Readings & Reflections: Tuesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Januarius, September 19,2017

Readings & Reflections: Tuesday of the Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Januarius, September 19,2017

The martyrdom of Januarius is well attested by ancient authorities. The earliest testimony about Januarius is the record of the priest Uranius, who, in 432 A.D. wrote of the miraculous appearance of Januarius, “bishop and martyr and glory of the church of Naples,” to Saint Paulinus of Nola on his deathbed. According to traditions, Januarius was a bishop of Benevento in Italy, received word that the deacons Sossus and Proclus and the laymen Euticius and Acutius were imprisoned under the brutal emperor Diocletian. Januarius prepared to visit the men in prison. The Romans arrested Januarius with his companions Festus and Desiderius on their way to perform this work of mercy. All seven men were sentenced to death and exposed to wild beasts. When the beasts refused to attack them, the men were beheaded in the year 305 A.D. Since 1389 A.D., a vial of his solidified blood housed in Naples is said to liquefy miraculously when brought out for veneration on the saint’s three feast days. This much-studied occurrence continues to defy full scientific explanation. His relics were brought to Naples, which lies in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius, an active volcano. When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 1631 A.D., prayers to the saint are believed to have protected the city from destruction. Over the centuries, the phenomenon has moved the hearts of countless visitors to Naples, notably Blessed John Henry Newman and Saint Alphonsus Liguori.

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Opening Prayer

“Lord God, your presence brings life and restores us to wholeness of mind, body, and spirit. Speak your word to me and give me renewed hope, strength and courage to follow you in all things and to eagerly serve others with a glad and generous heart.” In Jesus’ Mighty Name, I pray.  Amen.

Reading 1
1 Tm 3:1-13

Beloved, this saying is trustworthy:
whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task.
Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable,
married only once, temperate, self-controlled,
decent, hospitable, able to teach,
not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle,
not contentious, not a lover of money.
He must manage his own household well,
keeping his children under control with perfect dignity;
for if a man does not know how to manage his own household,
how can he take care of the Church of God?
He should not be a recent convert,
so that he may not become conceited
and thus incur the Devil’s punishment.
He must also have a good reputation among outsiders,
so that he may not fall into disgrace, the Devil’s trap.

Similarly, deacons must be dignified, not deceitful,
not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain,
holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.
Moreover, they should be tested first;
then, if there is nothing against them,
let them serve as deacons.
Women, similarly, should be dignified, not slanderers,
but temperate and faithful in everything.
Deacons may be married only once
and must manage their children and their households well.
Thus those who serve well as deacons gain good standing
and much confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.

The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 101:1b-2ab, 2cd-3ab, 5, 6

R. (2) I will walk with blameless heart.
Of mercy and judgment I will sing;
to you, O LORD, I will sing praise.
I will persevere in the way of integrity;
when will you come to me?
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
I will walk with blameless heart,
within my house;

I will not set before my eyes
any base thing.
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret,
him will I destroy.
The man of haughty eyes and puffed.up heart
I will not endure.
R. I will walk with blameless heart.
My eyes are upon the faithful of the land,
that they may dwell with me.
He who walks in the way of integrity
shall be in my service.
R. I will walk with blameless heart.

Gospel
Lk 7:11-17

Jesus journeyed to a city called Nain,
and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him.
As he drew near to the gate of the city,
a man who had died was being carried out,
the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
A large crowd from the city was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
he was moved with pity for her and said to her,
“Do not weep.”
He stepped forward and touched the coffin;
at this the bearers halted,
and he said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”
The dead man sat up and began to speak,
and Jesus gave him to his mother.
Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, exclaiming,
“A great prophet has arisen in our midst,”
and “God has visited his people.”
This report about him spread through the whole of Judea
and in all the surrounding region.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection 1 – Jesus said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!”

In Luke 7:1-10 the centurion approached Jesus in great faith on behalf of a sick servant. In today’s reading (Luke 7:11-17) it is Jesus who approached a man already dead. From faith, we are brought to God’s sympathy as Jesus shows how he felt for the widow’s sad and difficult situation. We experience life amidst death as Jesus demonstrates that He has the power to raise the dead, a way to assure us that on the last day all who are found to have lived with and for Him will be brought back to life, life to the fullest and till eternity.

Today we may be sick in some way and may have turned to Jesus for healing and forgiveness, for a blessing that will help us to go on. The impossible may have consumed us. We may feel dead and beyond hope in some way, yet if we bring our woes to Him, our faith affirms that Jesus will work in us, lifts us up even at times when we feel that we are at the end of the line.

