My sister had a boy in her class when she was little named Gennaro. I knew nothing about his name but that I assumed it was Italian, and I loved it so much that I had it on my own preteen/teen name lists for years, despite the fact that I have not a drop of Italian blood (and, though I didn’t know it back then of course, neither does my husband).
I thought Gennaro was the coolest name — I’d never heard it before that little boy, and I hadn’t heard it since then — until March, when the blood of Naple’s patron saint, St. Januarius — aka St. Gennaro — liquefied in the presence of Pope Francis, the first time it had done so in the presence of a pope since Pope Pius IX in 1848.
What a miracle that was! Amazing! And I read about it in wonder, and rejoiced over it, and I thanked God that Pope Francis had been given such a gift … but always in the back of my mind was that swoony feeling I had every time I would carefully copy Gennaro onto my name lists (yes, I had several). And to know it’s a saint’s name!
I don’t know about you all, but Januarius has like 1/millionth of the coolness of Gennaro. Funny enough, despite my constant pretzeling of names to force feasible nicknames out of even the most un-nicknamable, I’ve never once thought of doing so for Gennaro. Off the top of my head, I can’t even think of one — certainly not Gen(n). Naro? Jar-o? (Ha!) Maybe Geo? That would probably be my favorite. But really, for me, it’s all about Gennaro.
What do you all think of Gennaro? Do you like it? Do you know anyone with the name? Is there something wrong with me that I was almost as interested in the Saint’s name as I was in the amazing once-in-two-centures miracle? (*Almost as*, I promise!)