Lost Liturgies File: The Manutergium

It has been a very exhausting but fulfilling weekend here in Washington. Yesterday saw the ordination of eight men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese. This took place at the Basilica. Then receptions, and today the first Masses and more receptions.

I was privileged to preach the First Mass of Fr. John Reutemann. It was a beautiful Mass. I was also pleased to see that he has kept a custom that had recently been lost in the western Church. He presented the manutergium to his mother.

“What,” you may ask, “Is the 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 (oil).  The purpose was to prevent excess oil from dripping onto vestments or the floor during the remainder of the ordination rites. (In the picture to the right, 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 uses 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 (oil).

Manutergium redivivus! In recent years many newly ordained 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 their mother. The same word has been retained for the cloth (manutergium).

According to tradition, the mother of a priest is to keep this precious cloth in a safe place. Upon her death this cloth is placed in her hand as her body lies in the casket. It serves as a reminder that one  of her sons is a priest. She, according to tradition has this as a special glory,  and is to present this manutergium to the Lord at her judgement. Although there is no free ticket to heaven, it is a special honor to have borne a son who became a priest. As I said, Fr. Reutemann presented his manutergium to his mother.

My own story – I also presented the manutergium to my mother  21 years ago. It was very rare in those days for a priest to do so, but I had read of this tradition and was taken by it. I carefully set aside the cloth  I had used to wipe my hands in a bag with my name and asked a seminarian friend of mine who was serving the mass to “guard it with his life!” He did so and proudly handed it to me after the mass having acquitted well his sacred duty. At my first Mass I presented it to my mother.

Five years ago my mother died very suddenly. I wondered if we could find the manutergium in her effects. Sure enough there it was carefully stored in her dresser. I sadly but proudly placed it in her hands at the funeral home and she carried it to her grave. I wept as the casket was closed, but the last sight I had was of my mother carrying that maniturgia to present to the Lord. I pray the Lord well considered it as my mother appeared before him for the great judgment we must all face.

A beautiful tradition from the Lost Liturgies file. Magnificently, this tradition is reviving as many younger priests practice it in a new but similar way.

This video shows the anointing of the priest’s hands in the Current Rite of Ordination. As the Bishop anoints the hands of the priest he says: The Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit, empower, guard and preserve you, that you may sanctify the Christian people and offer sacrifice to God.

66 Replies to “Lost Liturgies File: The Manutergium”

  1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful tradition. Presentation of the maniturgia to a mom has to be one of the most precious moments imaginable and I teared up on your description of your dear mother’s burial. God bless you and may Our Lord increase your ministry!

  2. How beautiful! Thank you Father for sharing so much of our faith with us.

  3. A good friend was ordained in the Austin diocese a short while back, and he gave this “maniturgia” to his mother during his Mass of Thanksgiving, and there was hardly a dry eye in the whole church.

    My question is – why would anyone want to disregard this beautiful tradition?

    1. Well, many things were discarded for many reasons. I think what we are going through now is kind of like a young person going through grandmas attic and bringing down old treasures that were discarded. When they were discarded they had become seemingly less valuable through too much familiarity. After they lay dormant a while the young person brings the item down from the attic as some incredible treasure. To which the older person reponds, “Oh that ole thing? I guess it’s nicer than I remember!”

      1. Fortunately, monsignor, we young folk have been blessed to have a grandfather—or a Grand (Holy) Father?—up in the attic with us, showing us which stuff to bring back down.

        Oremus pro Pontifice nostro!

  4. How about collecting the oil in a jar and than when it fills up using the oil again?

    1. Well it’s kind of a “Rube Goldberg” solution to try and do that. It’s just a few drips here and there which are being avoided. THe cloth of some sort seems best.

  5. Msgr. that is a beautiful tradition which should be revived. I really liked this article and I am sure your dear mother was well received by our Lord. I read your writings late at night, actually well past midnight and it puts a nice, calm ending to my day.
    Thank you.

  6. This is so beautiful. I wanted very much to go to the ordination of four priests in our Archdiocese, but other committments prevented us from doing so. Today’s Mass was given by one of newly ordained priests and it was such a pleasure to hear him do all the Eucharistic prayers. I will have to ask him about this cloth … his parents were in church today with us.

  7. A perhaps picky point: it’s spelled “manutergium,” the last part of the word coming from the Latin word for “to wipe.”

    The manutergium was often elaborately embroidered or painted with symbols. My own was embroidered with the symbols for the seven sacraments.