Let us place ourselves before Jesus and allow Him to bring us from the path of death to the path of life (physically and spiritually) as we respond to His call. He wants us to have the purest hope and the purest trust on Him as we go through the dark valleys of our journey. Let us be totally dependent on Him.

“Jesus is Way, the Truth and the life.” John 14:6 “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed from death to life” (John 5:24).

In today’s first reading St Paul highlights the true picture of God’s Church, the body of Christ, amidst the divisions, cliques and spiritual hierarchy that prevailed in the Corinthian church. He portrayed to them what it meant to be part of the body of Christ as he presented the human body, with arms, legs, eyes, hands and stomach etc that are working together. He enlightened them that the church is made up of distinct parts yet complementing each other.

As we become members of the body of Christ, we should be able to give up our identity as an arm, leg or eye and be able to take a broader outlook as part of a body—that of the body Christ– resurrected and sustained by the Holy Spirit. As members of God’s church, we should be able to adapt the “we” instead of “I” attitude and give up our status and distinctions, even our desire to take control, as we have specific roles that complement those of our other brothers and sisters in community. We are all servants with duties to pursue yet leaders who are supposed to bring each other to God and His heavenly kingdom.

Direction

“Do not weep.” Live for Christ as He is the Way, the Truth and the Life!

Prayer

Lord God let me be faithful to you and dwell in your presence. Enable me to walk in the way of integrity so that I may always be in your service. In Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Reflection 2 – Love overcomes death

Jesus not only grieved the untimely death of a young man, but he showed the depth of his concern for the woman who lost not only her husband, but her only child as well. Moved by the tears of the widowed mother, Jesus intervenes to restore her son to life. What does the gospel means?

Jesus did not come to do away with death. But rather to tell us that God’s compassion and power reach out to us, in and beyond death, and that therefore, ultimately, God’s love will overcome.

There’s an old story about a 12 year old boy who died of snake bite. The poison took away his life and his grieving parents carried his body to the holy man and laid it before him. And the three of them sat around the body sadly for a long, long time. Then the father finally arose from his grieving, went over to his child, stretched out his hands over the feet of the child, and said, “In all my life I have not worked for my family as I should have.” And the poison left the feet of the child. Then the mother rose and she stretched her hands over the heart of the child, and she said, “In all my life I have not loved my family as I should.” And the poison left the heart of the child. And the holy man stretched out his hands over the head of the dead boy and he said, “In all my life I have not believed the words I have spoken.” And the poison left the head of the child. The child rose up, and the parents and the holy man rose up, and the village rejoiced that day.

That’s what the gospel is about. We make gestures of love. We don’t think we’re going to cure the entire world. But God has called you and me for a purpose to make a gesture of compassion, and hope. Do we?

So listen to the gospel anew. It’s a gesture that counts. The sign of hope counts. The motion of ultimate victory begins in our gesture of love. Jesus did that in his time. We are invited to do it in our time.

“Lord, your presence brings life and restores us to wholeness of mind, body, and spirit. Speak you your word to me and give me renewed hope, strength and courage to follow you in all things and to eagerly serve others with a glad and generous heart.”

Reflection 3 – The Lord had compassion on her

How do you respond to the misfortunes of others? In a number of places the Gospel records that Jesus was “moved to the depths of his heart” when he met with individuals and with groups of people. Our modern use of the word “compassion” doesn’t fully convey the deeper meaning of the original Hebrew word which expresses heart-felt “sympathy” and personal identification with the suffering person’s grief and physical condition. Why was Jesus so moved on this occasion when he met a widow and a crowded funeral procession on their way to the cemetery? Jesus not only grieved the untimely death of a young man, but he showed the depth of his concern for the woman who lost not only her husband, but her only child as well. The only secure means of welfare in biblical times was one’s family. This woman had lost not only her loved ones, but her future security and livelihood as well.

Jesus is lord of the living and the dead
The Scriptures make clear that God takes no pleasure in the death of anyone (see Ezekiel 33:11) – he desires life, not death. Jesus not only had heart-felt compassion for the widow who lost her only son, he also had extraordinary supernatural power – the ability to restore life and to make a person whole again. Jesus, however, did something which must have shocked the sensibilities of the widow and her friends. Jesus approached the bier to make physical contact with the dead man. The Jews understood that contact with a dead body made oneself ritually unclean or impure. Jesus’ physical touch and personal identification with the widow’s loss of her only son not only showed the depths of his love and concern for her, but pointed to his desire to free everyone from the power of sin and moral corruption, and even death itself. Jesus’ simple word of command – “Young man, arise” – not only restored him to physical life, but brought freedom and wholeness to his soul as well as his body.

