It is a gift that will fuel his priesthood for the rest of his life.
When a young man in your family or community is being ordained a Catholic priest, one of the most common questions people ask is, “What gift can I give a priest on his ordination day?” Most priests are not bound by a vow of poverty, and so its an honest question, one that doesn’t always have an easy answer.
However, there is one gift that all newly ordained priests will appreciate and is regarded as the “best” gift a person can give.
A gift of prayer
What this means is that you promise to pray for the priest, either by offering a set of holy hours, Masses, or simply remembering the priest in your daily prayers. It may not seem like much, but a gift of prayer is worth more than you can possibly imagine.
Intercessory prayer can give a new priest the spiritual strength that he needs to endure the many trials of the priesthood. Especially in today’s world, priests are constantly under attack from both exterior and interior forces. The devil will try his hardest to weaken the priest, as he knows that a holy priest can lead an entire congregation closer to Heaven.
St. John Vianney heard the devil once say to him, “If there were three such priests as you, my kingdom would be ruined!”
Even Moses needed help when his arms were growing tired, interceding for the people and the army of Israel.
Moses’ hands, however, grew tired; so they took a rock and put it under him and he sat on it. Meanwhile Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other, so that his hands remained steady until sunset. And Joshua defeated Amalek. (Exodus 17:12-13)
The priest in many ways imitates the role of Moses by interceding for the people of his parish and similarly grows tired. This is why his “spiritual” hands need to be supported through the prayers of his people.
If you are looking for the “best” gift you can give a newly ordained priest, offer him a gift of prayer.
Here is one such prayer for a newly ordained priest written by Cardinal John J. Carberry.
O Jesus, our great High Priest, hear my humble prayers on behalf of Thy priests. Give them deep faith, a bright and firm hope and a burning love which will ever increase in the course of their priestly life. In their loneliness, comfort them. In their sorrows, strengthen them. In their frustrations, point out to them that they are needed by the Church; they are needed by souls; they are needed for the work of redemption.O Loving Mother Mary, Mother of Priests, take to your heart your sons who are close to you because of their priestly ordination and because of the power which they have received to carry on the work of Christ in a world which needs them so much. Be their comfort, be their joy, be their strength, and especially help them to live and to defend the ideals of consecrated celibacy. Amen.