    1. Thanks Father. I have seen a variety of spellings and wonder if the Italian influenced how the English is spelled. Also, my Latin Dictionary lists a tergium as a towel or cloth. Alas, etymoloiges are often tricky. I am surely ready to defer to your understanding here and am grateful you have supplied it. While I can read Church Latin reasonably well, I am surely no Latin scholar and grammar particularly gets me. I think I was actually reduced to tears when we studied the many uses of the ablative! 🙂

      1. Thank you, Monsignor, for the account of your own special ordination moment–and the touching continuation of that day’s blessing on the day of your mother’s funeral. Your are absolutely in thinking that “manutergium” means “towel” or “cloth.” Your Latin dictionary lists it as a noun; ita! The suffix -ium is not the infinitive verb ending; that, instead, is this: -re. There is no Latin verb present infinitive (translated “to ____” in English) ending in -ium. I offer this only as clarification. I do not mean to detract in the least from the beauty of your article. May you enjoy continuing blessings on your priesthood!

  8. I have never had the good fortune to observe this tradition in action, but the sight of a newly-ordained priest’s mother assisting him to vest is itself a profoundly moving experience which never fails to take me in spirit to the Lord’s home at Nazareth and the simple acts of love which the Blessed Virgin, His Mother, performed for Him.

  9. In the future, let’s hope more bishops choose to use the Extraordinary Form version of the “Ponfiticale.” Then, this tradition will be much better-known. For now, it seems confined to FSSP ordinations and the like.

    This is probably the last book which will find adoption, since we’ll need to wait another 20 or 30 years for these hardcore young priests to become hardcore young bishops.

    First it was the Missal. Then it was the Breviary. Then it was the Ritual. The Pontifical is coming…

    1. I have never studied the extraordinary form of Ordination. I wonder how different it is. One other tradition I know was set aside was that of having the ordinands process into Church with lit candles representing their lives that they were offering. I do not know if this was an intrinsic aspect of the EF ordination or perhaps just a local custom, but it had a beauty about it.

      1. One interesting difference – having to with the anointing of the hands – is that in the extraordinary form, the newly-ordained priest’s hands were anointed with the Oil of Catechumens, not the Sacred Chrism, as it is now in the ordinary form.

  10. Thanks for the good publicity, Monsignor. My friend Charlie Gallagher (now Father Gallagher!) was ordained Saturday. It’s really exciting to see the solidarity and fearless self-effacement of these young priests!

  11. I have never understood why so many of these traditions refer only to the mother. There’s that saying about priestly vocations coming from the hearts of mothers. It’s a little disturbing that Fathers seem to be so often left out. Are fathers really perceived as having no important role in the formation of children, especially sons? This attitude seems also to be shared by many mothers to the implicit denigration of their own husbands. I don’t get it.

    And then we wonder why some men become less active in both religious activities and in raising their children. Why should they bother? They probably feel they won’t get any acknowledgement anyway!

    1. All very interesting Robert. I sort of made this point on my blog post just previous to this: http://blog.adw.org/2010/06/facets-of-a-faithful-father/
      Namely, that Father’s have the primary duty to form theit children in the faith.

      Also, I must say, that Fr. Reutemann gave his Father a gift, the stole that he used to hear his first confession. I have never seen this before and so did not write about it. However it was a beautiful thought.

      Finally just a proposed answer to your point might be that Mother’s tend to be the focus of sentiment, especially from sons. Further, (and sadly) in the West, mothers DO seem to have most of the influence when it comes to faith. It is a rather sad fact that most men in western cultures have delegate the religious upbringing dept. to their wives. Again, my article from yesterday addresses this problem. So culturally I think that’s why she gets the attention. But your point remains a valid one, in the family a Father should be the first influence when it comes to faith.

      1. Thank you Msgr. for a very thoughtful reply! I do appreciate it.

        Good point about the “focus of sentiment.”

        Another point perhaps, which I just thought of: some people really do have a hard time grasping that men and women are different, and approach the same things in differing ways, ie. in how they hand on the faith, how they teach virtues, how they correct, how they address behavior, etc. Men often don’t understand what women do and why, and women often don’t understand what men do and why. Such misunderstanding makes it more diffucult to appreciate what they each do to raise and form children.

        I’ll look at the post you referenced. Thanks again.

