Perpetual Adoration History at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church
Something remarkable happened at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church in 1949. Our Lord Jesus, Himself, decided to choose a number of parishioners to form an Adoration group. They called themselves the Nocturnal Adoration Society of St. Bonaventure.
Unknown to many back then, this was the beginning of what would become an extraordinary journey – with far-reaching consequences for thousands and thousands of lives and families since then.
The Adoration program quickly expanded as the Lord continued to choose more and more people to spend time with Him. First Saturday Adoration was begun in 1951. In 1956, the daytime hours on Tuesday were filled on a weekly basis. On January 22, 1957 the first registration pad was placed in the back of church for adorers to sign in.
From this time on, progressively, the daytime hours for all seven days were filled. By 1960, hours up to midnight were filled. Finally, Perpetual Adoration (around the clock) was given a try. It was the evening of February 14, 1961, the day before the first day of Lent that year. Excepting times when the Eucharist has been reposed for liturgical services, church cleaning, illnesses, or inclement weather, there has been someone spending time with the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament every single minute of every day since then.
The unique Adoration Clock at the top of this webpage represents the amount of time elapsed since Perpetual Adoration began on that 1961 Valentine’s Day. How appropriate it was that February 14, the day the world uses to celebrate love, was the day Jesus chose for 24 hour Adoration to begin.
Since its beginning well over half a century ago, thousands and thousands of lives have been transformed, hour by hour and minute by minute, as each person in the Adoration program has come to know the great gift of developing a personal relationship with their Creator. The Adoration program has now expanded so that St. Bonaventure Adorers are now joined by Adorers from both St. Isidore’s and St. Anthony’s Catholic churches in Columbus.
There is a wonderful and special connection that links all the people in the Adoration program from now, and going all the way back to those who started the Nocturnal Adoration Society in 1949. Every single person from then until now has been intentionally chosen by Jesus for this special honor of “watching one hour” with Him.
No matter what reason a person might think he or she decided to become part of the Adoration program, or no matter who might have recruited them, the underlying reason is that Jesus Himself wanted that person – and He chose them!
Someday far, far from now, there will be a magnificent Heavenly Banquet where all of the Adorers in the St. Bonaventure Adoration program will be reunited. Won’t it be wonderful for all of us who have been in the program to share stories of how many of our lives, and the lives of those we touched as a result, were radically changed by this personal and enduring encounter with Our Lord!
Frankly, you meet the nicest people who are Adorers. It is virtually impossible not to. There is a friendship and bond that develops between those who have adjacent hours. You begin to ask about each other’s families. You share both the good news and the struggles we all have and learn to pray with and for each other. Our prayers help one another carry those burdens. The relationship you build with fellow adorers is like the relationship you build with Jesus. You talk to Him, tell Him about your family, the good and bad and you let Him help carry your burdens.
By the way, as a bonus, your Guardian Angel absolutely loves it when you spend time in the presence of the Holy Eucharist! You’ll hear firsthand about that some day – and won’t that be an experience!
Years ago, the Franciscans in our parish always encouraged newly married couples and couples of all ages to make an “Hour” together. Taking time out of our busy schedules to spend an hour with Jesus is something we all would benefit from doing. Talk about good stewardship, we turn our time into gold by spending it in adoration! Our prayers are extra powerful when prayed while adoring the real presence of Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. God will not be outdone in generosity.
Adoration is one thing that really hasn’t changed much over the years. People come in, sign-in and “transfer the guard”. There are still Day Captains and Evening Captains that try to keep the Hours filled and look for subs.
On February 14, 2021 we will celebrate 60 years of Perpetual Adoration. What a great blessing these years have been for our parish! Thank you so much to those who have been so faithful over the years. You will be blessed forever because truly you were “chosen” for this singular gift. And for those who are still thinking about taking an hour, please take a short ten minutes to view the “Here I Am, Lord” video link above. If your heart is touched by what you see and hear, that is Jesus inviting you to become one of his “chosen” ones.
You can say yes to His invitation by calling the St. Bonaventure office at (402) 564-7151 or contacting us on this link
By the way, there are some changes in the works that will make it easier for more people to answer Our Lord’s invitation to be one of His “chosen”. Keep an eye on the weekly bulletin for information on these upcoming changes. It’s going to be wonderful!
What is Perpetual Adoration?
Perpetual Adoration is a Eucharistic devotion whereby members of a given parish (or other entity) unite in taking hours of adoration before the Most Blessed Sacrament (in most cases exposed) both during the day and throughout the night, seven days a week.
What Are Reasons For Establishing Perpetual Adoration?
