HIS WORD… my words…
Fr. Julius C. Lupot
UST Graduate School
MAY 14, 2017 – FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (Cycle A) – “Mothers’ Day”
READINGS: Acts of the Apostles 6: 1-7 / Psalm 33: 1-2. 4-5. 18-19 / 1 Peter 2: 4-9 / JOHN 14: 1-12
HIS WORD…I AM THE WAY AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME. IF YOU KNOW ME, THEN YOU WILL ALSO KNOW MY FATHER.
my words… Today is Mothers’ Day… and I would like to offer special thoughts and special readings to our beloved mothers and most especially to “Mothers of Priests” in the world. I love my Mother so much… so this is for you Mama Doring and to all mothers of priests: (This is totally quoted from the article of Fr. Michael F. Duffy:Father, Where Art Thou? Where A Newly-Minted Priest Explores His Fatherhood, 2012).
Monica, Mothers, and the Manutergium
August 27, 2012 by Fr. Michael F. Duffy
The Church honors St. Monica – mother of the great Saint Augustine – as patron saint of all sacrificing mothers. Many of us know the story of Monica – a devout woman who desired nothing more than to see her son converted to Catholic Christianity. Through her prayers, tears, and example, Augustine as we all know eventually converted and is today one of the great saints of our Church.
I couldn’t help but think of Monica’s motherhood and her role in the life of her son. Her story brought me to think of my own mother and by extension ofthe mothers of priests everywhere. The mother of a priest is a special person – she nurtures a vocation from the very beginning. Just as our Lady nurtured our Lord from the beginning so too does the mother of a priest nurtures the vocation of her son.
Because of the role of the mother of a priest in her son’s vocation and formation, the tradition of honoring her at the first mass of her son arose. The newly ordained presents to his mother the “manutergium”. But what is a “MANUTERGIUM”?
The MANUTERGIUM (from the Latin,manu+tergium = hand towel) was a long cloth that was wrapped around the hands of the newly ordained priest after the Bishop anointed his hands with the Sacred Chrism (holy oil). The purpose was to prevent excess oil from dripping onto vestments or the floor during the remainder of the ordination rites. (Here, the newly ordained priest has his hands wrapped with the manutergium).
The use of the manutergium was discontinued in the current Rite of Ordination. Currently, the newly ordained steps aside to a table after his hands are anointed and use a “purificator” to wipe away any excess oil. While it is not technically called the “manutergium” nor is it exactly the same in design or usage, (for the hands are not wrapped by it), nevertheless this is still a cloth used to wipe away the excess Chrism (holy oil).
“Manutergium Redivivus”!!! In recent years many newly ordained priests have carefully set aside these purificators in a bag with their name on it so that they may retain this purificator and present it to theirrespective mothers. The same word has been retained for the cloth (manutergium). (Msgr. Charles Pope blogged on this topic).
According to tradition, the manutergium is placed around the hands of the mother of a priest as she lies in the coffin. When she arrives to the gates of heaven she is escorted directly to our Lord. Our Lord says to the woman: “I have given you life, what have you given to me?” She hands him the manutergium and responds, “I have given you my son as a priest.” At this Jesus grants her entry into paradise.
Presenting the manutergium to my mother during my first Mass: I presented to my own mother the manutergium with which I wiped the Sacred Chrism from my hands during my ordination. Before that I grasped a pair of wooden rosary beads so that the oil would soak in. At my first Mass I presented those rosary beads to my only sister. To my father I presented the stole with which I heard my first confession.I write all this to simply say that a man does not become a priest on his own. His family accompanies him on the journey to the altar. Monica accompanied Augustine to conversion and ultimately to sainthood by her prayers and tears and example.
It is often said that vocations don’t come from the clouds – they come from families.
It was that way for Augustine. It was that way for this priest.
My dear Mothers of Priests, and my own Mother, HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY to all of you!!!
We thank you for the vocation that you nourished in us… We thank you for your great love… We thank you for caring for us… We thank GOD for giving you to us that we may have life here on earth… You are indeed SPECIAL in this world!!! God bless you more with life and love… Happy Mothers’ Day!!!
To All Priests: Let us start preserving and perhaps reconstructing our “Manutergium” for the love of our Beloved Mothers. For the newly-ordained and the about-to-be-ordained, this beautiful tradition makes sense for the love of and gratitude to our biological mothers. Do it now… God bless us…