- Holy Water, Oils and Incense
- Miraculous Medals
- Saint and Mary Statues
- Holy Cards
- Catholic Scapulars
- Saints Relics
- Catholic T-Shirts
Let’s face it – teens like stuff! Teens lives are filled with “Stuff” – but is it the best stuff or stuff that merely clutters an already busy life? Teens want the fullness of our faith and one of the treasures the Catholic faith offers are rich traditions and symbols. Make sure that you fill your youth rooms and retreat centers with Catholic items. Items like Crucifixes, rosaries, prayer cards and Saint Medals all reinforce the faith for young people. If you can, try to incorporate giving teens religious items when you can. It’s graduation and Confirmation time for many of us so here are some keys to gifts that can transform!
Here are 3 keys to introducing teens to Catholic stuff:
Don’t Just Hand It to Them and Expect It To Mean Something
I once met Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She handed me 231 Miraculous Medals. Afterward she went on to tell me that Pope John Paul II had just blessed them for her. I immediately decided to hand them out to teens who I felt needed them. I have handed all the medals out to teens over my years in ministry. One thing I did was to tell each teen about how I got the medals and what significance they have. I also waited to give one to a teen until I felt like they were in a spot where it would make a difference. For example if they had lost a sibling or parent, had a particularly bad day, had just received an honor at school or was struggling in their faith and needed the encouragement the medal could give. Before you give teens Catholic items make sure you tell them why you are giving it to them and what they are supposed to do with it.
Let Prayer Lead the Way!
If you are giving a teen a rosary, pray the rosary with them and then give the rosary to them. I guarantee it will mean more and will have impact for the teen to have prayed on that rosary with you. If it’s a Bible you are giving to the teen, include a short note with 10 of your favorite scriptures to pray written on it for them to find. It immediately will peek their interest and also get them reading the Bible right away! When gifts are associated with prayer, it has the power to kick start a teens devotional prayer life.
Don’t Be Cheap!
By all means there are Catholic items that are out of our budget. What I try to do is to pick the best quality, either in material, feel or look that I can. The item needs to say to young people that we take our faith seriously. It needs to “ooze” holiness when looked at or held. If it looks like something that is a spoof religious item or falls apart right away, it can actually have the result of lessening our message. I once carried a 2 foot tall stunning Crucifix back from Krakow, Poland that I bought for one of our benefactors at the Shrine of Divine Mercy. It is a beautiful Crucifix and I wanted to make sure it was of quality. By the way, the conversations about the Crucifix on planes and trains coming home were amazing. Make sure the Catholic stuff you give is memorable and unique if you want it to have an impact.
So what is the Catholic “stuff” you are showing and giving to teens these days?
Take a minute to stop and think about one teen who needs more faith and can have their day made by a gift of something Holy and Catholic. As St. Thomas More said “It can only be disgraceful for some Christians to snore while other Christians are in peril.”