The Lord Jesus has power to restore us to wholeness of life – now and forever
This miracle took place near the spot where the prophet Elisha raised another mother’s son back to life again (see 2 Kings 4:18-37). Jesus claimed as his own one whom death had seized as its prey. By his word of power he restored life for a lad marked for death. Jesus is Lord not only of the living but of the dead as well. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins he also triumphed over the grave when he rose again on the third day, just as he had promised his disciples. Jesus promises everyone who believes in him, that because he lives (and will never die again), we also shall have abundant life with and in him both now and forever (John 14:19). Do you trust in the Lord Jesus to give you abundant life and everlasting hope in the face of life’s trials, misfortunes, and moments of despair?

“Lord Jesus, your healing presence brings life and restores us to wholeness of mind, body, and spirit. Speak your word to me and give me renewed hope, strength, and courage to follow you in the midst of life’s sorrows and joys.” – Read the source: http://dailyscripture.servantsoftheword.org/readings/2017/sep19.htm

Reflection 4 – Hope for any situation

Today’s Gospel reading is a message of hope for any situation. Think of the widowed mother as a symbolic Mary and her dead son as Jesus. This incident foreshadowed Christ’s resurrection.

See the dead son as anyone you know who has left the faith, or anyone who has been wounded or abused, or anyone who has lost much in a disaster such as a fire or flood or storm.

“God has visited his people” is the good news. The Spirit of Christ can drive out fear, despair, anger, and thoughts of revenge. “I tell you, arise!” Jesus is saying. Our heavenly Father has new life to give.

To “arise” might mean getting back to normal routines. It means standing up to the abuser and drawing a boundary that says “no more.” It can mean walking away from someone who’s causing harm, and seeking experts who will help with the recovery process.

In a resurrection, there is always something new: a new way of dealing with the problem, or a new place to work or a new parish to join, or a new courage and inner strength to live a changed life.

To “arise” always includes a new understanding of the Father’s protective love, which comforts us in the midst of evil and leads us from tragedies into triumphs and from woundedness into recovery. God protects us through the decisions that he guides us to make, but if we ignore his guidance and end up suffering from our error, he still says, “Rise up! A new day is dawning!”

Jesus is a redeemer who overcomes death by making good arise from the ashes — despite all obstacles. We make ourselves vulnerable to life-destroying evil by the bad choices we make, but Christ is always at our side helping us despite our mistakes and sins.

Even when we don’t ask for it, he is helping us. How merciful he is! Even when we don’t accept the help he provides, he doesn’t stop doing more. How caring he is!

Hope is not wishful thinking. It is the awareness of God’s goodness. As you grow stronger in hope, evangelize this hope to those around you who need to hear Jesus say, “Arise!”

Questions for Personal Reflection:
In what ways do you need new life? Think of people you know who are suffering or have lost faith. How can you help them receive Christ’s message of “Arise!”?

Questions for Family & Community Faith Sharing:
How does believing in God’s goodness help us find hope? How does hope drive out fear, despair, anger, or thoughts of revenge? Read the source: http://gnm.org/good-news-reflections/?useDrDate=2016-06-04

Reflection 5 – A reason for hope

Today’s Gospel reading is a message of hope for any situation. Think of the widowed mother as a symbolic Mary and her dead son as Jesus. This incident foreshadowed Christ’s resurrection. Perhaps Mary heard about this miracle and found hope in it on Good Friday.

Read it again and see the dead son as anyone you know who has left the faith, or anyone who has been wounded or abused, or anyone who has lost much in a disaster such as a fire or earthquake or hurricane. Something inside them has died.

“God has visited his people” is the good news that this scripture is saying. It can replace fear, despair, anger, and thoughts of revenge. “I tell you, arise!” Jesus is saying. Our heavenly Father has new life to give.

To “arise” might mean getting back to normal routines. It sometimes means standing up to the abuser and drawing a boundary that says “no more.” It can mean walking away from someone who’s causing harm, and seeking experts who will help with the recovery process.

In a resurrection, there is always something new: a new way of dealing with problems, a new place to work or a new parish to join, or a new courage and inner strength to live a changed life.

To “arise” always includes a new understanding of the Father’s protective love, which comforts us in the midst of evil and leads us from tragedies into triumphs and from woundedness into recovery. God protects us through the decisions that he guides us to make, but if we ignore his guidance and end up suffering from our error, he still says, “Rise up! A new day is dawning!”

God also comforts us and protects us by bringing to us others who can help, but if they ignore his calling or if they fulfill their role poorly, Jesus still says to us, “I am here! Arise with me!” And he calls us to follow him in a new direction.

Evil produces evil and good produces good and God is, because of his infinite goodness, a redeemer who overcomes what is evil by making good arise from it — despite all obstacles. We make ourselves vulnerable to evil by the bad choices we make, but God is always at our side helping us despite our mistakes and sins.

