Why don’t we list ways that we can thank our priests for their dedication, commitment and services?
Around Easter, I overheard our Pastor… saying that he wished they had flowers in the pots… outside the Church. On the way out… another lady and I volunteered to plant the flower pots… so the courtyard of our parish Church would be beautiful for Easter. He gave us great big hugs… and dubbed us his “flower girls”.
I would suggest asking your Pastors if anything (large or small) needs to be done around the parish grounds; then do it!
The most important way is of course to pray for them. We always include a ‘spiritual bouquet’ in any cards or notes to our priests. We send cards for Easter, Christmas, ordination anniversary, etc. We also usually include a check with those cards. Rectories seem to always be overrun with food, so I try to never give food–unless they have specifically requested something.
Some wise advice I got several years ago is to step up to volunteer for the things requested in the bulletin. That is, fill the actual need, not the one you want to create. That is, teach CCD if that’s what your parish needs. Don’t be the 30th person on the lector list and then complain when you aren’t scheduled often. Or vice versa.
My husband and I take our wonderful priest out to a movie every few months. We’d take him out every week if we had room in our schedule and budget! We like to see it as an evening where our priest can just be a regular guy enjoying a movie with friends, hassle-free.
For holidays, we also like to give him a giftcard to a bookstore/coffeehouse so he can take some time to relax and read over a cappucino.
Dear Father: Here’s a little bit of peace and quiet!
One little girl about 6 years old made him a birthday card last year. What a wonderful idea - and why not have a lot of little parishioners make cards for their priests? Priests may need to have to toss out a lot of greeting cards simply because there isn’t room to store them, but you know they wouldn’t throw away a birthday card handmade by a child and given in love.
I just got a copy of our diocese’s newpaper, and saw on the front page this year, starting June 19, is “Year for Priests”. We were just discussing ways to thank our local priest. He’s here by himself. He’s been here for 29 years, and his last two sermons have been on finding your mission in life. So we thought about planting a tree for him, in honor of him, in his yard. Also, since we are on a tight budget, we’ll paint his name on a rock and put that below the tree as a marker.
Great thread, can’t wait to see what others are doing!
As we begin the “Year of the Priest” I would hope we would all remember that our priests need and want the same things we do; respect, consideration, friendship, support, prayers, and love.
I used to be our parish secretary and still assist our pastor as needed and you wouldn’t believe how our priests are virtually ignored until someone wants something. There is no consideration for his time or even his feelings. The respect for our priests I knew as a child, which wasn’t all that long ago, seems to have been forgotten and is not passed on to our Catholic children. Many are treated as a “Sacramental Machine” and not as a teacher and shepherd of the flock that God has entrusted to him. Our priests give their lives for us, worry about us, pray for us. We are their children and we are never far from their thoughts and prayers.
Remember your pastor’s birthday, Ordination anniversary (as important to them and a wedding anniversary is to a couple), Father’s Day (they are our fathers in faith), Priesthood Sunday, Holy Thursday (the institution of the Priesthood). Those with gardens, share some of the produce with our priests. Not only does it show your appreciation but it also helps out the parish financially. Tell your pastors when you think their homilies were especially meaningful or touching, don’t assume they know. They still need the encouragement of others. Offer to bring in food and treats for them, many cook for themselves.
Another thing and this seems to be a problem in my parish and our priest has been here for 9 years, remember if they are allergic to certain foods. My pastor is allergic to mushrooms and shellfish. Everyone who provides food for events such as funerals, Catholic Daughters, etc. has been told at one time or another, most have been told many times and still there is always mushrooms in the casseroles so, although Father has been asked to stay and eat with them, he can’t because he can’t eat the food. Imagin how you would feel if someone invites you for a meal and keeps serving the same thing they have been told you don’t like or can’t have over and over again.
Treat our priests as we expect others to treat us. When in doubt, ask. Most importantly, remember they are human. They make mistakes and are definitely still a work in progress. We need to minister to them as they minister to us. We need them and they need us as well. This is where “what would Jesus do” is so very important.
Be a friend to your priest. Do not put him on a pedestal. (but always treat him with respect.)
By appreciating his calling and participating in the Sacraments he offers – what greater appreciation can you show than by coming to the Adoration your priest labored to set up, by being at the Mass he offers, or by going to Confession and demonstrating the trust and respect you have for your priest as a spiritual father?
Pray for him, and future vocations (so when he retires, he can enjoy retirement, and not be worked like a dog! ;-))
Talk to him, become a friend… Many priest dont have many people… there’s nothing wrong with a friend to your priest… I’m 22 and I consider closer than some of my friends… Take them to dinner at a nice place, or the occasion bottle or wine or liquor is a good gift…
Thank you so much for starting this thread! This is excellent!
don’t expect the priests, deacons, sisters and parish staff to do everything (the attitude that prevails in this part of the country is the church folks are there to serve, the congregation receives the service). When you are called, from the pulpit, in the bulletin announcement, or by personal invitation, respond. Prayerfully discern if this call is to you specifically, and say yes. Regard that call as coming from the Holy Spirit. Some reasons to discern the call is NOT for you:
you don’t meet basic requirements (but if they can be satisfied in a reasonable time, don’t use it as a blanket excuse). God does not call the qualified, he qualifies those whom he calls. Apostles: perfect example.
you are already doing multiple ministries or apostolates (unless you have been feeling for some time you are ready for a change) but don’t pile up responsibilities, thereby depriving the person whose true calling it is from taking up one of those “jobs”.
this year you have another major commitment that consumes a lot of time, effort and emotional investment (care of elderly parent or new baby, personal health challenge that is debilitating, chemo etc., going back to school, GS cookie chairman or soccer coach).
