Rome, Italy, Dec 16, 2022 / 10:32 am (CNA).
The blood of St. Januarius liquefied in Naples on Friday for the third time this year.
The newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on Dec. 16 that the “miracle of the liquefaction” occurred at 10:56 a.m. in the Chapel Treasury of St. Januarius in the Naples Cathedral.
When Monsignor Vincenzo De Gregorio, the abbot of the chapel treasury, first opened the safe containing the Saint Januarius’ reliquary, the blood inside appeared completely solid in the morning, but a phase change occurred two hours later.
Dec. 16 marks the anniversary of Naples’ preservation from the 1631 eruption of Mount Vesuvius. It is just one of three days each year when the reliquary is displayed and local Neapolitans gather to see if the dried, red-colored mass confined to one side of a reliquary changes to cover the entire glass.
The reputed miracle is locally known and accepted, though it is yet to receive official Church recognition.
St. Januarius, known as San Gennaro in Italian, is the patron saint of Naples. The bishop is believed to have been martyred during the Christian persecution of Emperor Diocletian.
In local lore, the failure of the blood to liquefy signals war, famine, disease, or other disaster.
The liquefaction traditionally happens at least three times a year: Sept. 19, the saint’s feast day, the first Saturday of May, and Dec. 16, the anniversary of the 1631 eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius.
The third-century bishop’s blood, contained in a circular sealed vial, liquefied in both May and September this year, but did not change its state in December 2020.
Speaking to the people who had gathered in the chapel for the December anniversary, Monsignor De Gregorio shared a story of a miraculous healing attributed to the intercession of St. Januarius this year.
“There was a very young father with a baby girl only a few months old in his arms and his tearful wife next to him. They explained that this little girl had been diagnosed with a malignant tumor, and one can imagine the bewilderment and heartbreak,” he said, according to Il Mattino.
“They were here today, giving thanks to St. Januarius because shortly after while they prayed to the patron saint on September 19, the news came that the tumor was benign and the baby was safe.”
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