St Januarius’s blood liquefies in presence of Pope Francis

The blood of St Januarius liquefied in the presence of a pope for the first time since 1848 on Saturday.

The blood of the patron saint of Naples, which is normally solid, partially liquefied after Pope Francis kissed the relic during his day trip to the southern Italian city.

Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe of Naples showed the vial to the congregation in the city’s cathedral, saying: “The blood has half liquefied, which shows that St Januarius loves our Pope and Naples.”

Pope Francis responded: “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!”

The blood last liquefied for a pope in the presence of Pius IX.

The phenomenon did not occur when St John Paul II visited Naples in 1979 and when Benedict XVI visited the city in 2007.

St Januarius was a Bishop of Naples who is believed to have been martyred around the year 305  during the Diocletian persecution.

His blood is kept in a sealed glass ampoule and traditionally liquefies three times a year.

Speaking in Naples, Pope Francis warned priests and religious against living too closely attached to money.

The pontiff has also decried what he called a “terrorism of gossip” in Church circles.

He again spoke out against what he has termed “ideological colonisation” of the family, identifying particularly gender theory as “an error of the human mind”.

Addressing members of the mafia directly, Francis said: “I humbly, like a brother, repeat: Convert to love and to justice! Let yourself be found by God’s mercy. Know that Jesus is looking for you to embrace you, kiss you and love you.”

During his trip to Naples, Francis also met for lunch with 90 prisoners from two nearby institutions, including 10 from a prison ward for transgender and gay prisoners and those who suffer from AIDS.


News category: World.

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