Here is Father’s Commentary:
A ‘purificator’ is used at Mass to purify the sacred vessels. This one is the last one that Pope Paul VI used before his death. The last Mass that he presided over was August 3, 1978.
And who knows how this item got out. We can assume what happened, because other stories are like this. The nuns who took care of his household were aware that this might be one of his last Masses. They may have taken this knowing he was in such poor health.
On August 6, 1978, after evening Mass, Paul VI suffered a massive heart attack. He died 3 hours later and was buried in St. Peter’s Basilica.
Paul VI was in a comatose state after his last Mass although Mass was still celebrated in his room, but not by him. So again, this is a very meaningful item to be connected to a Pope saying Mass–and his last Mass.
A number of items in the Collection are more worldly than this one, but it always comes back to the Eucharist, to the Body and Blood of Christ. It’s so humbling to hold something like this. History textbooks will never include this item in details about Pope Paul VI, but it concerns a moment in time that was a part of his history. It is a unique item and so connected to the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, and to this Holy Father’s last Mass.
All these items should lead us back to Christ and to the Eucharist. That is the purpose of this Collection–to lead us back to Christ.
Pope St. Paul VI, pray for us!
—Father Richard Kunst
August 3, 1978: Pope Paul VI Celebrated His Last Mass. This is the Purificator used by him.
Pope Paul VI died of a massive heart attack on the feast of the Transfiguration, August 6th, 1978.
It is, perhaps, Divine Providence that the alarm clock he bought as a young priest working as an attache to the nuncio in Poland, suddenly rang at the exact time of his death.
In Poland, a young cardinal, Karol Wojtyla, was celebrating Mass when the sky exploded in a storm in the mountain, also at the time of Pope Paul VI’s death.
This purificator is from Pope Paul VI’s last Mass.
In Witness to Hope , the biography of Blessed John Paul II, George Weigel quotes John Paul II about Paul VI, a man he deeply respected and admired.
Paul VI was a man of deep faith, profound compassion, and acute intelligence. It is questionable if these finest of personal qualities rendered him incapable of setting a firm course for the post-conciliar Church.
In 1964, Paul VI struck Archbishop Wojtyla, who esteemed him, as a man fatigued by love.