To provide an easy and practical way of rendering God adoration which is His due as our Creator; to give Him thanks for our redemption by His sacrifice, which repaired our sins and the sins of mankind; to petition our Lord for the constant help we need; to show our gratitude to our Lord for His remaining among us in our tabernacles; and to make at least some atonement for the many sacrileges, indifferences, and ingratitude which He receives in His Sacrament of Love.
What Spiritual Benefits and Graces Can Be Attributed to Perpetual Adoration?
- An increase in Mass attendance and reception of the sacraments,
- Return of fallen-away Catholics and increase in the number of conversions,
- Increase in religious and priestly vocations,
- Renewal of Catholic family life,
- A Spiritual awakening of parishioners, resulting in the desire and courage to spread the “good news” to others,
- A greater community spirit, centered as it is on the heart of the parish, which is Jesus’ Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.
How Does One Spend An Hour Before Jesus Exposed In The Blessed Sacrament?
This hour that Jesus wants you to spend with Him is spent any way you want. You may bring your own prayer books, use the books available in church, read the Bible, pray the rosary, or just sit and relax and enjoy the sweet peace that comes from simply being in the Presence of God. You may feel that cannot pray well. Don’t let this discourage you. The mere fact that you take the time out at a specific time each week to spend an hour with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament pleases Him very much and is in itself a prayer of great faith. Please remember that Perpetual Adoration in a parish is not just for a day, a week, a month, or a year. Rather, it is for always. It is not temporary, but ongoing, lasting, permanent. It will transform your life!
Why Catholics Believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist
This article was provided from Catholic Answers, a wonderful Catholic Apologetics reference website.
Christ in the Eucharist
Protestant attacks on the Catholic Church often focus on the Eucharist. This demonstrates that opponents of the Church—mainly Evangelicals and Fundamentalists—recognize one of Catholicism’s core doctrines. What’s more, the attacks show that Fundamentalists are not always literalists. This is seen in their interpretation of the key biblical passage, chapter six of John’s Gospel, in which Christ speaks about the sacrament that will be instituted at the Last Supper. This tract examines the last half of that chapter.
John 6:30 begins a colloquy that took place in the synagogue at Capernaum. The Jews asked Jesus what sign he could perform so that they might believe in him. As a challenge, they noted that “our ancestors ate manna in the desert.” Could Jesus top that? He told them the real bread from heaven comes from the Father. “Give us this bread always,” they said. Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” At this point the Jews understood him to be speaking metaphorically.
Again and Again
Jesus first repeated what he said, then summarized: “‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’” (John 6:51–52).
His listeners were stupefied because now they understood Jesus literally—and correctly. He again repeated his words, but with even greater emphasis, and introduced the statement about drinking his blood: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (John 6:53–56).
Notice that Jesus made no attempt to soften what he said, no attempt to correct “misunderstandings,” for there were none. Our Lord’s listeners understood him perfectly well. They no longer thought he was speaking metaphorically. If they had, if they mistook what he said, why no correction?
On other occasions when there was confusion, Christ explained just what he meant (cf. Matt. 16:5–12). Here, where any misunderstanding would be fatal, there was no effort by Jesus to correct. Instead, he repeated himself for greater emphasis.
In John 6:60 we read: “Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’” These were his disciples, people used to his remarkable ways. He warned them not to think carnally, but spiritually: “It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63; cf. 1 Cor. 2:12–14).
But he knew some did not believe. (It is here, in the rejection of the Eucharist, that Judas fell away; look at John 6:64.) “After this, many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him” (John 6:66).
This is the only record we have of any of Christ’s followers forsaking him for purely doctrinal reasons. If it had all been a misunderstanding, if they erred in taking a metaphor in a literal sense, why didn’t he call them back and straighten things out? Both the Jews, who were suspicious of him, and his disciples, who had accepted everything up to this point, would have remained with him had he said he was speaking only symbolically.
But he did not correct these protesters. Twelve times he said he was the bread that came down from heaven; four times he said they would have “to eat my flesh and drink my blood.” John 6 was an extended promise of what would be instituted at the Last Supper—and it was a promise that could not be more explicit. Or so it would seem to a Catholic. But what do Fundamentalists say?
They say that in John 6 Jesus was not talking about physical food and drink, but about spiritual food and drink. They quote John 6:35: “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.’” They claim that coming to him is bread, having faith in him is drink. Thus, eating his flesh and blood merely means believing in Christ.
