People often don’t know what to give priests as gifts. As a result I get several e-mails a week asking advice about this. Here is an example from a reader:
Hi Father Z,
At our diocese, the diocese of _____ , there is a very kind priest in charge of vocations. He gave a vocations talk for homeschool boys on Friday, and I couldn’t help but notice his pants were quite worn, and had a tear that he had tried to mend himself. I would like to give him a donation, but I don’t want to embarrass him. What would be best, cash? or a gift card to a men’s clothing store? Sometimes giving cash seems crass. Any advice is welcome. ( I’ve only met him once)
Thanks for all you are doing with your blog. You have inspired me to pray daily for this country I love.
Your sentiment is very good, and I thank you for your interest in this priest.
In a situation like this, and if you are really concerned not to embarass him, you could send him a gift card to some store with a brief note very simply and kindly explaining why you sent it, with good words of thanks and support. You could even send it anonymously, if you wish. Usually priests want to know who gave them them something, so that they can thank you personally, but if the note is kind and you express yourself clearly, he’ll appreciate your desires even if you remain anonymous. It is always nice to receive something generously offered. It is a shot in the arm.
This is the age of the gift card, it seems. That really solves a lot of problems. Priests, just as you also, often get things they have no earthly use for. If you know anything at all about your priests, gift cards for shops appropriate to their needs or interests would be very welcome. That doesn’t mean that a group of people couldn’t pool their resources to get, for example, vestments or some other things priests may appreciate. But if you are simply trying to make a nice gesture and have no idea what to do, and you think cash is too "crass", the gift cards are handy.