Traveling display highlights eucharistic miracles
An exhibit of photographs and historical accounts of eucharistic miracles, such as the Miracle of Lanciano, is on display in Denver this month. “Eucharistic Miracles of the World” is presented through a series of 72 panels.
By Julie Filby
Exhibit: Eucharistic Miracles of the World
Dates: Dec. 5-11
Times: 7:30 a.m.-midnight, Monday-Friday; 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday; 12:30 p.m.-midnight Sunday
Second Location: John Paul II Center, chancery building first floor
Address: 1300 S. Steele St., Denver
Dates: Dec. 13-18
Times: 7 a.m.-9 p.m., every day
Photo by James Baca/DCR
In eighth-century Italy, a priest who doubted whether the body of Christ was truly present in the Eucharist celebrated Mass. During the consecration the priest—along with others present—witnessed the host literally changing to flesh, and the wine to blood.
The authenticity of the event, dubbed the “Miracle of Lanciano,” has been investigated since 1574, including examination by the World Health Organization in the 1970s. Scientific analysis concluded the flesh and blood to be real: of the human species, blood type AB, and specifically, the muscular tissue of the heart.
An exhibit of photographs and historical accounts of eucharistic miracles, such as the Miracle of Lanciano, is on display in Denver this month. “Eucharistic Miracles of the World”—presented through a series of 72, 2-feet-by-3-feet panels—offers the faithful an opportunity to “virtually visit” places all over the world throughout the ages, by portraying bleeding hosts and other wonders from documented historical events.
The exhibit is currently on display at Regis University through Dec. 11; and will be available at the John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization Dec. 13-18.
“Attendees can expect photo displays and descriptions of some of the major incidents of eucharistic miracles over the centuries,” according to Thomas Reynolds, vice president for mission at Regis. “Because celebration of the Eucharist is the central experience of our Catholic faith, this exhibit has both historical and spiritual significance.”
When Desmond Birch; author, theologian and parishioner at St. Joan of Arc Church in Arvada; learned of the traveling exhibit, he presented the idea of bringing it to Denver to then-Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
“The first thing that crossed my mind was our seminarians need to see this,” said Birch. “Many of those early miracles, in particular, were in response to priests who were having doubts that the consecrated species actually substantially became the body and blood of Christ. … But to anyone that’s happened to, all the doubts went away.”
He said centuries later seeing accounts of these miracles can have the same effect.
“(The Eucharist) is the central liturgical fact of the life of the Church,” he said. “Everything in the Church revolves around the Eucharist … this exhibit will bring virtually anybody to believe that.”
The exhibit was created by Italian teenager Carlo Acutis (1991-2006). During his short life—the youth died from an aggressive form of leukemia—Acutis researched and compiled a collection of 140 recognized eucharistic miracles. The cause for his beatification has been introduced in the Archdiocese of Milan.
The exhibit was initiated by the Pontifical Academy of Martyrs, an academic honorary society in Rome, established by the Church for the advancement of the cult of saints and martyrs. It operates with guidance from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and the Roman Curia.
The Real Presence Eucharistic Adoration and Education Association promotes the exhibit in the United States; along with The Cardinal Newman Society, an organization that strives to strengthen Catholic identity in Catholic higher education. The Cardinal Newman Society has been sharing the exhibit on Catholic and secular college campuses since 2007.
“The Cardinal Newman Society believes that devotion to the Eucharist is essential to Catholic universities’ Catholic identity,” said Adam Wilson, director of communications. “As part of our adoration campaign, we make the Eucharistic Miracles exhibit available. … We’re convinced that spreading devotion to the holy Eucharist is an absolutely necessary component to our mission of helping renew Catholic higher education.”
Organizers believe the exhibit can have special relevance for young people, as it was created by a young Catholic.
The public is invited to view the display at Regis University’s main campus at 3333 Regis Blvd. in Denver in the Dayton Library through Dec. 11. The exhibit will then be on display Dec. 13-18 at the John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization at 1300 S. Steele St., on the first floor of the chancery building. There is no charge for the event.