Photo from Catholic Archdiocese of Salt Lake
God Bless Matt McDonald and the people of Fox 13 in Salt Lake City. They tried their level best to report on what happened last week at Mass at St. Francis Xavier in a place called Kearns in the Salt Lake City Archdiocese and make it sound like just an every day occurance, but…it just made them sound amazingly anti-Catholic. So, allow this Catholic who tears her hair out when the media mangles the Faith to explain why we are all pretty excited.
Last Sunday, on the Feast of Christ the King (a big one, and the end of the Liturgical year), during the Communion procession, a Host was returned to the main celebrant. It had been given to a young person who was either not Catholic or who had not made his First Communion. The priest, in order to be able to dispose of the Host as the Precious Blood is done, put the Host in water to get it to dissolve. Communion Hosts and unconsecrated wafers as a physical entity are nothing more than pressed wheat flour with some water, so they dissolve easily. Three days later, not only had the Host not dissolved, but there were indications that it was bleeding. The Host had red circles and there was a pink hue around them.
We in the Catholic Church call such events – when thoroughly investigated and approved – Eucharistic Miracles. There have been several over the last 2,000 years. When they happen and the people catch wind of it, quite naturally, just like in the Bible when Christ said to keep something a secret, word spreads like wildfire. That has happened and the people are waiting to find out if this was a sick prank, or the real deal.
At this writing, all reports including those from the Salt Lake City Archdiocese say that the Host is with the Archdiocese as the investigation of a possible miracle proceeds. The committee to study the Host and the events surrounding the possible miracle has already been formed. (In Church time, this is LIGHTNING fast speed.) This is standard procedure, and is partially for safe keeping. It will be a while before there is a ruling given all the testing and questioning that needs to be done, but as fast as action was taken, indications are that the archdiocese is taking this claim most seriously. (This is not always the case.)
It is always possible that this Host somehow was covered in red mold…through the airtight packaging that communion wafers are in before Consecration just like most crackers, actually…but if that is the case, wouldn’t there have been more of them, and why would it be red and not green since we’re talking about bread here. Hmm. The idea of a hoax or prank is always a possibility. That is why investigations are vital to determine if miracles are real or not. If there is no scientific explanation, then there isn’t. (Happens all the time, actually, but it’s usually medical.)
Whatever the outcome of the event, the possibility of an actual Eucharistic Miracle beyond Consecration is tantalizing to those of us in the pews. Anything is possible with God.
Now comes the hard part. We get to find out if the red spots are really Precious Blood and if so, is it AB- just like all the rest of the Eucharistic Miracles, and the Shroud of Turin, and The Crown of Thorns, and the cardiac muscle that comes alive once a year in Naples….