But there is a problem with that interpretation. As Fr. John A. O’Brien explains, “The phrase ‘to eat the flesh and drink the blood,’ when used figuratively among the Jews, as among the Arabs of today, meant to inflict upon a person some serious injury, especially by calumny or by false accusation. To interpret the phrase figuratively then would be to make our Lord promise life everlasting to the culprit for slandering and hating him, which would reduce the whole passage to utter nonsense” (O’Brien, The Faith of Millions, 215). For an example of this use, see Micah 3:3.
Fundamentalist writers who comment on John 6 also assert that one can show Christ was speaking only metaphorically by comparing verses like John 10:9 (“I am the door”) and John 15:1 (“I am the true vine”). The problem is that there is not a connection to John 6:35, “I am the bread of life.” “I am the door” and “I am the vine” make sense as metaphors because Christ is like a door—we go to heaven through him—and he is also like a vine—we get our spiritual sap through him. But Christ takes John 6:35 far beyond symbolism by saying, “For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed” (John 6:55).
He continues: “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me” (John 6:57). The Greek word used for “eats” (trogon) is very blunt and has the sense of “chewing” or “gnawing.” This is not the language of metaphor.
Their Main Argument
For Fundamentalist writers, the scriptural argument is capped by an appeal to John 6:63: “It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” They say this means that eating real flesh is a waste. But does this make sense?
Are we to understand that Christ had just commanded his disciples to eat his flesh, then said their doing so would be pointless? Is that what “the flesh is of no avail” means? “Eat my flesh, but you’ll find it’s a waste of time”—is that what he was saying? Hardly.
The fact is that Christ’s flesh avails much! If it were of no avail, then the Son of God incarnated for no reason, he died for no reason, and he rose from the dead for no reason. Christ’s flesh profits us more than anyone else’s in the world. If it profits us nothing, so that the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ are of no avail, then “your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (1 Cor. 15:17b–18).
In John 6:63 “flesh profits nothing” refers to mankind’s inclination to think using only what their natural human reason would tell them rather than what God would tell them. Thus in John 8:15–16 Jesus tells his opponents: “You judge according to the flesh, I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone that judge, but I and he who sent me.” So natural human judgment, unaided by God’s grace, is unreliable; but God’s judgment is always true.
And were the disciples to understand the line “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life” as nothing but a circumlocution (and a very clumsy one at that) for “symbolic”? No one can come up with such interpretations unless he first holds to the Fundamentalist position and thinks it necessary to find a rationale, no matter how forced, for evading the Catholic interpretation. In John 6:63 “flesh” does not refer to Christ’s own flesh—the context makes this clear—but to mankind’s inclination to think on a natural, human level. “The words I have spoken to you are spirit” does not mean “What I have just said is symbolic.” The word “spirit” is never used that way in the Bible. The line means that what Christ has said will be understood only through faith; only by the power of the Spirit and the drawing of the Father (cf. John 6:37, 44–45, 65).
Paul Confirms This
Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor. 10:16). So when we receive Communion, we actually participate in the body and blood of Christ, not just eat symbols of them. Paul also said, “Therefore whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. . . . For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Cor. 11:27, 29). “To answer for the body and blood” of someone meant to be guilty of a crime as serious as homicide. How could eating mere bread and wine “unworthily” be so serious? Paul’s comment makes sense only if the bread and wine became the real body and blood of Christ.
What Did the First Christians Say?
Anti-Catholics also claim the early Church took this chapter symbolically. Is that so? Let’s see what some early Christians thought, keeping in mind that we can learn much about how Scripture should be interpreted by examining the writings of early Christians.
Ignatius of Antioch, who had been a disciple of the apostle John and who wrote a letter to the Smyrnaeans about A.D. 110, said, referring to “those who hold heterodox opinions,” that “they abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again” (6:2, 7:1).
Forty years later, Justin Martyr, wrote, “Not as common bread or common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, . . . is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66:1–20).
Origen, in a homily written about A.D. 244, attested to belief in the Real Presence. “I wish to admonish you with examples from your religion. You are accustomed to take part in the divine mysteries, so you know how, when you have received the Body of the Lord, you reverently exercise every care lest a particle of it fall and lest anything of the consecrated gift perish. You account yourselves guilty, and rightly do you so believe, if any of it be lost through negligence” (Homilies on Exodus 13:3).
Cyril of Jerusalem, in a catechetical lecture presented in the mid-300s, said, “Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that, for they are, according to the Master’s declaration, the body and blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but be fully assured by faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy
of the body and blood of Christ” (Catechetical Discourses: Mystagogic 4:22:9).
