On June 7, 2010, Fr. John Hedges of St. Stephen Catholic Church in New Boston, MI, told his parish of a Eucharistic miracle that had occurred the week before. Here is a firsthand account from a parishioner (READ IT), and here is a fairly objective account from a Catholic blogger who lives in the area and took a skeptical stance but is inclined to believe it having investigated a bit.
It sounds very similar to a story I read last year about a Polish priest who had an apparent Eucharistic miracle where flesh appeared on a host. He had the host tested, and it was positive for human myocardial tissue.
Here is the summary of the case from the case in Sokółka, Poland, from the official diocesan investigation:
<blockquote>1. On 12 October 2008 a consecrated Host fell out of hands of priest distributing Holy Communion. He has picked It up and placed in the vasculum in tabernacle. After the Mass, vasculum with contents has been transferred to the safe in sacristy.
2. On 19 October 2008 after opening the safe one could see a red stain on the Host, giving the impression of being the blood stain.
3. On 29 October 2008 the vessel with Host was transferred to the tabernacle in the chapel of the rectory. Next day The Host has been removed from the water and placed on the corporal in the tabernacle.
4. On 7 January 2009 the sample from the Host has been taken and examined independently by two professionals in pathomorphology of Medical University in Bialystok. They have issued a common statement as follows: “the sample sent to assess (…) in our opinion (prof. Maria Sobaniec-Lotowska and prof. Stanislaw Sulkowski) looks like the myocardial tissue, at least of all the tissues of living organisms it most resembles.”
5. The Commission found that the Host, which was sampled for the assessment is the same that has been moved from the sacristy to the tabernacle in the chapel of the rectory. Third party intervention was not found.</blockquote>
At the time, what struck me was the reverence of the priest at giving the Host all that attention and the fact that the priest bothered to have it investigated at all.
A similar situation is at work in this case from Michigan. Fr. Hedges found a desecrated host in a hymnal. He said it was, sadly, quite common to find such hosts around the church.
He put the host in a vasculum and put water on it, just like the priest in Poland, wanting to dissolve it for proper disposal. Now, there is some confusion apparently whether the “miraculous” Host (an odd term, since they’re all miraculous) is the one that was in the vasculum or one that was reserved in the Tabernacle, but the sequence was very similar. He went back, and saw what appeared to be blood on a host in the Tabernacle. Puzzled, the next day, he checked the Tabernacle again, and there was a lot of blood. Next day, there was less. He felt it was a sign, and thus told his congregation about it.
Now, the thing that strikes me is that, according to one of the reports, Fr. Hedges said this was not the first time he’d seen blood on a host in the Tabernacle–but it’s usually something that appears and goes away, and this was the first time it stayed.
One of my favorite saint stories is the one about St. Louis of France–who is, of course, one of this site’s patrons–one Christmas Eve. A courtier came in to his private chamber and cried, “Your Majesty! Come quickly! There has been a great miracle at Midnight Mass in the Royal Chapel! When the priest elevated the Host at the moment of Consecration, the Face of Christ appeared in the Eucharist!”
The holy King and Third Order Franciscan (patron saint of all secular orders) turned to the courtier calmly and asked, “Why are you interrupting my meditation on the birth of Our Lord to tell me of a miracle that occurs at every Mass?”
I often wonder if Eucharistic “Miracles” of this sort happen more often than people realize, and most people either don’t notice or just accept it and move on. My dad in his many years as a church musician witnessed a few Eucharistic miracles. I have witnessed one–I was at a daily Mass once, and as the priest said, “This is my Body,” I heard a loud bang and saw a bright flash of white light. I looked around to see if anyone else saw anything. I also looked around to see if a socket or light bulb had blown out.
These days, you get YouTube videos of hosts elevating themselves, bleeding, appearing to burn, etc. Many people say, “Miracles are multiplying.”
I don’t really think so, because, in the history of the Church, only one or two of these miracles have been widely reported per year, and we’re still at the same average. Again, as actively as I keep my eye on such things, I’ve seen two very similar miracles reported a year apart (and the one in Poland only became news when the Diocesan investigation closed, a year and a half later). So I don’t think the miracles are more common–but I do think we’re noticing more because of technology and able to share more because of technology.
Thus, to me, the most interesting part of this Michigan case is that the priest admits it’s actually quite common for priests to see blood in the Tabernacle. They just realize it’s no big deal.