Even when we don’t ask for it, he is helping us. How merciful he is! Even when we don’t accept the help he provides, he doesn’t stop doing more. How caring he is!

Hope is not wishful thinking. It is the awareness of God’s goodness. As you grow stronger in hope, evangelize this hope to those around you who need to hear Jesus say, “Arise!” – Read the source: http://gnm.org/good-news-reflections/?useDrDate=2017-09-19

Reflection 6 – Life-Giving Words

You He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins. –Ephesians 2:1

In Luke 7 we read the dramatic story of what happened when Jesus encountered a large funeral procession. A widow was on her way to the cemetery to bury her only son. With a heart full of compassion, Jesus spoke to the woman, touched the coffin, and with a command brought her son back to life.

What happened to that young man is an illustration of what happens to a person who is converted to Christ. Until you and I come in contact with the Savior, we are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1) and on our way to the cemetery of what the Bible calls the second death (Rev. 20:6). We will be eternally separated from God’s love unless we are spiritually reborn.

But when Jesus speaks to the needy sinner through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, and the person puts his faith in Jesus, instantly he receives new life. Peace, joy, and blessing will follow.

Friend, have you heard the life-giving words of Jesus? He alone can take away the deadness of your soul and give you a thrilling awakening that brings forgiveness and joy right now, and the prospect of heaven forever.

If Jesus has rescued you from eternal death, ask Him to use you to tell others of the One who gives new life.  — Henry G. Bosch

Once far from God and dead in sin,
No light my heart could see,
But in God’s Word the light I found–
Now Christ liveth in me. –Whittle

When you trust God’s Son, darkness gives way to the light (Source: Our Daily Bread, RBC Ministries).

Reflection 7 – St. Januarius (d. 305? A.D.)

Little  is known about the life of  Januarius. He is believed to have been martyred in the Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of 305. Legend has it that after Januarius was thrown to the bears in the amphitheater of Pozzuoli, he was beheaded, and his blood ultimately brought to Naples.

Comment:

It is defined Catholic doctrine that miracles can happen and can be recognized—hardly a mind-boggling statement to anyone who believes in God. Problems arise, however, when we must decide whether an occurrence is unexplainable in natural terms, or only unexplained. We do well to avoid an excessive credulity, which may be a sign of insecurity. On the other hand, when even scientists speak about “probabilities” rather than “laws” of nature, it is something less than imaginative for Christians to think that God is too “scientific” to work extraordinary miracles to wake us up to the everyday miracles of sparrows and dandelions, raindrops and snowflakes.

Quote:

“A dark mass that half fills a hermetically sealed four-inch glass container, and is preserved in a double reliquary in the Naples cathedral as the blood of St. January, liquefies 18 times during the year…. This phenomenon goes back to the 14th century…. Tradition connects it with a certain Eusebia, who had allegedly collected the blood after the martyrdom…. The ceremony accompanying the liquefaction is performed by holding the reliquary close to the altar on which is located what is believed to be the martyr’s head. While the people pray, often tumultuously, the priest turns the reliquary up and down in the full sight of the onlookers until the liquefaction takes place…. Various experiments have been applied, but the phenomenon eludes natural explanation. There are, however, similar miraculous claims made for the blood of John the Baptist, Stephen, Pantaleon, Patricia, Nicholas of Tolentino and Aloysius Gonzaga—nearly all in the neighborhood of Naples” (Catholic Encyclopedia).

Read the source:  http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1143

SAINT OF THE DAY
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God’s invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Januarius
 
For other uses, see Januarius (disambiguation).
“Gennaro” and “San Gennaro” redirect here. For other uses, see Gennaro (disambiguation) and San Gennaro (disambiguation).
SAINT JANUARIUS
Saint Januarius.jpg

Traditional portrait of Saint Januarius
BISHOP AND MARTYR
BORN 3rd century
Benevento or Naples,CampaniaRoman Empire
DIED c. 305
PozzuoliCampania
VENERATED IN Roman Catholic Church andEastern Orthodox Church
MAJOR SHRINE Naples CathedralItaly and theChurch of the Most Precious BloodLittle Italy, Manhattan,New York City.
FEAST September 19 (Western Christianity)
April 21 (Eastern Christianity)
ATTRIBUTES vials of bloodpalmsMt. Vesuvius
PATRONAGE blood banksNaplesvolcanic eruptions[1]

Januarius (LatinIanuariusItalianGennaro), also known as Januarius I of Benevento, was Bishop of Benevento and is a martyr and saint of the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Churches. While no contemporary sources on his life are preserved, later sources and legends claim that he died during the Great Persecution[2] which ended withDiocletian‘s retirement in 305.

