While Catholics are always urged to have faith and pray, and not dwell on “disasters and calamities”, the failure of the relic to liquefy on December 16 (the first failure on any devotional occasion since 1980) will cause consternation for some.
On that date in 1631, the lava from an eruption on Mount Vesuvius stopped just outside of the city of Naples, a circumstance that was credited to San Gennaro, that patron saint of Napoli. Since that event, the blood — contained in reliquary ampules — has liquified every year, with the exception of a few notable years where a failure to do so seems to have forecasted difficult times ahead.
- In 1939 and 1940, dates coinciding with the beginning of World War II and Italy’s entry into it, and in 1943, when the Nazi occupation began.
- In 1973, there was also no liquification, and Naples was hit with an epidemic of cholera. In 1980, Irpinia earthquake occurred.