      2. You have over-stated the case, Monsignor. There is no reason why a father should be the FIRST influence when it comes to faith. The duty to raise children in the faith belongs to parents equally – due regard being given to individual circumstances. See, for example, nn.36-60 of Familiaris consortio (1981) which speak ceaselessly of “Christian parents”.

        Since many mothers are at home with the child from birth until school-age, it is inevitable that children will imbibe from their mother not only their mother-tongue, but also their basic knowledge of the faith and of prayer. Of course, as Robert says, it is vital that the father should not be left out or side-lined or depute his responsibilities to the mother.

      3. Well, in my own defense, Bain I would say that I am just following the lead of scripture (eg. Eph 6:4) which assigns the task of training children in the discipline and and training of the Lord to the Father. It is clear that the mother has an essential role as well. But the Father is to be the spiritual head of his home and in this sense there is a primacy to his role. I don’t mean to undermine the concept of parents as discussed in FC and the catechism. In my parish, I have the first responsibility and am chief catechist, this does not set aside my absolute dependance on other catechetical leaders here for me to acquit my role, and in many ways, especially in regards to children these catechists are far more effective than I. Yet still I have the first duty.

    2. Women rule the parishes of the American Catholic Church.

      Next time you need to go to your parish office, take a look around. Next time your parish council has an open meeting, take a look around. Next time you attend the distribution of communion at a Mass, take a look around. Who’s serving at the altar? Who are the extraordinary ministers? Who are the lectors? Who’s doing everything but officiating?

      In fact, where does the priest look (in my old parish, for one example) during the liturgy to take his cues? To whom does he look? Who is in charge of the music ministry? At that parish I referred to, the Palm Sunday (I attended four there) is very clearly and completely in control of someone other than the “officiant” or “celebrant”.

      And who is able to marshal more Catholic voters than the United States Council of Catholic Bishops? (Hint: Starts with “Sister” and ends with “Keehan”)

      1. Well, it is hard to argue with your evidence. But it reamisn true that the Pastor, acting under the Bishop’s authority is chief liturgist, cheif catechist et al! He is the Uber man! 🙂

      2. @ J,

        I’m just wondering. Is your comment meant to be sarcastic?

      3. No Anna Maria, I’m just describing the reality. Personally, I think it would have been better if Sister Keehan had not organized so much opposition to the Bishops’ explicit condemnation of pro-abortion legislation, but that’s just my opinion.

        I just thought this snapshot of the American Catholic daily scene could explain what Robert observed, namely the lack of participation by men in parish life. The brand of feminism that has currency in America is not a feminism which celebrates that which is specifically feminine; rather it mobilizes women militaristically to take over male roles while demonizing and casting aspersion on traditionally female roles. That is, it tells women: “You can be men, too!”

        This is of course a hypothesis, but I think that what Robert has observed (and I added to) tends to support that hypothesis.

        To try another example, what happens when a woman chooses to quit her job upon having children, so that she can better perform the full-time job of raising them, managing a bustling household, planning for future household endeavors, in short, oeconomia or economics–management? What happens?

        Well, she’s called upon to explain her unreasonable/cowardly/bad-feminist actions, even by her family and friends (not to mention those propagandists who don’t really care about her but want to use her to advance their brand of feminism).

        No, I would hate to come across as sarcastic, but I do think it is a problem to have a Christian Church governed by women when all the explicit teaching and example of the Gospels and New Testament prescribe or demonstrate a religious community governed (publicly) by men.

        I hope I’m making my distinction between governance and management clear.

      4. Anna Maria, J was not being sarcastic. Rather she is expressing frustration that men, as a group, are not stepping up to the plate in terms of serving their parish communities.

        At my parish, from whom I see at Vigil Mass:

        All but one of the cantors are female
        All but one of the keyboard players are female
        All but one (maybe two) of the Extraordinary Ministers are female
        All but one (maybe two) of the lectors are female
        The vast majority of the altar servers are girls

        and, the anomaly:
        All but one of the ushers are male

        With the exception of the cantors/keyboardists, who need to rehearse music, these roles aren’t onerous. All they require is attending a training/orientation session, a commitment to show up at Mass and enough faith to know that what we offer in terms of our time and talent returning to God what is His.

      5. In fact, Cynthia, I do not think that men are failing to “step up to the plate”. Precisely the opposite. But in my experience, the gynarchy closes ranks when a man tries to get involved in parish administration, and bars access.

        Men are still permitted to show you to your seat, though… perhaps because this does not require them to talk?

