priests live on a very modest income. If your priest is part of a community then any cash gifts will go there. Avoid something large and cumbersome unless there is a specific need or request for it.
There are many other things we can do for our priests in addition to these three. There is always need for volunteers. Perhaps you can ask your priest where there is a need and you can volunteer your skill. My point here is that our priests are also our family. They are there for us so let’s be there for them during this great season. Being a priest is not an easy job in today’s world. A small token of our gratitude will go a long way to encourage our priests for the vital mission that they have been given by God.