In a fifth-century homily, Theodore of Mopsuestia seemed to be speaking to today’s Evangelicals and Fundamentalists: “When [Christ] gave the bread he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my body,’ but, ‘This is my body.’ In the same way, when he gave the cup of his blood he did not say, ‘This is the symbol of my blood,’ but, ‘This is my blood,’ for he wanted us to look upon the [Eucharistic elements], after their reception of grace and the coming of the Holy Spirit, not according to their nature, but to receive them as they are, the body and blood of our Lord” (Catechetical Homilies 5:1).
Whatever else might be said, the early Church took John 6 literally. In fact, there is no record from the early centuries that implies Christians doubted the constant Catholic interpretation. There exists no document in which the literal interpretation is opposed and only the metaphorical accepted.
Why do Fundamentalists and Evangelicals reject the plain, literal interpretation of John 6? For them, Catholic sacraments are out because they imply a spiritual reality—grace—being conveyed by means of matter. This seems to them to be a violation of the divine plan. For many Protestants, matter is not to be used, but overcome or avoided.
One suspects, had they been asked by the Creator their opinion of how to bring about mankind’s salvation, Fundamentalists would have advised him to adopt a different approach. How much cleaner things would be if spirit never dirtied itself with matter! But God approves of matter—he approves of it because he created it—and he approves of it so much that he comes to us under the appearances of bread and wine, just as he does in the physical form of the Incarnate Christ.
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presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
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permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004
The greatest Eucharistic Miracle is, of course, the miracle of transubstantiation.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines this doctrine in section 1376:
“The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: ‘Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.’”
In other words, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that once an ordained priest blesses the bread of the Lord’s Supper, it is transformed into the actual flesh of Christ (though it retains the appearance, odor, and taste of bread); and when he blesses the wine, it is transformed into the actual blood of Christ (though it retains the appearance, odor, and taste of wine).
Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is really, truly, and substantially present in the Eucharist. There are many extraordinary stories of Eucharistic miracles throughout Church history and many of these are supported by scientific evidence and testing.
It’s important to note that no Catholic is required to believe any of these stories. Even if they have been investigated and approved by the Church, the Church does not give any absolute guarantee to their authenticity. Nor does the Catholic dogma of transubstantiation depend on the authenticity of these stories (it is based on Scripture and Tradition).
What makes many of these stories particularly noteworthy is you can still go see evidence of the miracles today. Following is a general introduction to the topic of Eucharistic miracles, as well as several documented stories of miracles of the Most Holy Eucharist. All of the miracles included in this section have been approved by the Catholic Church.
- Miracle at Lanciano
- Miracle at Siena
- Miracle at Amsterdam
- Miracle at Bolsena-Orvieto
- Miracle at Blano
Eucharistic Miracles: Evidence of the Real Presence
By: Ron Rychlak
At every Catholic Mass, following the command of Jesus himself, the celebrant raises the host and says, “Take this, all of you, and eat it: This is my body, which will be given up for you.” Then he lifts the cup and says, “Take this, all of you, and drink from it: This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me.”
The doctrine of transubstantiation, the teaching that bread and wine are converted into the actual flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, is difficult. When Christ first told his followers of it, many rejected him. But Jesus did not clarify his statement or correct their misunderstanding. He simply repeated his command to the disciples at the Last Supper. Some Christians today still have trouble accepting this teaching.
Throughout history, though, many people have reported miracles that brought them back to the truth. The Church has recognized over one hundred eucharistic miracles, many of which occurred during times of weakened faith in transubstantiation.
One of the earliest was recorded by the Desert Fathers in Egypt, who were among the first Christian monks. One of these monks had doubts about the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated bread and wine. Two of his fellow monks prayed for his faith to be strengthened, and they all attended Mass together. According the account they left behind, when the bread was placed on the altar, the three men saw a small child there. When the priest put out his hand to break the bread, an angel descended with a sword and poured the child’s blood into the chalice. When the priest cut the bread into small pieces, the angel also cut the child into pieces. When the men drew near to receive Communion, the skeptical man alone received a morsel of bloody flesh. Seeing this, he became afraid and cried out: “Lord, I believe that this bread is your flesh and this chalice your blood.” Immediately the flesh became bread, and he took it, giving thanks to God.
The other monks then had a great insight into the miracle that takes place at each Mass. They explained, “God knows human nature and that man cannot eat raw flesh, and that is why he has changed his body into bread and his blood into wine for those who receive it in faith.”
In 1263, a German priest known as Peter of Prague was struggling with the doctrine of transubstantiation. While he was saying Mass in Bolseno, Italy, blood began to stream out of the host and onto the corporal at the moment of consecration. This was reported to and investigated by Pope Urban IV, who concluded that the miracle was real. The bloodstained linen is still exhibited at the cathedral in Orvieto, Italy. Many eucharistic miracles are like the one experienced by Peter of Prague, in which the host turns into flesh and blood.
