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Faith/Spirituality Forum: The black cross that the priest wear

by Catherine Frakas 20 Sep 2001

The black cross that the priest wear QUESTION from Cristill J Desalvo on June 14, 2002 Hi, I'm not sure if this is the right forum but I thought it seemed to be the best choice. My question is about the black crosses that the priest wear with the crucifix of Jesus on top, that has a screw that opens them, and gemstones and a tiny piece of cloth inside. I wanted to know if the cloth is from Jesus and does it and the gemstones have any special meaning, for example, does each color or type of stone represent anything in particular, are they given for good works and does the cloth, stone, or the whole cross aid in miracles? Also do all the priest wear them and have cloth and stones inside theirs or, are the cloth and stones resevered for those who do extra good works for God and the church. I'm asking this because my grandmothers' aunt or great aunt {maria stella I believe was her name} was given one by a priest, a Father for being a good servant to God and the church, and its been in the family ever since. My mother prayed and placed it on top of my brother overnight when he was in the hospital with some sort of infection that blew him up literally like a balloon. He was declared dying by the doctors. By that morning he was healed and the doctors declared it a miracle because they were sure he was going to die. Then about three years later my mother got sick out of the blue, with double pnuemonia and an infection thoughout her whole body and was also blown up like a balloon, and was given a twenty percent chance of survival. Nothing seemed to be help her either and I remembered the cross and prayed and left it on top of her overnight and the next morning she too came back to life. She began pulling out all the tubes and was back to her old self again. Except she has a problem walking now. Can you tell me all about this cross? It's purpose? Are they given to priest for doing special good works, and does the cloth and gemstones somehow aid in miracles? (Although I do know that the cross can do nothing without the grace and love of Jesus}. Do all and only priest get them or can and do the nuns and anyone else get one too. Thank you and may God be with you, Cristill
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on July 6, 2002 Dear Cristill:
I am not sure about what you are referring to. There are many different kinds of crucifixes of many, many different styles.
One thing you can be assured of is that mostly likely the decorations on the cross probably do mean something. Most every item and artwork in the Catholic church as a symbolic meaning.
I imagine that this cross was a Sick Call Cross -- used when visiting the sick an bringing the Most Holy Eucharist to the sick.
Because of that use I am sure that this cross in your family will have many blessings attached.
I Praise God for the recovery of your mother. Indeed, perhaps the blessings of this Cross (which is mostly in the FAITH you have in Christ that is represented by the use of this sacramental) brought a healing to your mother. Praise God!
All priests will have a Sick Call kit. The kit -- which has a crucifix, candles, and other items needed to bring the Most Holy Eucharist to the sick -- may be in a bag, or a specially made carrying case, or in the form of a cross. The one you specifically describe sounds beautiful but is not going to be exactly the same as the ones typically used by priests today.
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