      6. LOL at “gynarchy.”

        I’d be interested to hear from the men on this forum whether they’ve felt shut out by a “gynarchy” or whether they simply are reluctant to be one of a tiny minority.

      7. I am “one of the men on this forum”.

        But that aside, I don’t mean to insist that an established gynarchy is the only thing that prevents men from being active in parish life–but I *do* insist that it is *a* thing.

        Another major factor, I think, is that the preaching we hear doesn’t challenge us. The message we hear from the pulpit is one dimensional. We get love and forgiveness to the exclusion of challenge and daring. Men respond well to challenges, clearly defined *and defended* rules. If we’re going to abandon our principles every time there’s a movement to disobey them, we’re going to lose men in parish life (which is precisely what has happened). Preachers just don’t talk about things that make their parishioners feel uncomfortable or alienated–

        –but that’s precisely what we do when we sin!

        We alienate ourselves from God. And we need daring, challenging priests to insist on that, if we want to see male interest in the Church resurge.

        “I’m ok, you’re ok, we’re all ok” is nice, but if it’s true then what is Jesus doing up on that cross?

  12. I have been to several first Masses recently where the celebrant presented the manutergium and observed a similar custom of presenting the father of the newly ordained with the purple stole in which the priest was vested when he first absolved a penitent. In both instances the priest noted that it was from his father that he had first learned about justice and forgiveness. There was not a dry eye in the house. Can you shed any light on this practice?

  13. What a blessing that 3 of the 8 men ordained Saturday served in our parish as seminarians: now Fathers Anthony Lickteig, Blake Evans, and John Reutemann!!

  14. I am a “second-career’ vocation. I was ordained four years ago for the Archdiocese of Boston. My parents are both deceased, but I have the “manutergium” from my ordination. I have 4 sisters all of whom I am very close to now. Not sure what to do with the purificator.
    Fr. Dunn

      1. Father Dunn, over at Father Zuhlsdorf’s blog it was mentioned (during a discussion of funeral garb for deceased priests) that one priest whose mother had died before his ordination had requested that he be buried with his own manutergium. I don’t know if that was ever a custom, or just one priest’s request, though.

    1. If you’ve a nephew that follows your lead, give it to him for his ordination?

  15. Thank you so much Msgr. Pope for this informative and very moving teaching about the “manutergium”. It is so sad that for the legitimate sake of simplifying the rites, the Church has discarded so many beautiful symbols. I am very fond of your articles and comments. God bless you and blessed are your parishioners, dear brother in the priesthood.

  16. Multiple brief comments:
    – I’m thrilled you were able to honor Fr. Reuttemann by preaching at his first Mass. A great celebration for the Archdiocese of Washington. He is a friend through the Chaplain candidate program and I wish I could have been there.
    – The video is of our ’09 ordinands in Cincinnati; Abp. Pilarczyk’s last ordination before his retirement. At that Mass, and this year as Abp. Schnurr had the ordinations, the ordinands used the purificators for the sacred Chrism as a manutergium. This was just recently (re-)allowed/instuted, it seems. It is a beautiful and powerful moment when the new priest presents this to his mother at the Mass of Thanksgiving. And, at least here, presenting the father with the stole from his first Confession has also been done by the new ordinands the past few years as a parallel to the presentation of the manutergium to the mother, per the discussion above.
    – AND, fwiw, at this past weekend’s priesthood ordinations in the Diocese of Covington, Bishop Roger Foys in fact tied the purificator (it looked like a simple purificator to me) around the ordinand’s hands per the traditional use of the manutergium. It’s the first I’ve seen that at an ordination.

    1. Thanks. I am intrigued by your use of the term re-allowed. Has there been some formal permission extended in this regard? I remember that 21 years ago I told the MC of the Mass (a cleric) what I was going to do and he had a bad reaction and said something to effect, “You’re not supposed to do that” and then told me that he’d look the other way but gave me the advice “ask not, lest ye be answered.” It was against thus against the rules in those days and those of us who did, did so on the sly. Now the matter is done more widely and openly. Vut I’d be curious if there has been an actually re-admitance of the practice in some sort of a way or just the acceptance of a custom redivivus.

      1. Msgr. Pope – I would characterize the “re-allow”ance of the use of a purificator as a manutergium as something now “allowed” (or tolerated) because of the widespread requests of the ordinands. In recent memory it had been expressly forbidden. Now, allowances are made for it and it is utilized but in a very simple, off-to-the-side way as the bishop is having his own hands cleansed after the anointing with the Chrism.

