Of all the sacraments, I feel perhaps most prepared to advise on gift giving in regards to the sacrament of Confirmation. I’ve given a lot of input regarding gifts for this occasion over the past decade!
Let me explain. My day job for the past seven years has been working as the Director of Faith Formation at a Catholic parish, and though my role has shifted over the years depending on the needs and desires of the community, the pastor and the archdiocese, the one piece of my professional duties that stayed the same throughout was designing and facilitating the Confirmation program. This makes me happy, as I love teaching Confirmation preparation classes, working with sponsors to prepare them for their role, getting to know the teen confirmation candidates (our archdiocese confirms students in 10th grade after two years of preparation), and the Confirmation service itself.
One of the questions that I’ve been asked frequently during this time by parents and sponsors is what might be a nice gift for them to give their son/daughter/niece/nephew/grandchild/friend for this special occasion, and I’ve shared many ideas over the years. If I were to be asked the question again right now, here are some ideas that I would recommend.
A Statue or Print of their Confirmation SaintI think that one of the most fun and meaningful aspects of the Confirmation preparation process is when candidates get to choose a Confirmation name. While some of my students choose to stick with their Baptismal name, many go the route of choosing the name of a saint who is significant to them for one reason or another. To find their saint, they take a deep dive into the communion of saints, learning about who is patron saint of what, where and how various people of faith lived their lives, and how different figures over the years have come to know and share Jesus with the world. Selecting a gift that in some way relates to their Confirmation Saint name choice — such as a statue or an art print — is a lovely way to honor their selection and nurture their relationship with that saint.
A Rosary or a Prayer JournalYou can’t go wrong with giving any sort of gift that contributes to cultivating and deepening the Confirmation candidate’s prayer life. For instance, you can choose a beautiful set of rosary beads along with instructions for how to pray the rosary, or an offer to pray the rosary together. Since there are so many lovely choices as far as rosary beads go, I would choose one that feels in some way personal to the candidate, maybe their favorite color or a style that you think would appeal to them. Another idea is to give a journal in which they can write their prayers, notes from any sort of spiritual reading, or reflections on life.
A Piece of Jewelry
What I love most about the religiously significant jewelry that I own and wear is that it provides a tangible sign of my faith, and therefore a reminder to me to live into and from my faith on a daily basis. For instance, a necklace depicting Mary helps me remember to mother like Mary (gently, prayerfully, and openly) and to turn to Mother Mary in my times of need. Jewelry given to Confirmation Candidates can serve the same purpose. For instance, this Holy Spirit necklace is a perfect way to remind confirmands of the power of the sacrament of Confirmation as an outward sign of the invisible Holy Spirit filling their hearts, minds and souls.
A Spiritual Classic or Contemporary Religious Book
There are so many wonderful books that serve to nourish the spiritual life and are beautiful both inside and out, making them lovely gifts for the sacrament of Confirmation. For instance, The Story of a Soul, better known to the English public as The Autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, is a spiritual classic detailing the inner journey of St. Therese, and inviting readers to embark on their own journey of faithful discovery. Nunc Coepi: A Year of Prayer is a year-long devotional (that can be returned to year after year) including excerpts from the Psalms, the Gospels, and spiritual guides such as Jean Pierre de Cassaude, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, Philip Neri, the Desert Fathers and Mothers, and Gabrielle Bossis. Both of these books (and many more) are timeless in that they will be of interest to Confirmation candidates as they are pre-teens and teens, and for many years into the future.