Pope Urban had already associated with a eucharistic miracle. Years earlier, Bl. Juliana of Cornillon, in Belgium, had a vision in which she saw a full moon that was darkened in one spot. A heavenly voice told her that the moon represented the Church at that time, and the dark spot showed that a great feast in honor of Corpus Christi was missing from the liturgical calendar. She reported this vision to a local Church official, the archdeacon of Liège, He later became Pope Urban IV.
Remembering Juliana’s vision as he verified the bloody miracle reported by Peter of Prague, Urban commissioned St. Thomas Aquinas to compose the Office for the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours for a new feast dedicated to devotion of the Eucharist. This liturgy of Corpus Christi (more fully defined in 1312) is pretty much how we celebrate it today.
At Mass on Easter Sunday, 1331, in Blanot, a small village in the middle of France, one of the last people to receive Communion was a woman named Jacquette. The priest placed the host on her tongue, turned, and started walking toward the altar. He did not notice that the host fell from her mouth and landed on a cloth covering her hands. When he was alerted to it, he went back to the woman, who was still kneeling at the railing. Instead of finding the host on the cloth, the priest saw only a spot of blood.
When Mass was over, the priest took the cloth into the sacristy and placed it in a basin of water. He washed the spot numerous times but found that it became darker and larger, eventually reaching the size and shape of a host. He took a knife and cut the part bearing the bloody imprint of the host from the cloth. He then put it in the tabernacle along with the consecrated hosts that remained after the Mass.
Those consecrated hosts were never distributed. Instead, they were kept in the tabernacle along with the cloth relic. After hundreds of years, they were still perfectly preserved. Unfortunately, they were lost during the French Revolution. The bloodstained cloth, though, was preserved by a parishioner named Dominique Cortet. It is solemnly exposed in St. Martin’s Church in Blanot every year on the feast of Corpus Christi.
A Bright Light
With some eucharistic miracles, the host emits a bright light. In 1247, for instance, a woman in Santarem, Portugal, was concerned about her husband’s faithfulness. She went to a sorceress, who promised the woman that her husband would return to his loving ways if the wife would bring a consecrated host back to the sorceress. The woman agreed.
At Mass, the woman managed to obtain a consecrated host and put it in a kerchief, but before she could return to the sorceress, the cloth became bloodstained. This frightened the woman. She hurried home and hid the cloth and host in a drawer in her bedroom. That night, the drawer emitted a bright light. When her husband saw it, the woman told him what had happened. The following day, many townspeople came to the house, attracted by the light.
The people reported the events back to the parish priest, who went to the house. He took the host back to the church and put it in a wax container where it continued to bleed for three days. The host remained in the wax container for four years. One day when the priest opened the tabernacle door, he saw that the wax had broken into numerous pieces. In its place was a crystal container with the blood inside.
The house where the miracle took place was converted into a chapel in 1684. Even today, on the second Sunday of April, the incident is re-enacted in the Church of St. Stephen in Santarem. The reliquary that houses the miraculous host rests above the tabernacle in that church, and it can be viewed year-round from a set of stairs behind the main altar.
A similar phenomenon took place in the 1300s in the village of Wawel, near Krakow, Poland. Thieves broke into a church, forced their way into the tabernacle, and stole the monstrance containing consecrated hosts. When they determined that the monstrance was not made of gold, they threw it into nearby marshlands.
When darkness fell, a light emanated from the spot where the monstrance and consecrated hosts had been abandoned. The light was visible for several kilometers, and frightened villagers reported it to the bishop of Krakow. The bishop called for three days of fasting and prayer. On the third day, he led a procession to the marsh. There he found the monstrance and the consecrated hosts, which were unbroken. Annually on the occasion of the feast of the Corpus Christi, this miracle is celebrated in Corpus Christi Church in Krakow.
The Face of the Christ Child
In some eucharistic miracles, an image appears on the host. The miracle of Eten, Peru, for instance, began on June 2, 1649. That night, as Fr. Jèrome Silva was about to replace the monstrance in the tabernacle, he saw in the host the image of a child with thick brown curls that fell to his shoulders. He held the host up to show the image to those present. They all agreed that it was an image of the Christ Child.
