Over Thanksgiving week two similar news stories emerged that have been widely shared on social media. The subject of each was a Consecrated Host, yet each was in stark contrast to the other.
DESECRATED HOSTS IN PAMPLONAThe first was the story of over 240 stolen Hosts that were displayed as "art" in Pamplona, Spain. The "artist" attended Mass multiple times and received Holy Communion in the hand, without consuming the Hosts. Instead he kept them and used them to spell the word Pederastia (Spanish for pederasty) on the ground as a public exhibit. The sacrilegious display of desecrated Hosts was permitted and endorsed by the city council Department for Culture, which is actually a crime by Spanish law.
POSSIBLE EUCHARISTIC MIRACLE IN SALT LAKE CITYThe next day, reports were spreading of a Eucharistic miracle in the United States in the Diocese of Salt Lake City, Utah, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Kearns.
On November 8th a boy received the Holy Eucharist at Mass, but he had not yet made his First Holy Communion. A relative of the boy, realizing the mistake, retrieved the Host and gave it back to the priest after Mass concluded. As is customary, the Host was placed in a glass of water to dissolve so that it could be properly disposed.
However, on the third day after being placed in the water, the Host appeared to bleed.
As reported by Fox 13: Salt Lake City on November 25th:
KEARNS, Utah — The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City is investigating an event that some are calling a miracle inside the Saint Xavier church in Kearns.
Last week, during the holy communion, a host was returned to the Father overseeing the service. A host is the small wafer handed out as part of the communion. The father placed the host in glass of water near the head of the church. Typically, the host will dissolve away in a few minutes.
Three days later, members of the church say the host was still floating and it appeared to be bleeding. Word spread, and the church filled with people. For a short time, the host was on display.
The Salt Lake City Diocese has taken possession of the host, appointing a committee to look into the incident. The head of the committee, Monsignor M. Francis Mannion issued this statement:
"Recently, reports of a bleeding host at St. Francis Xavier Church in Kearns have been circulating within the diocese. Monsignor Colin F. Bircumshaw, Diocesan Administrator, has appointed an ad hoc committee of individuals with various backgrounds to investigate the matter. The work of the committee is now underway. The results will be made public.
The host is now in the custody of the Diocesan Administrator. Contrary to rumor, there are NO current plans for public exposition or adoration.
Whatever the outcome of the investigation, we can use this time to renew our faith and devotion in the greatest miracle — the Real Presence of Jesus Christ that takes place at every Mass."
Msgr. M. Francis MannionCommittee Chair
There are no plans to make the host available for public view or adoration, according to the Diocese. However, the results of the investigation will be made public when it is complete.
The Diocese of Salt Lake City has released the report from their investigation and determined that the above incident was not a miracle and the red coloration was due to natural causes.
THE TRUTH OF JESUS' REAL PRESENCE IN THE BLESSED SACRAMENTGod has permitted the grace of many Eucharistic Miracles throughout Church history which you can read about here. But, as Msgr. M. Francis Mannion reminds us above, this "bleeding Host" is a miracle that happens at every Mass; it is the reality of what we are truly receiving in our bodies with each reception of Holy Communion. We literally receive the actual Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.
Once in a while, when the faithful need it the most, God pulls back the curtain of our senses to show us the reality of what our Catholic Faith has always taught. And just such a moment was when our Eucharistic Lord was shamefully and perversely desecrated in Pamplona.
As it happened last week, the news of the desecrated Hosts and the Eucharistic Miracle were appearing almost side-by-side. If we did not flinch interiorly at the news of the desecration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the news of the miracle was there to keep our hearts in check.
May this "Divine Coincidence" teach us to be more faithfully devoted to the Holy Eucharist and its proper reverence, and, after the manner of Our Lord, to pray in reparation for sacrilegious acts against Him: "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:24).
PRAYER OF REPARATION BEFORE THE BLESSED SACRAMENTJesus, my God, my Savior, true God and true Man, with that most profound homage with which the faith itself inspires me, I adore and love Thee with my whole heart, enclosed in the most august Sacrament of the Altar, in reparation for all the acts of irreverence, profanation, and sacrilege, which I may ever have been so unhappy as to have committed, as well as for all such like acts that ever have been done, or which may be done, though God forbid they should be, in ages yet to come.
I adore Thee, therefore, my God, not indeed as Thou deservest, nor as much as I am bound to adore, but as far as I am able; and I would that I could adore Thee with all the perfection of which all reasonable persons are capable. Amen.