Inviting a priest to lunch?
August 17, 2015 5:48 AM   Subscribe

In the greater NYC area, when having a child baptized in a small private Catholic ceremony, is it normal/accepted/expected to invite the nun and the priest participating to a restaurant lunch after the service? Also in addition to the offering for the baptism, should the parents give an additional, uh, tip? To the priest and nun since they are living off a small stipend.
posted by bilabial to Human Relations (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If this is part of a regular parish programme of activities, and the parents are parishoners, I would neither offer anything additional nor invite the celebrant to lunch.

If you have located this priest independently and he is doing this outside his normal ministry, then I would invite him to lunch and give him an envelope with some cash in it as he is doing you a favour rather than doing his job.

I would generally expect the priest to turn down the lunch invitation, as Catholic priests are increasingly few and therefore increasingly busy, unless the parents have some family or other connection that has led to him in particular being the celebrant.

Nuns don't usually/necessarily have a formal role in baptisms in my experience, but if one is participating in some way, I'd use the above as a general guide. (i.e. is this part of her normal day-to-day duties or is it extra?)
posted by bimbam at 6:08 AM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This is a great question for the church office. However, the gratuity is pretty normal - cash or gift cards are always nice. $100 would be typical. I think it is nice to offer an invitation to lunch afterward but it is by no means expected in my experience.

FWIW, I've never heard of a nun having a role in a Roman baptism.
posted by Tanizaki at 6:34 AM on August 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: In my experience, a Catholic priest will never turn down a free meal.
posted by smackfu at 6:40 AM on August 17, 2015 [5 favorites]

Tanizaki and smackfu have it. It is very typical to offer the priest a thank you card with a small monetary gift inside. Also it is pretty typical to invite the priest to your meal afterwards. Whether he attends or not is a matter of his schedule and temperament.
posted by mmascolino at 6:48 AM on August 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

In my experience (mostly parishes in Chicago) generally it's considered good manners to invite the priest to the meal after the baptism (or wedding or funeral, for that matter). As noted above, they don't always accept--it usually depends on personality, schedule, and personal relationship with the families in question.

I don't know about the tip, however.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:54 AM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

You invite the priest -> they come -> they bless the meal, eat and take off.
The nun? Unless you have a personal connection to them like they're a family friend or something, they will most likely leave after the ceremony is over.

Also, in my experience, we've always had to make an honorarium to the parish for any events: marriage, baptism, funeral.
posted by eatcake at 6:59 AM on August 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't think you tip the priest, though the parish may have a schedule of donations/fees for weddings, baptisms, etc. (Call the parish office or Parish Secretary to inquire.)

And nuns don't have a sacramental role in the baptism itself; Pope Francis can't change everything at once. :7) The parish in question, again, may have their own custom.

(OK, OK: baptism can in emergencies be reduced to the bare essentials -- sprinkling some water and saying the words "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen" -- and can be performed by any Catholic…which could include a nun, or lay person, or whoever. But normally it's the priest, the baby, the parents & godparents -- and everyone else is kind optional.)
posted by wenestvedt at 12:27 PM on August 18, 2015

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