        The “on the sly” approach may have been operative here for a few years, from my understanding, but we seem to be able to incorporate this request and tradition into the liturgy *without* a formal re-admittance of the practice.

        Again, as I described the practice in Covington, they seem to have much more formally and officially brought back the use of the manutergium.

  17. what a stunningly beautiful tradition.

    with regard to the questions “why only mom, not dad”?i expect that this tradition started back in the day when a woman’s role in religion was not well regarded, so having a tangible reminder that a wife and mother could do something of value to the church, was a bigger deal.
    i remember reading many of the older books, and it often seemed as though being a wife or mother was not regarded during some times. only being a nun, or a virgin or a martyr….. so here was a tangible reminder for the entire community that ONLY someone who followed the calling to be a wife and a mother (and not a nun) could give the church, and the Lord, such a precious gift as a priest.

    men in general had more active roles in the church in those times, and people didnt need the reminder as much that being a married man was a valid way of contributing to the church.

    in this day and age, having something tangible for both would indeed be a good thing….

  18. I, too, was at Fr. Reutemann’s first Mass yesterday, and I was looking forward to the moment you describe above. As it turns out, my 9 year old son, whom I believe may have a vocation to the priesthood, requested to attend that Mass. After Fr. Reutemann presented the cloth to his mother and the stole from his first confessions to his father, I turned to my husband and said, ” that could be us someday.” What a blessing that would be!

  19. I am struggling a bit with this, Monsignor. St. Paul was speaking to the cultural conditions of his day, of course, and I do not read Eph.6:4 as giving even a primary – let alone an exclusive – role to the father in these matters.

    However, I am more exercised by what you say about your role as chief parish catechist (“I have the first duty”) which I may have misinterpreted. You will be familiar with the law in the subject, so please excuse me for summarising it.

    Canon Law provides (can.774 §2) that parents “before all others” are bound to form their children, by word and example in faith and in Christian living.

    It also provides (can. 776, cf. can. 777) that the parish priest is bound to ensure the catechetical formation of young and old. The same canon provides that he must promote and foster the role of parents in the family catechesis mentioned at can.774 §2.

    There is a substantial difference – as I read these provisions – between the parents immediate duty “to form their children” in the faith, and the parish priest’s duty to “ensure” their catechetical formation: the parents’ duty is indispensable, and the priest’s duties are ancillary.

    Methodical catechesis at parish level is necessarily deferred until the child is at or approaching school age, whereas family catechesis, in the widest sense, begins at the tenderest age and does not wait until a child can speak. Nor does parish catechesis displace the parents’ core responsibility.

    As “Catechesi tradendae” (1979) 68.2 puts it:- “Family catechesis therefore precedes, accompanies and enriches all other forms of catechesis”. The Conciliar Declaration on Christian Education (n.3) is to the same effect.

    1. Well, I think you’re being a bit technical but I don’t think there is any disagreement I have with what you have quoted. I am speaking of parish catechesis. My description of being head catechist is analogous to the family not in lieu of it. . Hence, to restate the analogy, just as I am cheif catechist in my parish and oversee the Sunday school teachers and RCIA instructors, so too should a father be cheif catechist in his home. Just as I cannot do all the catechesis in my parish alone and do not have all the gifts alone, but depend on Catechists, so too a father can and should depend on his wife to supply for his lacks and limits. However, I cannot evade that I am cheifly responsible for ensuring catechesis in my parish and neither can a father evade that he is cheifly responsible (as the scriptures indicate).

  20. I have changed the spelling throughout to manutergium, since that seems the consensus here and is probably more accurate. I have also seen the spelling “manitergia” which I originally used widely. Googling under that spelling seems to yield quite an abundance of hits. I suspect that there is a English spelling influenced by other languages versus Latin spelling at work. Nevertheless, let it not be said that I ever gave the English preference over the Latin! So manutergium it is!

  21. Dear Msgr. Pope: My son informed me on his first day upon entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary-Overbrook that he was going to have the most beautiful “Traditional First Mass” and than me told me about this cloth (Manutergium). Needless to say I was completely in awe of his willingness to share this story with me and to bring back this beautiful tradition. Flash forward four short years and now he is going into 1st theology so God willing he will be ordained in 2014! I am so proud of him for honoring his call to serve GOD and all GOD’S people. Thank you for writing this article as I am just a regular Mom who is continuing to learn about my faith. My son emailed this to me a few minutes ago and I justed wanted to share this with you. GOD bless you Msgr Pope and thanks again. Most Sincerely, Mrs. Lynn Duffy Waters- Mom of David A Waters,Jr.

