Christmas Gift Guide: For the Lukewarm Young Catholic

This post is for all of you mothers, aunts, grandfathers, or loving friends of young (albeit selectively practicing) Catholics.  In addition to getting them those new shoes, or whatever it is they may have wanted, this year, try one of these gifts to remind them of the family they will always belong to in the Catholic Church—no matter their doubts or shortcomings.

A Wall Crucifix
Every young person should have a crucifix hanging in his or her room.  It serves as both a constant reminder of Christ’s sacrifice, and as an invitation to prayer and mediation each time the recipient of this gifts looks at it.  Be sure to have it blessed by a priest before giving it to them.  Bonus: If you are shopping for your son, daughter, brother or sister, they really have no choice but to hang it up (since you’ll obviously see whether they do or not).  Nothing wrong with a little Catholic guilt every now and then 🙂

A Rosary with Special Significance
God knows that we are physical beings as well as spiritual.  Sometimes we need the shiny, pretty, or “cool” material things to bring us to the deeper spiritual significance that we truly long for.  This is why a rosary is often a great gift for the young person in your life who may not know or be so into his or her faith.  Make sure it’s not just any generic rosary, though.  It has to be special and specific to them.  Make one yourself (or pick out the beads you want and find someone who can make it for you).  Again, make sure to have it blessed by a priest and to include a short, clear, guide on how to pray the rosary with it as well.

A Small, Leather-Bound Bible
Today’s young person is constantly on the go.  A compact, portable Bible is a must.  I recommend the Ignatius Catholic Bible – RSV that you can find on Amazon.  It is small and zips up.  Perfect for fitting inside of a backpack, keeping in the car, taking to the beach, or for pretty much anywhere.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Why buy a Catechism for a lukewarm Catholic?  Because it likely answers almost every question or doubt they have about the faith.  Sure, at first it may be little more than a paperweight to them—but at least it is their paperweight.  If you want to give the young person in your life some ownership of the faith into which they were baptized: buy them their own Catechism.

The young person on your heart already have all of these items?  Great!  Stop worrying so much and just continue praying for him or her.  No amount of wall crucifixes or pages memorized out of the Catechism will ever amount to what God’s grace can do as a result of your prayers.