22 November 2019

Top 10-ish Home Chapel Gifts Guide

'Tis the season, as they say.  While you are thinking about the gifts you are getting and giving this Advent/Christmas Season, I would encourage you all to buy something for your family's pray corner/little oratory/chapel.  While the resource page above has plenty of sources for items and accouterments, below is a curated best-of list for 2019... a top 10, of sorts... 10 ish.


 1. If you don't already have a Sick Call Cross, get this one Black Wood St. Benedict Cross.  It is high quality, and every home needs one... period.  Fr. Jerabek has an excellent blog post on them here: Sick Call Crucifix

2. A space for prayer.  If you are struggling to find a place to gather in your home or wondering where to start, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this book: The Little Oratory

Call to Prayer and Sacramentals

1. If there is one book you read as a family this advent, read "Searching for and Maintaining Peace" by Jacques Philippe

2. I carry two pieces of rope with me, a Rosary and a Chotki.  In my mind, if one lung is getting sluggish, I can breathe with the other one.  If you don't have one or the other, I recommend a ladder Rosary from Benedict's Beads (seen below) and a Chotki from Christ the Bridegroom Monastery.

3. Get some oil blessed.  Blessed Oil for home use is different than what is used in the Sacraments of the Church.  The exorcism prayer over it is quite lovely, and it has many uses.  Blessed Oil can be used to bless yourself or your children, it can be used in cooking, and it can be burned in oil vigil lamps.  We burn ours in vigil lamps, so I have this recommendation, you want to buy real olive oil and not a blend because we want to give the best to our Lord, but you don't want Extra Virgin Olive Oil, because it has more particulates and will clog your wicks.  We have had good luck with Filippo Berio olive oil, but I hear Cosco Olive Oil works great.

4. The Liturgy of the Hours.  Get it, say the black, do the red.

Smells and Bells

1. I'm an advocate for Incense use in the home... If you want to start out, this advent season, I recommend 3 purchases.  Get this censer.  It is inexpensive, it holds heat well, it breathes well, and it has a wooden handle.  Get this incense.  It has a nice lemony scent on the front and a musky finish, best of all it is hypoallergenic.  Finally, get this charcoal.  Three Kings is the brand used in a lot of churches, and the 33mm size is much better for home use.

2.  You NEED bells.  If You buy them from Catholic Liturgicals, they are reasonably priced to the point that you don't mind if your 3-year-old gets a little vigorous ringing the bells for night prayers.  While you are there, get yourself a clackus... you deserve it.

3. We make our own beeswax candles for our specific needs, but if that is not your cup of tea, the place I would recommend would be Saints Mary and Martha Orthodox Monastery.  There are others, to be sure, but I have either found inconsistent products elsewhere, or I just haven't tried some companies.

For the Connoisseur

1.  The Hand Cross (Blessing Cross) used by eastern priests and bishops is equally appropriate in the home to bless your children.  While the icon style ones (above) are pretty, go with an Ethiopian Hand Cross.  They are beautiful, full of meaning, and handmade.  The price is pretty easy too.

2. Icons are always a good choice.  As we are celebrating the incarnation of Jesus, an icon of the Nativity would be very appropriate.  I would like to recommend, this year, that instead of going with the classic Rublev nativity that would take a lot of explaining to Latin friends, that you go with this beautiful icon that keeps with eastern sentiments but doesn't shove St. Joseph away.

3. Everybody loves the hanging vigil lamps, but if you are just starting out, start easy.  Go with a Heavy glass Votive Lamp that you can sit on a shelf or table.  They are inexpensive, easy to manage, and very pretty.  As a plus, they are readily available from a US-based vendor so you don't have to wait 3 months for a shipment from Greece or Russia.  Get the floating wick and use blessed olive oil.

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