  22. I am with you on the spelling, Monsignor. If I may be technical again 🙂

    Although “manitergium” didn’t make it into the OED 2nd. edit. (1989), we have in English “manicure”, “maniple” (there is one citation of “maniple or manuple” from 1853 with reference to the liturgical vestment), “manipulate”, and “manifest” – all from the same root “manus” (hand).

    I suspect the spelling “manutergium” is an archaizing back-formation. The word does not exist in Latin or even late Latin, and I doubt that in French, Spanish or Italian it has been domesticated with the “manu-” root.

    In Latin, there are several examples of compounds formed from “manus” where (for euphony, I imagine) the form is “mani-”

    MANICAE (handcuffs), MANICULA (a small hand), MANIPULUS (a handful, whence our “maniple” in both the military and ecclesiastical senses), MANIPULARIS (a trooper), etc. The Oxford Latin Dictionary (1982) gives only two cases where there is even the alternative spelling with manu- namely MANIFESTUS and MANUPLUS (with MANIPLUS, a variant of manipulus).

    1. Thanks for your “technical” assistance here Bain. 🙂 I was feeling kinda lonely with my spelling of “manitergia” and am glad to know that there was good basis for it. As I said, I have seen it spelled that way elsewhere and a google search on the word does yield results.

      1. A further (and final?) distinction: “Manutergia” ought to be reserved for plural references. Failure to maintain these distinctions has given rise to all sorts of errors in American English.
        The spelling of “manutergium” is a neuter noun of the second declension. The forms are these: -um in the singular; -a in the plural. Hence, verbum = a/the word; verba = words Similarly, datum = a fact; data = facts. In my experience, only college professors of mathematics and the sciences correctly use “data” as a plural noun: “The data are confirmed through the recently published report,” for example.

  23. That should be “MANUFESTUS”, as a variant spelling of the adj., although there is no manu- variant for the v. or adv.

    Of course, there are several Latin words from manus which keep the form manu- in compounds

    MANUALIS (held in the hand), MANUBRIUM (a handle), MANUMISSIO (to emancipate) and MANUPRETIUM (a reward, or worker’s payment, with var. MANIPRETIUM).

    In English, there are also words from L. root manu- which preserve the “u”, such as MANUAL, but most of them (including MANUFACTURE) are from the 17th c. or later, meaning they were new coinings wearing their etymology on the sleeve, as it were.

  24. Monsignor,
    At my ordination, Bp Corrada did wrap the manutergium around my hands (as he does). My classmate in Charlotte similarly had the manutergium wrapped around his hands. It seems it’s really making a come back!

  25. Monsignor,

    Thanks for the post. What a great tradition. After ordination I presented my mother with the manutergium and my father with the rosary I carried at ordination. Weeks later I saw they had put both in a shadow box on the wall of their bedroom. My father joked, “we should put a sign on the front that says, ‘In Emergency, Break Glass!'”

    My father was buried with the rosary and my mother will be buried with the manutergium. What a blessing!

    Thanks for your posts.

    Fr. Jim

  26. Msgr. Pope,

    Thank you for posting this wonderful article! I am a seminarian for the Diocese of Charlotte, who studied with Fr. Reutemann at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. In our diocese, it is now common practice for the bishop himself to wrap and tie the maniturgia (manutergium?) around the hands of the newly ordained priests. I think that this is becoming quite the norm in many places as we experience “the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite … mutually enriching” each other.
    On another note, I have heard of giving the stole with which a priest hears his first confession given to his father and I have also heard of a priest giving his father the cross which was on the altar where he offered his first Mass. In both cases, the father is buried with the item. My opinion is that both of these are beautiful expressions of the reality that vocations are given by God, but need to be nurtured in the family.
    Thanks again for all of the wonderful work that you are doing in the vineyard of Our Lord. Please pray for me and be assured of my prayers for you!

    Peter Shaw

  27. Monsignor,

    Priests recently ordained in our diocese, but some of the priests who were ordained 20-30 years ago have questioned the “tradition” of this as A) They had never heard of it at the time of their ordination and B) When they asked older priests, they did not do this. You wrote of having read about this tradition. Do you have an older source for this? Was it going on 100 years ago? 1,000 years ago? In my web search the best source on the subject appeared to be your article here.

    Thanks & God bless

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