Preaching at Mass in Naples Cathedral on May 1, Battaglia urged people not to be overly “intrigued by the miracle” and “seized by the yearning to read in it good omens or ominous omens for our future.”
Regardless of whether the blood liquefies, he said, it should remind Catholics of the blood of Christ “in whose Paschal Mystery we still find ourselves and who is the only one who gives meaning to the great and intense icon of the liquefying blood.”
The archbishop, who was known as a “street priest” who was close to the poor before his elevation, recalled victims of the Camorra mafia and domestic violence, as well as lonely elderly people and the unemployed.
He said: “There is no social sore or communal wound that does not have the right of citizenship in this precious reliquary, the marvelous apex of the entire treasure of St. Januarius.”
“But don’t misunderstand me, I’m not talking about the precious stones, nor the gems set among golden miters, nor the silver busts of the saints. The real treasure of St. Januarius is his people, his people and, within them, those who sit on the margins of life, the last ones, the most fragile.”
The archbishop, known locally as Don Mimmo Battaglia, will receive the pallium on Sept. 27 from Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig, apostolic nuncio to Italy.
Before the final blessing at Sunday’s Mass, Battaglia walked down the cathedral’s nave and through its doors, where he held up the reliquary, blessing those gathered outside.
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