If choosing a gift is rarely easy, the exercise is even more difficult when it comes to a priest. What gift to offer during a retirement or a change of parish of his parish priest?
Music, a trip, a ticket for a concert? To choose the right gift for the departure of a priest, it may be useful to ask yourself what the priest has never dared to offer himself and could appreciate receiving. The gift can be individual or offered by a group of parishioners on the initiative of some of them. Aleteia has selected a dozen ideas, to be adapted according to the character of the priest.
1A festive meal
Surprised or not, in a small or large committee, your priest will surely appreciate saying goodbye to those who carried him, surrounded him, helped around a good table. In a parish hall or more warmly with parishioners, a festive meal is an opportunity to meet in a friendly way for lunch or dinner.
2A CD of Gregorian music
Solesmes, Randol… Many abbeys offer recordings of sacred music. A gift that will delight the ears and the soul and provide a quality background sound for times of meditation and prayer. Gregorian chant “infinitely surpasses music” according to the expression of Dom Joseph Gajard. Other CDs may also please such as classical or opera for example.
3A journey to a sanctuary
A sanctuary that he has not yet visited will certainly interest and delight him. Sainte-Anne d’Auray, Vézelay, le Canigou: depending on the region, there is no shortage of sacred places! Depending on the possibilities, why not organize a group of parishioners to leave with him before he leaves? An experience lived with his parishioners can only leave him with a memorable memory!
Also discover in pictures, the French sanctuaries registered with Unesco:
4Guestbook completed by parishioners
A parish priest who has been involved for several years in a parish will certainly be touched by the personal messages of the latter. This inexpensive gift will allow everyone to write about the happy times shared together, the most moving or significant times in their journey of faith. The guest book can be placed at the entrance of the church at the beginning of the mass and be reported to the parishioners on the parish sheet.
5A flashmob after Sunday mass
Upbeat music like “Jerusalem”, motivated parishioners: a flashmob is organized fairly quickly and will have its surprise effect after Sunday mass, to bring together as many people as possible. The choreography must be recorded in advance, transmitted to volunteer parishioners so that they all start dancing at the same time, at a given signal. The flashmob can be filmed to keep track of this dancing goodbye!
6A concert ticket of a genre he enjoys
Jazz, classical, opera… A musical or theatrical outing will certainly please the priest, who is not obliged, all his life, to receive only spiritual or religious gifts. The idea of a cultural outing for two people can allow him to spend a pleasant evening, especially in the event of retirement and additional free time presenting himself to him.
7A gift in pictures
Many websites offer the printing of giant jumbled photos. Why not prepare one with the photos of the parishioners, printed inside the letters of the word THANK YOU or CHURCH? This material gift will bring back many immaterial memories to the priest, often very attached to his Church of faithful. A photo book can also be designed online, retracing in images the milestones of the priest within the parish (pilgrimages, parish feast, etc.)
8A parachute jump or a ticket to the stadium
A gift is to be dared: the one that a man of the church would perhaps not offer to himself. According to his tastes and hobbies, it is possible to offer him a place in the final of a rugby or football match or even, why not, a parachute jump, a caving tour or even a hot air balloon ride! (activity he would never have offered himself!)
If there is one gift that will carry Monsieur le Curé for years to come, it is the prayers of his parishioners. Whether it is a retirement or a change of parish, this step is very significant in the life of a priest. Praying for the latter so that he finds the calm and the strength necessary to go through this transition as well as possible can only help him to be carried in his future mission to come.
Also discover these children’s pearls on priests:
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Nine ways to say “goodbye” to your priest
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