The Church of the Most Precious Blood is the National Shrine Church of San Gennaro and the location of Holy Doors during the Year of Mercy. Located on Baxter Street with an additional entrance on Mulberry Street, the Church of the Most Precious Blood is part of Manhattan's Little Italy neighborhood, and the sister Church of the Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral.
During the Feast of San Gennaro, a statue of San Gennaro is taken from its home within the church on a procession through the streets of Little Italy. The construction of Most Precious Blood was inititated by the Scalabrini Fathers in the late 19th century. The Scalabrini Order built the foundation but ran out of funds to complete the job. The Franciscans then took over the parish and completed the church building.
It is the home of the extraordinary Nativity of Mercy which beautifully presents the birth of Christ and the works of mercy in an awe inspiring display. Presepe or presepio -as it is affectionately called by Italians of all regions- is the results of countless hours of work of the artists of La Scarabattola a prestigious artistic Italian firm. The original idea of representing the birth of Christ is traditionally associated with Saint Francis of Assisi who in Greccio in 1223 invited all to participate in the coming of the Lord by reenacting the scene of manger. Appropriately the Nativity of Mercy presents Saint Francis while speaking at the birds.
Most Precious Blood is home to several vibrant religious societies in addition to the Figli di San Gennaro, including: the Community of Sant Egidio, the Craco Society, and the San Angelo Society. Besides the strong Italian tradition, the Vietnamese congregation has also grown in recent years.