Thursday, October 25, 2007
Pope and Relics
"In Naples, a city know for its veneration of the blood of fourth-century martyr St. Januarius, Pope Benedict told Massgoers that the deadly symbol of blood has been transformed by the death of Christ and the Christian martyrs into a sign of self-giving life and of nonviolence even in the face of persecution.
The pope ended his stay in Naples with a visit to the cathedral where the reliquary containing a vial of St. Januarius' dried blood is kept. Kneeling before the altar, the pope kissed the vial, but the miracle of the blood liquefying did not occur.
Msgr. Vincenzo de Gregorio, custodian of the relic, told reporters that the blood, which often liquefies on the saint's feast day, has never liquefied when a pope visited on a day other than the feast day. The blood is said to liquefy three times a year -- on the Saturday before the first Sunday in May, the feast of the transfer of the saint's relics to Naples; Sept. 19, his feast day; and Dec. 16, the local feast commemorating the averting of a threatened eruption of Mount Vesuvius through the intervention of the saint."