Greetings brothers and sisters,
Each week as we assemble in Mass to worship our Lord Jesus Christ, we are reminded of one of the foundational teachings of our Catholic faith: the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (CCC #1373.) At each and every Mass around the world, Jesus becomes fully present in the Eucharist through the divine mystery of transubstantiation. While the gifts brought to the Altar during the preparation are bread and wine, during the consecration, they truly and actually become the Real Body and Blood of our Lord (CCC #1375.)
From time to time, through His Will, our Lord emphasizes this reality to us; one such time occurred in our parish six years ago. On the first Friday of each month, our school participates in Adoration. The Blessed Sacrament is taken to the school to be displayed in the Monstrance in the school chapel. Throughout the day, each class takes about twenty minutes of time to sing, pray, and meditate in His Presence.
On the morning of February 4, 2011 during our school’s first Friday Adoration, Jesus made an image of Himself appear on the consecrated host that was on display. Although Jesus is always present in the Eucharist, on this occasion He made a likeness of Himself visible to the eyes of our school children, staff and parents. Kathy Tarnacki, our principal at the time, described what she saw as “a pencil-like sketch of the face of Christ, His head, His hair, beard, etc..” Our pastor at the time, Father Jim Shaver, extended the Adoration past the end of the school day until 8pm, and as word got out about what was occurring, hundreds of faithful in the area came to worship and adore Christ, and witnessed the miracle of His visible presence in the host.
As blessed as our parish family was to have experienced a Eucharistic Miracle right here in Jackson, Michigan, this miracle is far from being the only one:
During the 8th century in Lanciano, Italy a priest was experiencing doubts about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. While he was saying Mass, as he spoke the words “This is my body”, “This is my blood.” He saw the bread and wine transform into real human flesh. The flesh has been preserved to this day. In 1971 a scientific analysis was performed. The flesh was found to be cardiac tissue and the blood appeared fresh – although it was actually over 1200 years old at the time, and there were no traces of preservatives.
In the 13th century, a similar miracle happened to a priest while celebrating Mass in Bolsena, Italy. After consecrating the host, the host began to bleed with the drops falling onto a corporal (a cloth placed on the Altar.) The cloth is still on display today in Orvieto, Italy. Fr. Brian himself has been able to see it.
In the last two millennia hundreds of Eucharistic Miracles have occurred, and have continued into modern times: In addition to our own at St. John School in 2011, there have been miracles in Venezuela in 1991, Argentina in 1996, India in 2001, Mexico in 2006, and Poland in 2008.
As there have been more than I’m able to write about today, I invite you to come and learn about many of these miracles. Throughout the month of February, our parish will host an exhibit of Eucharistic Miracles, provided by the Real Presence Apostolate of Michigan. The exhibit will be on display in our Parish Community Room, and we invite everyone to come and see.
The exhibit will be open during our regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:00pm) and will also be available before and after weekend Masses. I hope to see you there!
Yours in Christ,