Dear Secular family,
It’s hard to believe that July is around the corner, I feel I’ve known that July is the month of the Precious Blood forever, but I realised I didn’t know why, so I searched it out and here it is, note it was instituted to aid the “end of a war”. Let us pray that again in July 2023 our prayer will aid the end of a war… in Ukraine.
The feast of the Precious Blood of our Lord was instituted in 1849 by Pius IX, but the devotion is as old as Christianity. The early Fathers say that the Church was born from the pierced side of Christ, and that the sacraments were brought forth through His Blood. Over time, the Church developed various feasts of the Precious Blood, but it wasn’t until the 19th century when a universal feast was established.
During the First Italian War for Independence in 1849, Pope Pius IX went into exile to Gaeta. He went there with Don Giovanni Merlini, third superior general of the Fathers of the Most Precious Blood. While the war was still raging, Merlini suggested to Pope Pius IX that he create a universal feast to the Precious Blood to beg God’s heavenly aid to end the war and bring peace to Rome. Pius IX subsequently made a statement on June 30, 1849 that he intended to create a feast in honour of the Precious Blood. The war soon ended and he returned to Rome shortly thereafter.
On August 10, he made it official and proclaimed that the 1st Sunday in July will be dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. Later, Pope Pius X assigned July 1 as the fixed date of this celebration.
After Vatican II, the feast was removed from the calendar, but a votive Mass in honour of the Precious Blood was established and can be celebrated in the month of July (as well as most other months of the year).
For these reasons the entire month of July is traditionally dedicated to the Precious Blood, and Catholics are encouraged to meditate on the profound sacrifice of Jesus and the pouring out of his blood for humanity.
Below is the opening prayer of the votive Mass, as well as an additional prayer that can be used as our own personal meditation/prayer during July: