by NZ Catholic staff
The blood of St. Januarius, the patron saint of Naples, liquefied after Pope Francis kissed the relic and said the blessings associated with the saint while the relic was in his hand.
Rome Reports said this was the first time the relic liquefied in front of a pope since 1848.
As the blood liquefied, Archbishop of Naples Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe said, “the sign that San Gennaro loves the Pope, who is Neapolitan like us: half of the blood is already liquid.”
This prompted Pope Francis to humourously remark,”it seems that the saint loves us a little bit. We have to convert a little more for him to love us completely.”
Other sources said the whole relic eventually became liquid.
Pope Francis spoke of the ‘terrorism of gossip’ as the biggest sign of the devils work in a meeting with priests, religious and seminarians at Naples Cathedral Saturday.
He was surrounded by an enthusiastic group of cloistered nuns who had been given special permission to attend the encounter.
Vatican Radio reported the spontaneity of the meeting inspired the Pope to throw away his prepared speech and launch off into a forty minute impromptu reflection on priestly and religious life.
He reminded the priests, religious, seminarians and deacons present to put Jesus at the center of their life and not personal problems with their bishop, other priests or members of their community.
“If the center of your life is someone you have a problem with, you’ll have no joy” and when there’s no joy in life of priest or nun, people can smell it,” he said.
Pope Francis also warned against attachment to worldly goods. Instead, ordained and consecrated must always have a preferential option for the poor.
The pope also admitted that community life is not easy. He said “the devil sows jealously” which is revealed in the “terrorism of gossip”, that can destroy others. This, he stated “is the greatest sign of the devil’s work”.
“I leave you with three things: adore Jesus, love the Church, be a missionary,” the pope told the group.
Following his encounter with the clergy and religious of Naples, Pope Francis held a closed door encounter with the sick and disabled in the Jesuit Church in Naples.