Saint of the Day for 19 September: St. Gennaro
St. Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples: his history and cult
Bishop and martyr
21 April 272, Benevento
19 September 305, Pozzuoli
O glorious St. Januarius, who, always ardent with the desire to increase the glory of God and of His spouse the Church, tirelessly attended to the sanctification of your own soul and to the edification of others by the continual exercise of prayer, penance and all the Christian virtues; then, having become in the Church a true model of holiness, you finally became in heaven the protector of all those who trustingly turn to you, cast a benign glance over us who invoke the power of your patronage. Increase in us that firm piety which forms the true character of the children of God. Grant that, in imitation of you, we may live as faithful servants, waiting with our loins fastened and our hands equipped with flaming torches, that is, with a life of penitence and edification, for the arrival of the eternal Master, so that, finding ourselves always ready to depart from this exile, we may deserve to be introduced with you into those eternal tabernacles where it will only be given to us to see what we now believe, to obtain what we now hope for, to enjoy what we now love. Amen. Pater, Ave, Gloria.
Patron Saint of
Campania, Napoli, Torre del Greco, Afragola, Ercolano, Somma Vesuviana, Cercola, San Gennaro Vesuviano, Cervinara, Folignano
Blood donors, goldsmiths
Saint Gennaro, bishop of Benevento and martyr, who suffered martyrdom for Christ at Pozzuoli near Naples in times of persecution against the faith.
The Saint and Mission
San Gennaro, the patron saint of Naples and the patron saint of Neapolitans, is a prominent figure in the context of Italian Christianity and more generally in the history of Christianity. Known for his martyrdom and the famous miracle of the liquefaction of his blood, San Gennaro is an emblematic example of courage and dedication to the Gospel mission.
St. Gennaro’s mission, seen in the context of his priestly and episcopal ministry, was deeply rooted in evangelisation and pastoral service to his community. He did not hesitate to put his life on the line to defend his faith and to protect his flock from the anti-Christian persecutions of the time.
One of the most significant lessons we can learn from the life and mission of St. Gennaro is the steadfastness of the faith. Despite the terrible persecutions the early church was subjected to, St. Gennaro remained faithful to the Gospel message, demonstrating an unconditional commitment to the cause of the Gospel.
His mission did not stop with his martyrdom, however. The tradition of the miracle of his blood, which occurs regularly to this day, represents a kind of continuation of his mission, a powerful symbol of hope, protection and the continuing presence of St. Gennaro in the lives of believers. This miraculous event becomes a tangible manifestation of his intercession, recalling fidelity to the Gospel and the importance of hope and miracles in the Christian life.
Saint Gennaro thus emerges as a figure who embodies the invitation to live a life of deep faith, anchored in hope and nourished by an unstoppable courage in facing life’s challenges. His mission continues to inspire and guide, reminding us of the importance of remaining faithful to our principles and serving others with love and dedication.
The commemoration of St. Gennaro thus becomes not only a time to reflect on his life and sacrifice, but also an opportunity to renew our personal commitment to the mission of evangelisation, carrying forward the message of Christ with courage and confidence, inspired by his example of fidelity and selfless service.
The Saint and Mercy
Saint Gennaro, bishop of Benevento and Christian martyr, embodies in many ways the concept of mercy that is central to Christian doctrine. His life and ministry, marked by a deep love for his people and an unyielding commitment to justice, speak of a person whose heart was driven by mercy.
To begin, we can consider the mercy that St. Gennaro showed to his flock. In the turbulent times in which he lived, with persecution of Christians being the order of the day, St. Gennaro did not hesitate to put himself in the front line to protect his community, offering a safe haven and spiritual comfort to those who suffered. This act of self-giving, which led him to martyrdom, is a supreme manifestation of mercy, reflecting the sacrificial love that is at the heart of the Christian message.
At the same time, San Gennaro is also a receiver of mercy, not only from God but also from the people who continue to venerate him. The fervent devotion surrounding his cult, and in particular the miracle of the liquefaction of his blood, is a testimony to the mercy that continues to flow through his intercession. The faithful seek his blessing and protection, relying on his mercy in times of need.
The miracle of the blood of San Gennaro can be seen as a symbol of divine mercy that knows no temporal or spatial boundaries. The transformation of blood from a solid to a liquid state is a physical manifestation of renewal and hope, a tangible sign of the mercy that is always accessible to those who seek with a pure heart.
In the image of Saint Januarius, we thus see a shining example of mercy incarnate, a figure who invites us to practise mercy in our daily lives. He invites us to be people of compassion, ready to sacrifice ourselves for the good of others and to seek justice for the most vulnerable.
Saint Gennaro is not only a witness to the power of divine mercy, but also a model for all of us, called to be instruments of mercy in the world, showing by our actions that love and compassion can indeed triumph over evil and suffering.
S. Gennaro was born in the second half of the 3rd century, most probably in Benevento, although some sources say he was born in Naples. From a noble family and very Christian, he preferred the ecclesiastical life from his youth. At the age of thirty, he was a priest and bishop of Benevento when Diocletian’s persecution broke out. Great was his friendship with the deacon Sosius, whom he often consulted about the affairs of the diocese, finding in him much knowledge and spiritual comfort.
One day, while Sosius was reading the Gospel in the church, the bishop saw a flame shining above his head, which he knew to be a herald of martyrdom. Filled with jubilation at such grace, he kissed the head of the one who had to suffer for the love of Jesus Christ and…