Januarius is the patron saint of Naples, where the faithful gather three times a year in Naples Cathedral to witness theliquefaction of what is claimed to be a sample of his blood kept in a sealed glass ampoule.

Life[edit]

Little is known of the life of Januarius,[2] and what follows is mostly derived from later Christian sources, such as the Acta Bononensia(BHL 4132, not earlier than 6th century) and the Acta Vaticana (BHL 4115, 9th century), and from later-developing folk tradition.

Legend[edit]

According to various hagiographies, Januarius was born in Benevento to a rich patrician family that traced its descent to the Caudinitribe of the Samnites. At a young age of 15, he became local priest of his parish in Benevento, which at the time was relatively pagan. When Januarius was 20, he became Bishop of Naples and befriended Juliana of Nicomedia and Saint Sossius whom he met during his priestly studies. During the 1 12-year-long persecution of Christians by Emperor Diocletian, he hid his fellow Christians and prevented them from being caught. Unfortunately, while visiting Sossius in jail, he too was arrested. He and his colleagues were condemned to be thrown to wild bears in the Flavian Amphitheater at Pozzuoli, but the sentence was changed due to fear of public disturbances, and they were instead beheaded at the Solfatara crater near Pozzuoli.[n 1] Other legends state either that the wild beasts refused to eat them, or that he was thrown into a furnace but came out unscathed.

History[edit]

The earliest extant mention of him is contained in a 432 letter by Uraniusbishop of Nola, on the death of his mentor Saint Paulinus of Nola,[3][4] where it is stated that the ghosts of Januarius and Saint Martin appeared to Paulinus three days before the latter’s death in 431. About Januarius, the account says only that he was “bishop as well as martyr, an illustrious member of the Neapolitan church”.[n 2]The Acta Bononensia says that “At Pozzuoli in Campania [is honored the memory] of the holy martyrs Januarius, Bishop of Beneventum, Festus his deacon, and Desiderius lector, together with Sossius deacon of the church of MisenumProculus, deacon ofPozzuoli, Eutyches, and Acutius, who after chains and imprisonment were beheaded under the emperor Diocletian“.

Legacy[edit]

Celebrations[edit]

Main article: Feast of San Gennaro

The Feast of St Januarius or San Gennaro is celebrated on 19 September in the calendar of the Catholic Church.[5][n 3] In the Eastern Church, it is celebrated on 21 April.[7] The city of Naples has more than fifty official patron saints, although its principal patron is Saint Januarius.[8]

In the United States, the “Feast of San Gennaro” is also a highlight of the year for New York‘s Little Italy, with the saint’s polychrome statue carried through the middle of a street fair stretching for blocks.

Relics[edit]

Bust of Saint Januarius

Martyrdom of Saint Januariusby Girolamo Pesce

The Martyrdom of St Januarius, by Artemisia Gentileschi (1636)

The spire of the Cattedrale di San Gennaro (Naples Cathedral)

According to an early hagiography,[n 4] Januarius’s relics were transferred by order of Saint SeverusBishop of Naples, to theNeapolitan catacombs “outside the walls” (extra moenia).[10][n 5] In the early ninth century the body was moved to Beneventum bySicoprince of Benevento, with the head remaining in Naples. Subsequently, during the turmoil at the time of Frederick Barbarossa, his body was moved again, this time to the Territorial Abbey of Montevergine where it was rediscovered in 1480.

At the instigation of Cardinal Oliviero Carafa, his body was finally transferred in 1497 to Naples, where he is the city’s patron saint. Carafa commissioned a richly decorated crypt, the Succorpo, beneath the cathedral to house the reunited body and head properly. The Succorpo was finished in 1506 and is considered one of the prominent monuments of the High Renaissance in the city.[12]

Blood[edit]

Saint Januarius is famous for the alleged miracle of the annual liquefaction of his blood, which, according to legend, was saved by a woman called Eusebia just after the saint’s death. A chronicle of Naples written in 1382 describes the cult of Saint Januarius in detail, but mentions neither the relic nor the miracle.[13][14] The first certain date is 1389, when it was found to have melted.[15][16]Then, over the following two and a half centuries official reports began to appear declaring that the blood spontaneously melted, at first once a year, then twice, and finally three times a year. While the report of the very first incidence of liquefaction did not make any explicit reference to the skull of the saint, soon afterwards assertions began to appear that this relic was activating the melting process, as if the blood, recognizing a part of the body to which it belonged, “were impatient while waiting for its resurrection”.[17]This explanation was definitively abandoned only in the eighteenth century.[18]

