When a priest is ordained, his hands are anointed with oil. They are then wiped clean with a white linen cloth — it’s called a maniturgium.
There is a custom, hundreds of years old, in which each new priest presents that cloth to his mother. She’s usually buried with it. People say she can present that cloth when she arrives at the gates of heaven, to show the Lord that she had given her son to Christ and His Church as a priest.
After his ordination ceremony in 2017, Fr. Matthew Hood presented his maniturgium to his mother. It was a special moment.
But last Sunday, he took it back. He put it in the washing machine. It needed to be used again, at his second priestly ordination ceremony, which would take place the next day.
“Something I never thought I’d do, ever, was wash that cloth. That was so surreal, washing it, so that we could use it again,” Hood told CNA.
He said he had to tell his mom “gimme that back!”
Fr. Hood, 30, thought he’d been ordained a priest back in 2017. But this summer, he learned that his ordination wasn’t valid. That, in fact, his baptism wasn’t valid. It was a difficult discovery. But he told CNA that he sees God’s Providence in the strange events that have unfolded over his life.
In 1990, Matthew Hood and his twin brother were baptized at their family’s suburban Michigan parish by Deacon Mark Springer. Hood says a lot of babies were being baptized in the parish at that time; there were ten babies baptized alongside him, even. He grew up a Catholic, and eventually entered seminary.
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