For the head of Christendom, why not a rare chasuble made of piña cloth?
The Mother Butler Guild (MBG), a group of Catholic women that has clothed hundreds of clergymen on many liturgical occasions, is giving Pope Francis a chasuble spun from native fibers as a souvenir of his visit to the Philippines.
Former Philippine Ambassador to the Vatican Henrietta de Villa told reporters that the chasuble—the outermost liturgical vestment worn by priests and bishops—would be made of piña cloth.
It will also be of plain cream hue, as simple as the Argentine Pontiff, she added.
“It’s going to be made from piña so he can see our native material for the barong Tagalog,” said De Villa, also president of the guild.
The guild was named after Mother Marie Joseph Butler, an Irish nun of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The Irish nun’s love for the Eucharist sparked the establishment of the group in Manila in 1961.
The late Rufino Cardinal Santos founded the Mother Butler Guild of the Archdiocese of Manila on April 28, 1961.
For the four-day papal visit starting on Jan. 15, the guild will provide vestments for some 3,000 bishops and priests who will be attending the papal Mass at Manila Cathedral on the second day of Francis’ visit and the Eucharistic Mass at the Quirino Grandstand on Jan. 18, De Villa said.
“We will provide vestments only for the priests and bishops because the Pope brings his own,” she added.
Aside from giving the Pontiff a chasuble, the guild is also producing stoles for the priests, and vestments and mitres for the bishops, De Villa said.
The garments will be in simple colors—either cream or beige.
“It’s going to be plain because the Pope doesn’t like too many embellishments and he doesn’t want extravagance,” De Villa said.
Knowing about the Pope’s taste for simple things, organizers of his visit have made sure that everything will be modest—from the food that will be served on the popemobile to papal chairs and liturgical furniture that will be used during the papal Masses.
De Villa said the group was providing a total of 4,000 garments for the clergy’s use during the Holy Masses to be led by Francis, but only 3,000 of them could be used.
“We ordered an additional 1,000 because there will be two Masses—at Manila Cathedral and Luneta,” De Villa said. “We might run short of the garments so we made sure there are extras.”
The vestments are expected to be delivered by next week or the first week of January, she said.
The guild provided vestments during the visit of Pope Paul VI in 1970 and Pope John Paul II’s visits in 1981 and 1995, during the beatification of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, among other important liturgical celebrations.
It also provided services during the 10th World Youth Day and the 400th anniversary celebrations of Nueva Segovia, Manila and Cebu.