You are already doing that ministry, don’t feel called to “double up” (serve at two Masses, teach 2-3 CCD classes).
You already have difficulty making the ministry or apostolate you have now a priority.
There is deep opposition from spouse or family at this time to your doing that ministry and family problems would definitely arise. Or if you feel you are already neglecting some family responsibilities due to other life commitments.
You sense this would be an “escape” from some situation or responsibility you need to deal with first.
Some signs you ARE called:
You have been feeling the drive to “do something” for the Church for some time and unsure how to proceed. Commit to trying this apostolate for one term at least and give it your best shot.
Your prayer life has been progressing and the impetus to serve is a strong fruit of your prayer.
You have a practical reason to help–your children are entering CCD, you have musical talent the choir can use and miss using your gifts, joining the “gardening angels” will give you a solid family time activity with your kids on Saturday morning, the ministry you are thinking of would also serve another purpose for you and your family in some way. Serving at parish dinners with your teens will give them an opportunity for “community hours” and you can be setting a good example at the same time.
You know you have some of the specific gifts being asked for: teaching, good with handiwork, you have the tools, you enjoy the task, you have those skills in your professional life.
When the call comes, you feel a strong, immediate pull to respond, it just seems right at this time, as if the call was for you personally, a “ping” in your heart from the Holy Spirit.
You are moved by love for the people you would be serving, as Jesus was when he saw the crowds as he stood in the boat, they were like sheep without a shepherd.
If the priest or DRE sounds really desperate when they ask you personally, please give them a break and do it at least for a year if it is possible. Hey I’m begging here.
Thank you for giving your life to me and the Church
I have a very dear priest-friend…but I can’t see him because he’s overseas [UK].
But I write to him as often as I can…and sometimes he calls me!
He’s like a brother to me!
- discern your vocation in life.
- pray for priest
- be understanding his hectic schedule.
- be understanding that he is human and makes mistakes from time to time.
- offer mass for him.
- etc …
Remember that the problem you bring to the priest may be your only issue. However, before you enter his office or e-mail, one hundred others came before, and after… all with problems.
Have you specifically thanked him for something that is going right?
I hear you. While I am not the DRE I am the Pastoral Associate and I too have to beg for volunteers for our many ministries. People think ministries run themselves with us on staff doing all the work. But we have so many duties. Our DRE in drowning in paper work from our diocese (classes are over but the diocese does not realize that there are so many things to catch up on). So yes, yes, yes, consider helping your priest and parish staff members by using your gifts to help out. The priests will really appreciate as I know I would appreciate it.
I’ve offered rosaries, masses and hours of adoration for our priests. I’ve made sure to give them positive feedback when they have a particularly good homily, or to even ask questions when I don’t understand or agree with something they’ve said. I think so many of them feel like people are just not listening, that it’s a compliment to even hear a disagreement! Send them cards on their birthdays and anniversaries, and invite them to dinner now and then.
I’ve tried giving regular gifts, but have found myself lacking in that area…often giving a gift that they didn’t really want or need. So now I stick with stuff that’s a little more spiritual and sentimental. This past year, for our pastor’s anniversary, my hubby and I made a donation in his name to his favorite charity.
My mom was friends with a priest who once said, “everyone comes to me with their problems, but no one ever asks how I’m doing.” Perhaps something as simple as asking your priest how he’s doing and if there is anything you could do for him would be a gesture of kindness for someone who does so much for others.
A few years ago, my kids were altar servers, but we seldom received schedules. Eventually I approached the pastor about the lack of schedules (and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one). He immediately began to defend the overworked person who was in charge of the schedules. I offered to take over the scheduling. You could almost see the relief.
I tell them when I particularly like a homily.
Send birthday cards and/or have Masses said for them on their birthdays.
Remember their Ordination Anniversaries (though it’s a little hard to find appropriate cards at WalMart).
My previous pastor/confessor is now in a parish where he spends several hours a week in the confessional (and I think they are busy hours). There aren’t as many sinners in our parish ;), so the confession times are a bit slimmer. I always feel like I’ve accomplished something just by getting there during the allotted times. One day after I slid in just under the wire at my parish, I felt compelled to email my previous confessor and thank him for all the time he spends there. Can’t hurt to thank the priest who just heard your confession, either.
When they offer a Bible Study (or some other event) attend! And say Thank You!
Our altar servers hadn’t been “appreciated” in many years, so I asked our new pastor if we could do some type of outing. He said “yes”, secured the funding, helped me with the “legal” details (he’s a canon lawyer, so with that legal mind…), and attended the outing. I had the kids sign a thank you card and sent him the card with a picture of all the servers that we had taken on the outing.
We occassionally go to Mass at our previous pastor’s parish and take him to eat. He is a good sport about the adventures we’ve had dining with children (including vomit at one memorable meal) and seems to enjoy the visits, even though it is usally not a fine dining establishment.
My sister asked us to be my nephew’s godparents last year. Her parish wanted everything short of DNA samples in order to approve us. After having my pastor sign the required papers, I had to bother him again to write a letter saying he had spoken with us about our duties as godparents. I was sure to thank him and when the event had come to pass, I emailed him a small picture with a thankful sentiment.