A second apparition took place the following month. During the exhibition of the Eucharist, the Child Jesus appeared again in the host, dressed in a purple habit over a shirt that covered his chest, as was the custom of the local Indians, the Mochicas. It was felt at the time that the divine Child wanted to show his love for the Mochicas. During this apparition, which lasted about fifteen minutes, many people also saw in the host three small white hearts, thought to symbolize the three Persons of the Holy Trinity. The celebration in honor of the Miraculous Child of Eten still attracts thousands of people to Peru each year.
One of the more recent verified miracles was of a similar nature. It began on April 28, 2001, in Trivandrum, India. Fr. Johnson Karoor was saying Mass when he saw three dots on the consecrated host. He stopped reciting the prayers and stared at the Eucharist. He then invited those at Mass to look, and they also saw the dots. He asked the faithful to remain in prayer, and he placed the Holy Eucharist in the tabernacle.
At Mass on May 5, Fr. Karoor again noticed an image on the host, this time a human face. During adoration, the figure became more clear. Fr. Karoor later explained: “I didn’t have the strength to speak anything to the faithful. I stood aside for some time. I couldn’t control my tears. We had the practice of reading Scripture and reflecting on it during adoration. The passage that I got that day as I opened the Bible was John 20:24–29, Jesus appearing to St. Thomas and asking him to see his wounds.” Fr. Karoor called a photographer to take photos. They can be seen on the Internet at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/988409/posts.
Parting the Waters
A totally different type of eucharistic miracle was recorded by St. Zosimus of Palestine in the sixth century. This miracle concerns St. Mary of Egypt, who left her parents at the age of twelve and became a prostitute. Seventeen years later, she found herself in Palestine. On the feast day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, Mary went to the church, looking for customers. At the door of the church, she saw an image of the Virgin Mary. She was overcome with remorse for the life she had led and asked for our Lady’s guidance. A voice told her, “If you cross the Jordan River, you will find peace.”
The next day, Mary did so. There, she took up the life of a hermit and lived alone in the desert for forty-seven years. As the Virgin had promised, she found peace of soul. One day she saw a monk, St. Zosimus of Palestine, who had come to the desert for Lent. Although they had never met, Mary called him by his name. They spoke for a while, and at the end of the conversation, she asked Zosimus to come back the following year and bring the Eucharist for her.
Zosimus did as she requested, but Mary was on the other side of the Jordan. There was no boat for him to cross to her, and Zosimus thought that it would be impossible to give her Communion. St. Mary made the sign of the cross and walked across the water to meet him, and he gave her Communion. She again asked him to return the following year, but when he did, he found that she had died. Next to her corpse was a note asking that he bury her. He reported that he was assisted by a lion in the digging of her grave.
My favorite eucharistic miracle took place in Avignon, France, in November 1433. A small church run by the Gray Penitents of the Franciscan order was exhibiting a consecrated host for perpetual adoration. After several days of heavy rain, the Sorgue and Rhône rivers had risen to a dangerous height. On November 30, Avignon was flooded. The head of the order and another friar rowed a boat to the church, certain that their little church had been destroyed. Instead, they saw a miracle.
Although water around the church was four feet high, a pathway from the doorway to the altar was perfectly dry, and the sacred host was untouched. The water had been held back in the same way the Red Sea had parted. Amazed by what they had seen, the Friars had others from their order come to the church to verify the miracle. The news spread rapidly, and many townspeople and authorities came to the church, singing songs of praise and of thanks to the Lord. Still today, the Gray Penitent brothers reunite at the Chapelle des Pénitents Gris every November 30 to celebrate the memory of the miracle. Before the blessing of the sacrament, the brothers perform a sacred chant taken from the Canticle of Moses, which was composed after the parting of the Red Sea.
The Miracle of Mass
The Real Presence Association is currently translating reports of 120 Vatican-approved miracles from Italian into English. The stories of these miracles will be available at www.therealpresence.org.
Faith, of course, should not be based on miracles alone. Several of the recorded miracles are very old, and it may be possible to dismiss them. There is no doubt, though, that reports of these miracles have strengthened the faith of many in the instructions given by Christ and provided avenues for contemplation of the miracle that takes place at each Mass. The translation of these reports will permit more people to learn of eucharistic miracles and, like others before them, have their faith in Jesus’ teachings strengthened.
This article appeared in Catholic Answers Magazine, Volume 17, Number 7. Ronald J. Rychlak is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the MDLA Professor of Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law.
The Miracle at Lanciano, Italy, 8th Century A.D.
Ancient Anxanum, the city of the Frentanese, has contained for over twelve centuries the first and greatest Eucharistic Miracle of the Catholic Church. This wondrous Event took place in the 8th century A.D. in the little Church of St. Legontian, as a divine response to a Basilian monk’s doubt about Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist.
