Feast of the Most Precious Blood
The Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ was a feast included in the General Roman Calendar from 1849 to 1969.
For many dioceses there were two days to which the Office of the Precious Blood was assigned, the office being in both cases the same. The reason was this: the office was at first granted to the Fathers of the Most Precious Blood only. Later, as one of the offices of the Fridays of Lent, it was assigned to the Friday after the fourth Sunday in Lent in some dioceses, including, by decision of the Fourth Provincial Council of Baltimore (1840), those in the United States.
When Pope Pius IX went into exile at Gaeta in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1849), he had as his companion Father Giovanni Merlini, third superior general of the Fathers of the Most Precious Blood. After they had arrived at Gaeta, Don Merlini suggested that His Holiness make a vow to extend the feast of the Precious Blood to the entire Church, if he would again recover possession of the Papal States. The Pope took the matter under consideration, but a few days later, on 30 June 1849, the day the French army conquered Rome and the insurgents of the Roman Republic capitulated, he sent his domestic prelate Joseph Stella 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 immediately to all Christendom."
On 10 August of the same year, he officially included the feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the General Roman Calendar for celebration on the first Sunday in July, the first Sunday after 30 June, the anniversary of the liberation of the city of Rome from the insurgents.
In reducing the number of feasts fixed for Sundays, Pope Pius X assigned the date of 1 July to this feast.
The feast was removed from the General Roman Calendar in 1969, "because the Most Precious Blood of Christ the Redeemer is already venerated in the solemnities of the Passion, of Corpus Christi and of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and in the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. But the Mass of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ is placed among the votive Masses".
In Catholic belief, the Blood of Christ is precious because it is Christ's own great ransom paid for the redemption of mankind. In this belief, as there was to be no remission of sin without the shedding of blood, the "Incarnate Word" not only offered his life for the salvation of the world, but he offered to give up his life by a bloody death, and to hang bloodless, soulless and dead upon the Cross for the salvation of humanity. Jesus is said to have given his life - his blood - for the sake of all humanity, regardless of any religious division or difference in belief, atoning for every form of human sin.[need quotation to verify]
"O God, who by the Precious Blood of your Only Begotten Son have redeemed the whole world, preserve in us the work of your mercy, so that, ever honouring the mystery of our salvation, we may merit to obtain its fruits. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever."
- "Lives of the Saints," by Omer Englebert, New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1994, p. 254, ISBN 1-56619-516-0 (casebound)
- Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana 1969), p. 128
- "The Saint Andrew Daily Missal, with Vespers for Sundays and Feasts," by Dom Gaspar LeFebvre, O.S.B., Saint Paul, MN: The E. M. Lohmann Co., 1952, p. 1409
- "Lives of the Saints, For Every Day of the Year," edited by Rev. Hugo Hoever, S.O.Cist., Ph.D., New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1955, p. 251
- "Lives of the Saints, For Every Day of the Year," p. 252
- Roman Missal, Votive Masses, 7
- "Salvete Christi Vulnera". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.