Thousands of people assemble to witness this event in Naples Cathedral three times a year: on September 19 (Saint Januarius’s Day, commemorating his martyrdom), on December 16 (celebrating his patronage of Naples and its archdiocese), and on the Saturday before the first Sunday of May (commemorating the reunification of his relics).[19]

The blood is also said to spontaneously liquefy at certain other times, such as papal visits. It liquefied in the presence of Pope Pius IXin 1848, but not that of John Paul II in 1979 or Benedict XVI in 2007.[20] On March 21, 2015, Pope Francis venerated the dried blood during a visit to Naples Cathedral, saying the Lord’s Prayer over it and kissing it. Archbishop Sepe then declared that “The blood has half liquefied, which shows that Saint Januarius loves our pope and Naples.”[21] Francis replied, “The bishop just announced that the blood half liquefied. We can see the saint only half loves us. We must all spread the Word, so that he loves us more!”[21]

Ritual of liquefaction[edit]

The blood is stored in two hermetically sealed small ampoules, held since the 17th century in a silver reliquary between two round glass plates about 12 cm wide. The smaller ampoule (of cylindrical shape) contains only a few reddish spots on its walls, the bulk having allegedly been removed and taken to Spain by Charles III. The larger ampoule, with capacity of about 60 ml and almond-shaped, is about 60% filled with a dark reddish substance.[22][13] Separate reliquaries hold bone fragments believed to belong to Saint Januarius.

For most of the time, the ampoules are kept in a bank vault, whose keys are held by a commission of local notables, including theMayorof Naples; while the bones are kept in a crypt under the main altar of Naples Cathedral. On feast days, all these relics are taken in procession from the cathedral to the Monastery of Santa Chiara, where the archbishop holds the reliquary up and tilts it to show that the contents are solid, and places it on the high altar next to the saint’s other relics. After intense prayers by the faithful, including the so-called “relatives of Saint Januarius” (parenti di San Gennaro), the content of the larger vial typically liquefies. The archbishop then holds up the vial and tilts it again to demonstrate that liquefaction has taken place. The announcement of the liquefaction is greeted with a 21-gun salute at the 13th-century Castel Nuovo. The ampoules remain exposed on the altar for eight days, while the priests move or turn them periodically to show that the contents remain liquid.[22]

The liquefaction sometimes takes place almost immediately, but can take hours or even days. Records kept at the Duomo tell that on rare occasions the contents fail to liquefy, are found already liquefied when the ampoules are taken from the safe,[23] or liquefy outside the usual dates.[22]

Scientific studies[edit]

While the Catholic Church has always supported the celebrations, it has never formulated an official statement on the phenomenon and maintains a neutral stance about scientific investigations.[22] It does not permit the vials to be opened, for fear that doing so may cause irreparable damage. This makes close analysis impossible. Nevertheless, a spectroscopic analysis performed in 1902 by Sperindeoclaimed that the spectrum was consistent with hemoglobin.[24] A later analysis, with similar conclusions, was carried out by a team in 1989.[27] However, the reliability of these observations has been questioned.[13] While clotted blood can be liquefied by mechanical stirring, the resulting suspension cannot solidify again.[13]

Measurements made in 1900 and 1904 claimed that the ampoules’ weight increased by up to 28 grams during liquefaction. However, later measurements with a precision balance, performed over five years, failed to detect any variation.[13]

Various suggestions for the content’s composition have been advanced, such as a material that is photosensitivehygroscopic, or has a low melting point.[28][29][30] However, these explanations run into technical difficulties, such as the variability of the phenomenon and its lack of correlation to ambient temperature.[13]

A recent hypothesis by Garlaschelli & al. is that the vial contains a thixotropic gel,[13][31] he[who?] also explained on the Blood Miracle of Riddles of the Dead series on National Geographic Channel.[32] In such a substance viscosity increases if left unstirred and decreases if stirred or moved. Researchers have proposed specifically a suspension of hydrated iron oxide, FeO(OH), which reproduces the color and behavior of the ‘blood’ in the ampoule.[33] The suspension can be prepared from simple chemicals that would have been easily available locally since antiquity.[34][35]

In 2010, Giuseppe Geraci, a professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at Naples’s Frederick II University, conducted an experiment on a vial containing of old blood—a relic dating back to the 18th century from the Eremo di Camaldoli near Arezzo inTuscany—having the same characteristics of the blood of St. Januarius.[36] Prof. Geraci showed that the Camaldoli relic also contains blood that can change its solid-liquid phase by shaking.[37] He further reproduced the phenomenon with his own blood stored in the same conditions as the Camaldoli relic,[38] arguing in the end that “there’s blood, no miracle”.[37]

Similar rites[edit]

