Ordinary Time: September 19th
Tuesday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time; Optional Memorial of St. Januarius, Bishop and Martyr
Other Commemorations: Our Lady of La Salette ; Other Titles: St. Gennaro
Today is the Optional Memorial of St. Januarius (d. 304). Very little is known about this martyr saint. He was Bishop of Benevento in Campania. He died near Naples, about the year 304, martyred under the persecution of Emperor Diocletian. Around the year 400 the relics of St. Januarius were moved to Naples, which honors Januarius as a patron saint. He supposedly protected Naples from a threatened eruption of the volcano Mt. Vesuvius. The "miracle of Januarius" has world-wide fame. At least three times a year—on his feast day, December 16 and the first Sunday of May—the sealed vial with congealed blood of the saint liquifies, froths and bubbles up. This miraculous event has occurred every year, with rare exceptions. Popular tradition holds that the liquefaction is a sign that the year will be preserved from disasters. (In 1939, the beginning of World War II, the blood did not bubble up. But the blood does not always liquefy, and failed to do so September 1939, 1940, 1943, 1973, 1980, and in December 2016 and 2020.)
Today is also the anniversary of the apparition of Our Lady of La Salette in 1846. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to two small children, Melanie Mathieu and Maximin Giraud, on the mountain of La Salette in the French Alps. She was crying, and around her neck was a crucifix, with a hammer and pincers on either side. —Adapted from CatholicSaints.info
Together with his deacons Socius and Festus, and his lector Desiderius, Januarius, bishop of Beneventum, was subjected to most atrocious torturing during the Diocletian persecution (about 304). Nevertheless, with God's aid they were preserved unmaimed. The wild animals let loose upon them would not attack. Beheaded at Puteoli, their bodies were reverently interred in the neighboring cities. Eventually the remains of St. Januarius became the prized possession of the city of Naples.
"Even to the present time the blood of the saint that is preserved in a glass vial will become fluid shortly after it is brought close to the head of the saint; then it bubbles up in a remarkable manner, as if it had just been shed" (Breviary). Cardinal Schuster makes this statement in his Liber Sacramentorum (vol. 8, p. 233): "The author has seen the marvel of the blood liquefaction at closest range and can give witness to the fact. Taking into consideration all the scientific investigations that have been made, he would say that a natural explanation of the phenomena does not seem possible."
—Excerpted from The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch
Patronage: patron of Naples, Italy; blood banks; volcanic eruptions.
Symbols and Representation: heated oven; two red vials on Bible; bishop's mitre (headdress); palm frond (symbol of martyrdom); crown (of martyrdom).
Highlights and Things to Do:
- Find out more about this "miracle of Januarius," including photos.
- Choose Italian cuisine, particularly Neapolitan for dinner. A simple treat could be Neapolitan style ice cream—ice cream made with the three different flavors (usually vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, but originally had the colors of the Italian flag: green/pistachio, white/vanilla and red/cherry) all packed together side by side.
- If you live close to New York City you can participate in The Feast of San Gennaro celebrated in lower Manhattan.
- Read more about St. Januarius:
- See some food ideas for the feast day at Catholic Cuisine.
Our Lady of La Salette
On September 19, 1846, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Maximin Giraud and Melanie Calvat on the mountain of La Salette, France. After thorough investigation the Catholic Church gave approval to the message and secret of La Salette as written by Melanie. The account was published in Lecce on November 15, 1879 with the imprimatur of Bishop Zola of Lecce. Mary's message was much the same as at Fatima, "If my people do not wish to submit themselves, I am forced to let go of the hand of my Son. It is so heavy and weighs me down so much I can no longer keep hold of it." She lamented with tears those who do not keep Sunday holy and who take the name of the Lord in vain. She indicated that if men did not stop offending Our Lord the potato crop would fail. She gave Maximin his secret which he never revealed. She then turned to Melanie and gave her a secret which Melanie revealed 30 years later only to the Holy Father, who gave orders that it was never to be revealed.
Highlights and Things to Do:
- Visit online the Basilica of La Salette. Read especially the story of the apparition and the message of Our Lady.
- Find out more about the La Salette Missionaries.
- Read Pope St. John Paul II's Address to the Missionaries of Our Lady of La Salette, May 4, 2000.
- For further reading on the apparition, see:
- See also the Shrine of La Salette in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
- Read some La Salette poetry at University of Dayton and CatholicSaints.info.
- For some fun In the kitchen, try Catholic Cuisine's Mini Blueberry Galettes.