When a young man in your family or community is about to be ordained a Catholic priest, one of the most common questions people ask is, “What gift can I give this priest on his ordination day?”
And we know that most priests are not bound by a vow of poverty, and so its an honest question, one that doesn’t even have an easy answer.
However, there is one particular gift that all newly ordained priests will appreciate and is always regarded as the “best” gift a person can give.
It’s the gift of prayer.
What this actually means is that you promise to pray for the priest, either by offering a set of holy hours, Masses, or just simply remembering the priest in your daily prayers. Though, it may not seem like much, but a gift of prayer is worth more than you can possibly imagine.
Because, intercessory prayer can give a new priest the spiritual strength that he needs to endure the many trials of the priesthood. Especially in our world today, priests are constantly under attack from both exterior and interior forces.
The devil will always try his hardest to weaken the priest, as he knows that a holy priest can guide an entire congregation closer to Heaven.
St. John Vianney once heard the devil say to him, “If there were three such priests as you, my kingdom would be ruined!”
Even in the Bible, Moses needed help when his arms were growing tired, from interceding for the people and the army of Israel.
The book of Exodus recorded as that, “The hands of Moses, 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).
In the same way, the priest imitates the role of Moses by interceding for the people of his parish and similarly grows tired.
And this is why his “spiritual” hands need to be supported through the prayers of his people.
So, if you are still looking for the “best” gift you can give a newly ordained priest, don’t hesitate to offer him a gift of prayer.
Here is one relevant prayer for a newly ordained priest written by Cardinal John J. Carberry.
O Jesus, our great High Priest, hearken to my humble prayers on behalf of Thy priests. Grant them deep faith, a bright and firm hope and a burning love which will continue to increase in the course of their priestly life. In their loneliness, grant them comfort. In their sorrows, give them strength. When they are frustrated, point out to them that they are needed by the Church, by souls and that they are also needed for the work of redemption.
O Loving Mother Mary, Mother of the Priests, welcome 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 awesome work of Christ in a world which needs them so much.
Be their comfort, their joy, and their strength, and especially help them to live and to defend the ideals of consecrated celibacy. Amen.