Little is known about Januarius except that he was a bishop of Benevento (near Naples, Italy) and was probably martyred during the persecutions under Emperor Diocletian around 305. According to legends about Januarius, he went to visit Christians who had been imprisoned. He was then arrested and condemned to death for being a Christian. Januarius and his companions were thrown to wild beasts in an amphitheater, but the wild animals refused to harm them. The Christians were beheaded instead, and the blood and body of Januarius were brought back to Naples. Januarius is regarded as the patron saint of Naples, and his protection is sought when there is the danger of volcanic eruption.
Direct the students to reflect on the need to live their faith even during difficult times. Call their attention to occasions when they can live it.
The relics of Januarius, including a four-inch flask of his blood, have been attracting people since the 15th century. Each year, the clot of blood liquefies 18 times. Discuss the purpose of miracles and miraculous events and the role of faith without such signs.
Excerpted from Christ Our Life, by Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio
Image credit: Saint Janarius by Caravaggio, 1607. Public Domain via Wikimedia.