19 Sept – NAPLES: The blood of St Januarius liquefied!

Il cardinale Crescenzio Sepe durante la celebrazione in occasione della festa di San Gennaro a Napoli, 19 settembre 2015. ANSA / CIRO FUSCO

Il cardinale Crescenzio Sepe durante la celebrazione in occasione della festa di San Gennaro a Napoli, 19 settembre 2015. ANSA / CIRO FUSCO

According to ANSA the miracle was repeated today: the preserved blood of the 4th c. martyr St. Januarius (San Gennaro) liquified.  Good thing for Naples!

Here is something that I wrote for the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald:

The feast of the bishop martyr St Januarius (d c 305), known in Italian as San Gennaro, is celebrated this week.  He is the patron saint of Naples where the faithful venerate vials of his dried blood which regularly liquefies on three days a year: 19 September (the saint’s feast), 16 December (anniversary of the 1631 eruption of the volcano Vesuvius which looms over the Bay of Naples), and the 1st Sunday of May (the day of the translation or moving of the saint’s relics to Naples).

16_09_19_Gennaro_02The liquefaction of San Gennaro’s blood is taken seriously by the people of the area. When it fails to change state, bad things tend to happen, such as famine, disease and earthquakes, for example, the terrible quake of 1980 which killed almost 3000 people and injured thousands more.  Hence, on these special liquefying days, throngs jam the Cathedral. The Cardinal Archbishop displays the reliquary with the larger of the two ampoules and slowly oscillates it.  When it changes, he announces “The miracle has happened”, thus launching the corybantic assemblage into that great hymn of praise the Te Deum.

Scientists can’t explain this phenomenon.  One inexplicable detail is that the weight and volume of the blood isn’t always the same after the blood solidifies again.  Sometimes the weight increases and the volume decreases, and vice versa.  Sometimes the liquid bubbles or foams becomes bright red.  At other times it is duller and rather viscous.  And it seems truly to be blood. In 1902 it was examined. The spectral lines produced by the light that passed through it had the characteristics of hemoglobin.  In any event, this miraculous transformation has been observed consistently since it was first noticed during a procession in 1389.  That’s a solid track record.

Speaking of miracles, if we do not believe in miracles, we do not ask for them.  While we accept God’s will and schedule in all things, if we do not ask for miracles they will not be granted.

We are not alone. The Church Militant (us) and the Church Triumphant (saints and angels) are closely knit, interwoven in charity. In this vale of tears we must intercede for each other.  We must believe in and ask for the intercession of saints.  No one is too small to be an occasion of grace for others.

How often do you invoke the help of the saints and holy angels?



Check out the entry on St. Januarius by my friend Greg DiPippo at NLM.  Very cool stuff there.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Looked at a “skeptical science” site that offered several solutions. (Already in trouble, because multiplying answers is the same as admitting you don’t know what you’re talking about.) They seemed pretty laughable to me.

  2. Akita says:

    Seemingly the Neopolitans can relax in 2017. Any earthly cataclysm would leave them untouched. Or, perhaps the liquefaction of St Januarius’ blood will mean an earthly cataclysm will affect their bodies, spurring many to return to confession and a massive revival of the Mass of Ages in Naples. Either way they win.

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  4. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Good for Naples. Now, what about the rest of us?

  5. Dr. Edward Peters says: what about the rest of us?

    We must pray for miracles and storm heaven and the Church Triumphant with our petitions.

  6. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Okay. (Still, a little miracle now and then would help. Or, it would, me, anyway.)

  7. Pingback: St Gennaros blod blir flytende igjen » EN KATOLSK WEBLOG

  8. guans says:

    That’s all. “Jesus, please come into the my life in a more personal, direct way.” Few prayers are more potent. Perhaps none. (from: http://www.spiritdaily.com/potentprayer.htm )

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