Pope Pius IX and The Feast of The Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ
Devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ
Apostle of the Devotion to The Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ
Reflections on the Precious Blood
Historically, many dioceses have been assigned not one, but two days to which the Office of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ has been assigned, the Office being in both cases the same.
Why? The Divine Office was at first granted only to the Fathers of the Most Precious Blood. Later, as one of the Offices of the Fridays of Lent, it was assigned to the Friday after the fourth Sunday in Lent. In many dioceses of the United States, these Offices were adopted also by the fourth Provincial Council of Baltimore, Maryland in 1840 A.D.
In 1849 A.D., Pope Pius IX, Giovanni M. Mastai Ferretti [Tuesday, June 16, 1846 - Thursday, February 7, 1878], went into exile at Gaeta with the saintly Priest, Don Giovanni Merlini, the third Superior General of the Fathers of the Most Precious Blood. Upon arrival in Gaeta, Father Merlini suggested that His Holiness make a vow to extend the Feast Day of the Most Precious Blood to the entire Roman Catholic Church.
Although Pope Pius IX seriously considered this suggestion, a few days later sent Joseph Stella, his Domestic Prelate, to Father Merlini with the message:
"The Pope does not deem it expedient to bind himself by a vow. Instead, His Holiness is pleased to extend the Feast Day immediately to all Christendom".This was Saturday, June 30, 1849, the day the French conquered Rome and the Republicans capitulated. June 30 was a Saturday before the First Sunday of July. On Friday, August 10, l849, Pope Pius IX decreed that thenceforth every first Sunday of July should be dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ with the rank of a Double of the First Class. (Decree Redempti Sumus, Friday, August 10, 1849, Decreta Authentica S.RC. Rome: 1898, II, No. 2978.)
“You know that you were redeemed from the vain manner of life handed down from your fathers, not wish perishable things as silver or gold but with the Precious Blood of Christ as the Lamb without blemish and without spot.”
Saint Gaspar del Bufalo
[b. in Rome, Italy on Friday, January 6, 1786 -
d. in Rome, Italy on Thursday, December 28, 1837]
Saint Gaspar del Bufalo, the Apostle of the Devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest on Sunday, July 31, 1808. As a Priest, he revived the works of the apostolate in Rome, later becoming a missionary. During his missionary travels of Italy he invited the faithful to reflect upon and to adore the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ.
Saint Gaspar brought devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Christ out of the Sanctuary of the church and into the streets. His preaching was rooted in the saving act of Christ on the cross which is why he carried a crucifix close to his heart. This explains why the mission cross became the symbol of the newly formed community.
At Giano, Italy, on Tuesday, August 15, 1815, in the 10th Century Abbey of San Felice, Saint Gaspar del Bufalo founded the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood.
In 1834, with his encouragement, Blessed Maria De Mattias [b. at Vallecorsa, the Southernmost town of the Papal States, in the geographical province of Frosinone, on Monday, February 4, 1805 - d. at Rome on Monday, August 20, 1866] founded the Congregation of the Sisters Adorers of the Blood of Christ. Pope Pius XII pronounded her "Blessed" on October 1, 1950.
Gaspar del Bufalo was Beatified by Pope Saint Pius X in 1904 and canonized by Pope Pius XII on Saturday, June 12, 1954. His body is enshrined for the veneration of the faithful in the Church of Santa Maria in Trivio, Italy.
Reflections on the Precious Blood
Father Gerald Fitzgerald
“The Precious Blood of Jesus obviously belongs to all men, insomuch as for all men without exception it was poured out on Calvary.
Nevertheless it will be profitable for us priests to reflect upon our special relationship with the Redeeming Blood of Christ.
1. We share with all sinners -- aware of what the Blood of Christ has purchased for us -- in a debt of gratitude which God's continued patience with us and the forgiveness of our daily transgressions only serves to increase. We share insofar as we have accepted the graces of personal holiness in the gratitude of Our Blessed Mother and all the Saints -- for all holiness is of the Blood of Jesus. This is made obvious by the grace of our Communions.These reflections tend to make the thoughtful priest anxious to deepen his gratitude and devotion to the Precious Blood, to quicken his desire to offer the Chalice of Salvation with greater tenderness, reverence, and humility, and to resolve to glorify the Blood of Jesus by lifelong fidelity to that priestly self-discipline of which the Blood of Jesus is both the Source, Inspiration and Everlasting Reward.
2. We share uniquely in Mary's privilege of bringing the Precious Blood to men. Her Immaculate Heart is the Fountain-head but for the continued presence of the Blood of Jesus upon our altars God deigns to utilize us, His priests, so that effectively we share in Mary's privilege of giving the Blood of Jesus to the world.
3. We administer the fruits of the Precious Blood every time we administer the Holy Sacraments and most specifically in every sacramental absolution.
May the Blood of Jesus quicken
us to the glory of God and the salvation of immortal souls." (Father
Gerald Fitzgerald [b. in South Framingham, Massachusetts on Monday, October
29, 1894 - d. in Marlboro, Massachusetts on Saturday, June 28, 1969
at 6:00 p.m.], The Precious Blood and the Priest.)
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