Although Naples became known as “City of Blood” (urbs sanguinum),[citation needed] legends of blood liquefaction are not a unique phenomenon. Other examples include vials of the blood of Saint Patricia,[where?] of St John the Baptist in the monastery of San Gregorio Armeno, and of Saint Pantaleon in Ravello. In all, the church has recognized claims of miraculous liquefying blood for seven[39] or about twenty[40] saints from Campania and virtually nowhere else.[41] The blood cults of the other saints have been discontinued since the 16th century, which Randi takes as evidence that local artisans or alchemists had a secret recipe for manufacturing this type of relic.[39] A team of three Italian chemists[who?] managed to create a liquid that reproduces all the characteristics and behavior of the liquid in the vial, using only local materials and techniques that were known to medieval workers.[39][42][43] Lancaster leaves open the possibility that the practice was a Christian survival of a pagan ritual intended to protect the locals from unexpected eruptions from Vesuvius.[41]

Museum of the Treasure of St. Januarius[edit]

The Treasure of St Januarius is composed of magnificent works and donations collected in seven centuries of Popes, Kings, Emperors, famous and ordinary people. According to studies done by a pool of experts who have analyzed all the pieces of the collection, the Treasure of St Januarius would be even richer than the crown of England’s Queen Elizabeth II and the Czars of Russia. The Treasure is a unique collection of art masterpieces, kept untouched thanks to the Deputation of the Chapel of St Januarius, an ancient secular institution founded in 1527 by a vote of the city of Naples, still existing. Today, the Treasure is exhibited in the Museum of the Treasure of St Januarius, whose entrance is located on the right side of the Dome of Naples, under the arcades. By visiting the Museum, you can access the Chapel of St. Gennaro even during the closing hours of the Cathedral.[44]

Friedrich Nietzsche[edit]

Written in Genoa in the month of January 1882, Book Four of The Gay Science by Friedrich Nietzsche opens with a poem entitled ‘Sanctus Januarius’, meaning both Holy January and Saint Januarius. The dedication can be read in various ways, both as a reference to the symbolic importance of the saint as well as the particular month of January in Nietzsche’s biography. Walter Kaufmann‘s footnote to the English translation of the passage underscores that the use of Sanctus Januarius is as a symbol for Nietzsche’s restored intellectual and literary output after years of wandering across Europe. Thus, ‘Sanctus Januarius’ honors the miracular transformation of deadened life into liquid blood again, which is the leitmotif of the contents of the fourth book of the Gay Science that values becoming a ‘Yes-sayer’ to everything one is fated to.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. Jump up^ For further details on these locations, see the Catholic Encyclopedia’s article on “Saint Januarius”.[2]
  2. Jump up^ Latin: Ianuarius, episcopus simul et martyr, Neapolitanae urbis illustrat ecclesiam.[3]
  3. Jump up^ In the 1498 Roman martyrology, his martyrdom took place on the thirteenth day before the kalends of October or September 19th.[6]
  4. Jump up^ Hagiographies of St Januarius are compiled in the 6th volume of the Acta Sanctorum Septembris.[9]
  5. Jump up^ A condensed account of the removals of the relics is given by Norman.[11]