During Holy Mass, after the two-fold consecration, the host was changed into live Flesh and the wine was changed into live Blood, which coagulated into five globules, irregular and differing in shape and size.
The Host-Flesh, as can be very distinctly observed today, has the same dimensions as the large host used today in the Latin church; it is light brown and appears rose-colored when lighted from the back.
The Blood is coagulated and has an earthy color resembling the yellow of ochre.
Various ecclesiastical investigation (“Recognitions”) were conducted since 1574.
In 1970-’71 and taken up again partly in 1981 there took place a scientific investigation by the most illustrious scientist Prof. Odoardo Linoli, eminent Professor in Anatomy and Pathological Histology and in Chemistry and Clinical Microscopy. He was assisted by Prof. Ruggero Bertelli of the University of Siena.
The analyses were conducted with absolute and unquestionable scientific precision and they were documented with a series of microscopic photographs.
These analyses sustained the following conclusions:
- The Flesh is real Flesh. The Blood is real Blood.
- The Flesh and the Blood belong to the human species.
- The Flesh consists of the muscular tissue of the heart.
- In the Flesh we see present in section: the myocardium, the endocardium, the vagus nerve and also the left ventricle of the heart for the large thickness of the myocardium.
- The Flesh is a “HEART” complete in its essential structure.
- The Flesh and the Blood have the same blood-type: AB (Blood-type identical to that which Prof. Baima Bollone uncovered in the Holy Shroud of Turin).
- In the Blood there were found proteins in the same normal proportions (percentage-wise) as are found in the sero-proteic make-up of the fresh normal blood.
- In the Blood there were also found these minerals: chlorides, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and calcium.
- The preservation of the Flesh and of the Blood, which were left in their natural state for twelve centuries and exposed to the action of atmospheric and biological agents, remains an extraordinary phenomenon.
In conclusion, it may be said that Science, when called upon to testify, has given a certain and thorough response as regards the authenticity of the Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano.
The Miracle at Siena, Italy 1730
The miracle occurred Aug. 14, 1730, eve of the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. That day in all the churches of Siena the priests consecrated additional hosts for those who might wish to receive the Body of Christ the following day.
That night all the priests of Siena met in the main cathedral of the city for a vigil, leaving their respective churches alone. Some thieves took advantage and entered the Basilica of St. Francis to steal the gold chalice with the consecrated hosts.
The next morning it was discovered that the hosts were not there and a group of faithful found the upper part of the chalice in the middle of the street. Thus it was verified that the Body of Christ had been stolen. The inhabitants of Siena began to pray so that the hosts would be recovered.
Three days later, while a man was praying in the Church of St. Mary of Provenzano, very near the Basilica of St. Francis, he noticed that there was something white inside a box for donations to the poor. Upon investigation, the box was found to contain 351 hosts — the same number of hosts that had been stolen.
“Those three days were like the days between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection,” reflected Franciscan Father Spring, a priest who was assigned in 1997 the task of looking after the Eucharistic Miracle.
The hosts were full of dust and cobwebs. The priests cleaned them with great care. Then there was a day of adoration and reparation. Thousands of faithful arrived in the basilica in thanksgiving for the finding of the hosts. They were not distributed, it seems, because the Franciscans wanted the pilgrims to adore them until the moment they deteriorated (because on being deteriorated, the real presence of Christ would disappear).
But the hosts remained intact. The people began to consider them miraculous and increasingly pilgrims went to pray before them. A few were distributed on special occasions.
Today, 280 years later, 223 hosts remain, in the same state they were in the day they were consecrated.
“At different stages they have been examined and they physically retain all the characteristics of a newly made host,” explained Father Spring.
In 1914 the most rigorous examination of this miracle was carried out by order of Pope St. Pius X.
“The Sacred Particles turned out to be in perfect state of consistency, lucid, white, perfumed and intact,” Father Spring said.
The examination also concluded that the stolen hosts were prepared without special precautions and kept under ordinary conditions that, in normal circumstances should have caused deterioration.
On Sept. 14, 1980, Pope John Paul II traveled to Siena to celebrate the 250th anniversary of this Eucharistic miracle. On going there, he said, “It is the Presence.” Personalities such as St. John Bosco and Blessed Pope John XXIII have also prayed before these holy hosts.
For Father Spring, the Eucharistic miracle of Siena “represents a proof of the love of God for us and the presence to sustain us against doubts, difficulties — the miracle with which God the Father is helping the Church not to be afraid, to live the presence of her founder sent by the Father to do his will.”
