The History of Feast of the Precious Blood
According to the Traditional Catholic Calendar of 1962 and prior, July 1st is the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This feast was instituted for the Universal Church in 1849 by Pope Pius IX and was raised to the rank of a double of the first class by Pope Pius XI on the occasion of the nineteenth centenary of our Savior’s death in 1933.
This Feast, like so many others, has fallen victim to the post-Vatican II Church’s novelties. While only established in 1849, this relatively recent feast day is worth honoring and considering after having completed the month of June, which is dedicated to the honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
However, devotion to the Precious Blood of our Lord stretches back long before the establishment of this July 1st feast day. Devotion to the Precious Blood is connected to devotion to the Passion and Death of Our Lord since through the shedding of His Blood, mankind was redeemed. Consequently, one can say the Church has always honored the Blood of Jesus Christ. Romans 5:9 states, “we are justified by His blood”, and Hebrews 13:12 states, “and so Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people by His blood, suffered outside the gate.” 1 John 1:7 also writes of the Precious Blood: “…and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.” We would do well to meditate on the seven times Christ shed His Precious Blood for our salvation. As Fr. Peter Scott, SSPX reminds us:
“The veneration of the Precious Blood of Our Divine Saviour is as old as the Passion in which it was shed. It is founded on the simple doctrine of the Incarnation, namely that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity took a human nature to Himself, and that this human nature is the human nature of God. We call this the hypostatic union. Every part of Christ’s human nature is united to the second divine Person. This includes his Precious Blood, to which is consequently owed the adoration that is owed to God Himself, that of Latria. We consequently do not need any private revelation to tell us about devotion to the Precious Blood, but find it deeply rooted in the deposit of the Faith.”
Closer to our modern era, devotion to the Precious Blood has been greatly encouraged by St. Gaspar Buffalo, founder of the Congregation of the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. Pope Pius IX was exiled from Rome in 1849. A companion of Pope Pius IX was Don Giovanni Merlini, the third general of that Congregation. Don Giovanni Merlini suggested to Pope Pius IX that he make a vow to give the Feast of the Precious Blood to the entire church if he should regain the papal territory. The Feast however had been celebrated beforehand by the Fathers of the Most Precious Blood on the Friday after the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
We owe the institution of a special feast in honor of the Precious Blood to Pope Pius IX. It was Pope St. Pius X who transferred the feast from the first Sunday of July to July 1st. And it was Pope Pius XI, who raised the rank of the feast day, in commemoration of the 19th centennial of the mystery of the Redemption.
Devotions to the Precious Blood
In honor of the Feast of the Most Precious Blood, and for the month of July which is in a special manner dedicated to the memory of the Precious Blood, the Church has blessed several devotions that we should consider practicing at this time:
- Chaplet of the Most Precious Blood (approved by Pope Pius VII and enriched with indulgences originating back to 1809 and 1815)
- Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus (approved by Pope John XXIII on February 24, 1960 and enriched with an indulgence)
- Offering in Reparation to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus (approved by Pope Pius VII on September 22, 1817, and enriched with an indulgence)
- An Offering of the Precious Blood for Souls
- The Seven Offerings of the Precious Blood (approved by Pope Pius VII and enriched with indulgences originating back to 1817)
We may also consider for our summer reading getting a copy of Devotion to the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ: The Greatest Devotion of Our Time produced by the Apostolate for the Precious Blood.