Written by Marion Buondonno

For those of us who were glued to our computers on March 27 when Pope Francis gave the “Urbi et Orbi” Blessing, I would assume you witnessed the Pope bow and pray before the crucifix that was outside in St. Peters Square. But did you know this was a very special crucifix known as the Miraculous Crucifix? It was moved from its home at St. Marcellus Church to St. Peters Square for the Pope’s Blessing.

The story of the Miraculous Crucifix began on an evening in May 1519. The St. Marcellus church was ravaged by a terrible fire. In the morning, the people came to see the church in ruins still smoldering in ashes. But to their surprise, they found the crucifix that hung over the altar totally intact. No damage done. And at the foot of the crucifix, the oil lamp that kept the crucifix lit was still burning with just a small amount of damage. 

The people shouted that this was a miracle and the devout faithful began to gather every Friday to pray and light lamps at the foot of the wooden image. It exists even to this day. It is called the “Archconfraternity of the Holy Crucifix in Urbe.”

That wasn’t the only miracle that occurred with the Miraculous Crucifix. Three years later in 1522, a terrible plague struck the city of Rome. This plague was so severe that they were afraid the city of Rome would cease to exist.

The Friars of the Servant of Mary decided in desperation to carry the crucifix in a procession from the church of St. Marcellus to St. Peter’s Basilica. The authorities, in fear of more contagion, tried to prevent the procession, but the people ignored their orders and carried the crucifix through the streets of Rome.

The procession lasted several days. It covered the entire area of Rome. When the crucifix was returned to its place, the plague stopped completely! Rome was saved.

It’s been 500 years since Rome was stricken with this terrible plague. Earlier in March, Pope Francis visited St. Marcellus to ask for the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

I was just wondering, if our eyes were to gaze upon this “Miraculous Crucifix” and prayed for the end of this horrible coronavirus pandemic, we too would receive a miracle: the Coronavirus stopped and the world saved.

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