“Here two miraculous things happen,” explained Father Spring pointing to the hosts consecrated almost three centuries ago. “Time does not exist, it has stopped”; and “composite bodies and organic substances are subject to withering. For these hosts, neither fungus nor elements that break them down subsist. It is a living, continuous miracle. We do not know until when the Lord will permit it.”
Eucharistic Miracle of Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1345
On March 12, 1345, a few days before Easter, Ysbrand Dommer, thinking he was near the end of his life, sent for the parish priest of the church of Oude Kerk so he could receive the Last Rites. Shortly after receiving Holy Communion, he vomited everything into a small basin whose contents were then thrown into the flames of the fireplace.
The next day Ysbrand was completely restored to health. One of the maids taking care of him approached the fireplace to poke the fire and noticed a strange light centered on the Host that was intact. The woman began to scream and everyone within earshot ran to witness the miracle. Ysbrand recovered the Host and wrapped the Holy Eucharist in a linen cloth that was placed in a case and immediately carried the Blessed Sacrament to the parish priest. But the miracle continued: three times the priest had to return to Ysbrand’s house to recover the Host that miraculously reappeared there. It was then decided to turn Ysbrand Dommer’s house into a chapel. On Easter Sunday, everyone who had witnessed the miracle, and the mayor of Amstel, compiled a report of the events. The report was delivered to the Bishop of Utrech, Jan van Arkel, who authorized devotion to the miracle.
In 1452 the chapel was destroyed by a fire, but strangely the monstrance containing the miraculous Host remained intact. In 1665 the city council authorized Father Jan Van der Mey to convert one of the houses of the former convent of the Beghine into a chapel. Here the precious monstrance was transferred, but unfortunately was shortly afterwards taken by unknown thieves. Even today there is perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in memory of the miracle. The only objects that remain from the Eucharistic miracle are the case that contained the Sacred Host, the documents that describe the miracle, and some paintings housed in the Historical Museum of Amsterdam. Every year there is a silent procession (Stille Omgang) in honor of the miracle on the eve of Palm Sunday.
Eucharistic Miracle–Bolsena-Orvieto, Italy
This miracle occured in 1236, a time when a heresy in the Church called Berengarianism was rampant in Europe and which denied the True Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist.
A priest was on pilgrimage to Rome to ask for strength in his vocation and to remove his doubts about tthe presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. On his way he stopped at Bolsena, a small town north of Rome.
During Mass in Bolsena at the consecration as the priest said “This is My Body,” the Host began to bleed profusely. The priest took the Corporal and wrapped up the bleeding Host, although blood fell on the marble floor in front of the altar. He immediately took it to Pope Urban IV who was in nearby Orvieto at the time. The Holy Father declared that a Eucharistic Miracle had occured which dispelled the heresy of Berengarianism.
The Holy Father also created a new feast, the Feast of Corpus Christi, to commemorate the Miracle of Bolsena. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote two hymns, O Salutaris and Tantum Ergo, which are still sung today.
The bloodstained marble tiles are kept in Bolsena and the bloodstained Corporal in Orvieto.
Eucharistic Miracle at Blanot, France
The Eucharistic miracle occurred ina small town called Blanot, in France. It was Easter Sunday, March 31, 1331. Because of the solemn occasion, two men of the parish were also serving Holy Communion in addition to the altar boys.
At Communion time, the two men approached the altar railing, took their places at each end, and turned the long cloth over the railing. The parishoners took their places, held their hands underneath the cloth, and waited for the approach of the priest. One of the last to receive was a woman names Jacquette.
The priest placed the Host on her tongue, turned, and started walking back to the altar. It was then that the two men, and a few communicants saw the Host fall from her mouth, and land on the cloth that covered her hands. Immediately, the two parishoners giving out Communion informed the priest. The priest immediately left the altar and approached the railing; but instead of finding the Host, all that was there was a spot of blood the same size as the Host.
When Mass was over, the priest took the cloth into the sacristy and tried to scrub the blood spot with water; but insted of getting smaller and lighter, it just got bigger and darker. The priest and his assistants were astonished and the priest exclaimed, ” This is the Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ .”
The priest then took a clean knife, and cut out the area of the cloth stained with the Holy Blood, and he reverently placed it in the tabernacle. Fifteen days later, there was an investigation, and the relic was proven to be true. Sometime later, a crystal tube was made for the relic. At either end are rings of gold and copper, with a cross surmounting the top. The tube, with the cloth clearly visible, is sealed and kept in a special obstensorium. This is adorned at its base with four painted panels depicting events in the history of the relic.
Each year on Easter Monday, according to ancient custom, the relic is solemnly exposed in the church of Blanot.
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