Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What to get your priest for Christmas...

Found this excellent little article from Fr. William Byrne over at the My Catholic Standard website:
Two ingredients that have become central to the celebration of Jesus' birth are fat and sugar. I bemoan this not because I do not like fat and sugar, but because I really like foods that have lots of fat and sugar. Celebrating a feast historically included such things because the feast had been preceded by a period of fasting. However, Christmas now is preceded by Thanksgiving and a bunch of Christmas parties.

With a priest shortage, I would like to recommend some things to get for your priest that do not involve sugar or fat. (These words were difficult to write, but I managed through the grace of the Holy Spirit!)

1. Your Neighbor - Bring your neighbor to Mass and introduce him/her to the priest. Growing numbers and a new soul tops even a cream pie.

2. Spiritual Bouquet - A note with a promise to say some prayers for your priests is a wonderful Christmas gift. Quite frankly, looking at our world, it is clear that some serious spiritual battles are going on. Your prayers are the invisible powerhouse that allows the priest to face the most difficult situations with joy. If your pastor is a bit grumpy, maybe it is because you don't pray for him enough.

3. Live Your Baptism - I pray each day for my parish not only that they will come to Mass and receive Jesus in the Eucharist, but also that they will bring him to the world. As Jesus is the Great High Priest, this gift is probably more for him than just for your local pastor. Being a great mom/dad/son/daughter/friend/employee/ boss and being truly a person a faith is a challenge. But heroes and saints are people who face challenges. So stand up and tell the world that you're proud to be a follower of Jesus. Let people see how you love his Church. Say grace before meals, go to Mass on vacation. Take your kids to Confession. Defend the faith.

4. Encouraging and Praying for Vocations - We just opened Blessed John Paul II Seminary in the Archdiocese of Washington because we have good numbers of men following the Lord to discern a call to the priesthood. The movement of the Holy Spirit is clear, but we need to pray that young men will be preserved from things that block them from hearing Christ's call. This is where you come in. Encouragement of a young man and prayers for those already in the seminary MUST be part of your daily regimen. This is a great gift not only to the seminarians but to the whole archdiocese.

5. Food for the Poor - Write a note to the priest, "I gave your cookies to the hungry." Once his blood pressure lowers, which it probably needs to anyway, he will be very grateful. We need your generosity more then we need your chocolate chips. (Once again the Holy Spirit helped me pen that sentence.)
 Amen, Father. These gifts would certainly warm the heart of any priest.