Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Miracle Of San Gennaro in 2012


The 2000 year history of the Catholic Church is filled with miracles, of great healings, apparitions, prophecies, of communion hosts being changed to flesh which were scientifically determined to be specifically flesh from the heart, bleeding communion hosts, the great miracle of the tilma of our Our Lady of Guadalupe.  The list seems almost endless. 

One of these miracles is the miracle of San Gennaro, in which the blood from Saint Gennaro, who was martyred in 305 A.D., liquifies every year on the same days.  From portanapoli.com:
Yearly on the first weekend of May (on Saturday) and on the 19th September amazement spreads through Naples Cathedral. There one can marvel at how the blood of the beheaded San Gennaro liquifies in its ampoule.

The day of the blood miracle is an important feast for Naples and the people celebrate it accordingly. The Cathedral is surrounded by stalls selling sweets, cobs and all kinds of curiosities and kitsch.
In advance a procession takes place, whereby holy figures are carried through Spaccanapoli. The silver bust of San Gennaro leads the procession, followed by holy Teresa, Lucia, Patricia and many more. The Neapolitans like to bet on the sequence of these holy statues, while applauding their favourite saint in the hope that these would get a place at front at the following procession.
At the subsequent service a centuries-old ritual takes place: the Saint’s silver bust is positioned next to the altar and the ampoule with blood is shown to the faithful by the "abate del tesoro" and then slowly turned. Shortly after this, traditional prayers of the "parenti di San Gennaro" (relatives of San Gennaro, a group of faithful women, sitting in the front row) are said. These prayers heighten ecstatically until the blood liquifies. The wild rejoicing of the faithful is crowned by the sound of the cathedral’s bells ringing. The crowd starts pushing its way through to kiss the ampoule of blood. This overcrowded service is attended by spiritual authorities, political dignitaries and hundreds of anticipating believers.

According to the people this blood miracle takes place, when no disaster is expected in the near future. For most of the natives of Naples the service has an oracle character. The absence of the miracle augurs tragedy for Naples and its surroundings. For instance in 1980 before the harsh earthquake took its toll on 2000 lives, the blood didn’t liquify.

The people of Naples rather have a personal than religious relationship with San Gennaro. They present him their wishes with love and expect them to be fulfilled.

The story of the blood miracle.Saint Gennaro was the bishop of Benevento and was beheaded during the persecution of Christians by Diocletian in 305. According to the legend a woman collected and kept some of the martyr’s blood in an ampoule, after he died. In 313 the miracle occurred for the first time, after the Saint’s skeleton and the ampoule with blood were brought to Naples. The skeleton was placed to rest in the catacomb together with the ampoule. In the 9th century the remains and blood of S. Gennaro were in a small chapel, next to the church, where in the 14th century the cathedral was built.

There are numerous records on the liquefaction of the blood, dating from times before 1649 when they officially started recording this miracle. One of the descriptions of the procession dates from the year 1389. According to writings in 1528 the blood miracle didn’t take place. This was the year the pest broke out and Naples didn’t receive its raise from France. There are hundreds of records of the liquefaction dating from the 16th Century.
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The people of Naples were very happy and pleased when the miracle of San Gennaro happened once again yesterday, September 19.  No one can explain this miracle, and no one should even try.  Our Lord is always giving us signs that He is always with us and working miracles in our lives.  Here is the story from yesterday:

San Gennaro 'miracle' repeated

19/09/2012
Liquefaction of saint's blood a good omen for city


(ANSA) - Naples, September 19 - The Miracle of San Gennaro was repeated on Wednesday when the blood of Naples' patron saint liquefied at 9.12am. A huge crowd of faithful, who had been pouring into the city's cathedral and the square outside from the early hours of the day, greeted the announcement of the miracle recurrence with warm applause. Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, the Archbishop of Naples, held up a phial containing the blood of the 3rd-century saint while a traditional white handkerchief was waved. For religious and superstitious Neapolitans, the ritual's success is a good omen for the city. The miracle takes place on the anniversary of the martyrdom of San Gennaro (St. Januarius) in September 305 AD. The dried blood of the saint is preserved in two glass phials and traditionally liquefies three times a year, the Church says, thanks to the devotion and prayers of the faithful. Aside from the anniversary of the saint's beheading, the miracle also takes place on December 16 to commemorate the 1631 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, believed to have been halted by the saint's intervention, and again on the Saturday before the first Sunday in May. On this occasion, there is a procession through the city's streets to recall the many times the relics have been moved over the centuries. The liquefaction process sometimes takes hours, even days, and on occasions fails to happen at all. When the miracle does not occur it is seen as a sign of impending disaster. In fact, disaster has struck on at least five occasions when the blood failed to liquefy, including in 1527 when tens of thousands of people died from the plague and in 1980 when 3,000 people were killed in an earthquake which devastated much of southern Italy. The phials will remain on view in the cathedral for several days before being returned to a vault in the chapel of the cathedral's treasury. The first historical reference to the liquefaction of the martyr's blood is dated 1389.
The beheading of San Gennaro
Although now a headline-making saint, little is known about San Gennaro except that he was bishop of Benevento to the south of Naples and was martyred during the persecution of Christians spearheaded by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. The bishop was beheaded for refusing to bow down to his 'pagan' persecutors. According to legend, his body and head, still dripping blood, were gathered up by an old man and taken to a safe place while a local woman filled a phial with his spilt blood. A group of Italian scientists has analysed the contents of the phials, establishing that they do contain blood, but have been unable to explain the phenomenon. Some sceptics believe it is due to the shaking of the containers or the penetration of warmth from the holder's hands.
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In the midst of so much evil happening in the world, it is reassuring to know that our Lord is still at work in our presence and will not leave us.  Pray for us, San Gennaro, that we may be filled with the courage you displayed in defending the Truth of God.


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