References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Star Quest Production Network: Saint Januarius
  2. Jump up to:a b c Wikisource-logo.svg Herbert Thurston (1913). “St. Januarius“. In Herbermann, Charles. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  3. Jump up to:a b Uranius Nolanius (432), De Vita et Obitu Paulini Nolani. Published by Surius asEpistola “De Obitu Sancti Paulini” Online version accessed on 2009-06-20.
  4. Jump up^ “Uranius” in Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquitiesedited William Smith (1870).
  5. Jump up^ “Martyrologium Romanum” (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2001 ISBN 88-209-7210-7).
  6. Jump up^ J. O’Connell, “The Roman Martyrology” [London 1962] s.v. September 19).
  7. Jump up^ Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press, 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3)
  8. Jump up^ “Sant’ Aspreno di Napoli”. Santi e Beati. 19 April 2002. Retrieved 29 August2008.
  9. Jump up^ Carnandet, J., ed. (1867), Acta Sanctorum Septembris, Vol. VI, Paris, pp. 761–892(Latin)
  10. Jump up^ Norman (1986), p. 331
  11. Jump up^ Norman, Diana (1986), “The Succorpo in the Cathedral of Naples: ‘Empress of All Chapels’”, Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte,Vol. 49, No. 3, pp. 323–355.
  12. Jump up^ Norman 1986:323-355.
  13. Jump up to:a b c d e f g Garlaschelli, L.; Ramaccini, F.; Della Sala, S. (1994). “The Blood of St. Januarius”Chemistry in Britain30 (2): 123. Retrieved July 28, 2009.
  14. Jump up^ (1382) Croniche de Inclyta Cità de Napole In Altamura, Antonio (ed.), Cronaca di Partenope, Napoli, 1974
  15. Jump up^ Chronicon Siculum [1340-1396], ed. Giuseppe De Blasiis, Naples, 1887, p. 85
  16. Jump up^ Norman 1993:332 and note.
  17. Jump up^ Cesare Baronio, Annales Ecclesiastici, Rome 1594, vol. 2, p. 803.
  18. Jump up^ de Ceglia Francesco Paolo, “Thinking with the Saint: The Miracle of Saint Januarius of Naples and Science in Early Modern Europe” in Early Science and Medicine 19 (2014), p. 133-173
  19. Jump up^ Chiesa di San Gennaro – Duomo (Napoli)
  20. Jump up^ “Blood of St. Januarius liquefies during Francis’ visit to Naples”. Catholic Herald. March 21, 2015.
  21. Jump up to:a b Benge Nsenduluka (March 23, 2015). “Pope Francis Performs ‘Miracle’ In Naples; Turns Dry Blood to Liquid”. Christian Post.
  22. Jump up to:a b c d San Gennaro: Vescovo e martire (in Italian)
  23. Jump up^ “Sangue di San Gennaro liquefatto prima della processione” Corriere dell Sera, 4 May 1997, p.15
  24. Jump up^ Gennaro, Sperindeo and Raffaele Januario (1901), Il Miracolo di S. Gennaro, 3rd ed., Naples, D’Auria, p. 67-72.
  25. Jump up^ F. D’Onofrio; P. L. Baima Bollone; M. Cannas.[where?]
  26. Jump up^ Michele Cardinal Giordano (1990), Prolusione, in Proceedings of the Symposium on the VI centenary of the first liquefaction of the blood (1389–1989), December 1989, Napoli, Torre del Greco (Napoli), p. 10.
  27. Jump up^ D’Onofrio & al.,[25] quoted by Michele Cardinal Giordano.[26][unreliable source?]
  28. Jump up^ Eusèbe Salverte, Des sciences occultes ou essai sur la magie, les prodiges et les miracles, Paris, Baillière, 1826.
  29. Jump up^ Henri Broch. Le Paranormal (1985); ed. ext., Paris, Seuil, 1989, p. 109
  30. Jump up^ Joe Nickell, John F. Fischer, Mysterious Realms, Buffalo, Prometheus Books, 1993, p 159.
  31. Jump up^ Christopher, Kevin (2000-09-22). “The Miracle Blood of Saint Januarius”. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Archived from the original on 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2007-03-02.;
  32. Jump up^ National Geographic Channel – Riddles of the Dead – Blood Miracle
  33. Jump up^ Luigi Garlaschelli (2002), Sangue Prodigioso. La Chimica e l’Industria., 84 (6), p.67-70 Online version accessed on 2009-06-20. (In Italian).
  34. Jump up^ Epstein, Michael; Garlaschelli, Luigi (1992). “Better Blood Through Chemistry: A Laboratory Replication of a Miracle” (PDF).Journal of Scientific Exploration6: 233–246. Retrieved 2007-03-02.
  35. Jump up^ Owen, Richard (2005-09-20). “Naples blood boils at miracle’s ‘debunking’”The Times. London: Times Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 2007-03-02.
  36. Jump up^ “San Gennaro, spunta una seconda ampolla con dentro il sangue”. Naples: Metropolis Web. 2010-02-05. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  37. Jump up to:a b Piedimonte, Antonio Emanuele (2010-02-05).“Geraci, la rivelazione 11 anni fa al Corriere “Il sangue c’è e l’ho visto, il miracolo no””. Naples: RCS Corriere del Mezzogiorno. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  38. Jump up^ De Lucia, Michele (2010-02-05). “Miracolo di San Gennaro, un test dimostra che nell´ampolla c’è sangue umano”. Naples: Positano News. Retrieved 2013-09-23.
  39. Jump up to:a b c James, Randi. “The Liquefying ‘Blood’ of St. Januarius”. In Shermer, Michael.Skeptic Encyclopedia of Pseudoscience. pp. 371–372. ISBN 9781576076538.
  40. Jump up^ Joe Nickell (2007), Relics of the Christ, University Press of Kentucky, p. 46,ISBN 9780813172125
  41. Jump up to:a b Jordan Lancaster, In the shadow of Vesuvius, Tauris, 2005
  42. Jump up^ Nickell, Joe. “Examining Miracle Claims” (Excerpt from an article that appeared in March 1996 issue of Deolog). Hidden Mysteries: Religion’s Frauds, Lies, Control. Retrieved 2 March 2007.