Eucharistic Phenomena of the 1990’s
There are several alternative explanations for communion hosts turning a reddish color, the most common of which is the presence of the bacterium serratia marcescens. Serratia marcescens grows readily on starchy foodstuffs and looks like a reddish, bloody coloration to ordinary visual inspection. It looks substantially different under microscopic examination and can be distinguished readily from human blood. Without testing for the presence of human blood, it’s difficult to be certain that this bacterium isn’t involved. After eliminating reports of Eucharistic phenomena that could be attributed to the presence of this bacteria, there are still a number of reports of Eucharistic phenomena that merit attention coming from all over the world in the 1990’s – a number never before witnessed in the history of the Church in such a short time period. The more well known of these are described in the following:
Betania, Venezuela – an inexplicable event occurred in Betania, Venezuela – site of a series of remarkable Marian Apparitions – on the vigil of the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1991. Father Otty Ossa, chaplain of the Betania site and spiritual director of the Marian visionary Maria Esperanza, was saying Mass in the open air chapel next to the grotto, when the host began to bleed in his hands after the consecration. Fr. Otty explained:
“I broke the Host into four parts. When I looked down at the plate I could not believe my eyes. I saw a red stain forming on the Host and from it a red substance was beginning to eminate similar to the way blood spurts out in a puncture.”
This event was videotaped, photographed and subject to intense evaluation by the local episcopate. They later determined that it was human blood.
Worcester, Massachusetts has been the site of a series of inexplicable events surrounding a twelve year old girl who was brain-damaged in a swimming pool accident when she was 3 years old. Unable to walk or talk the girl, Audrey Santo, has become the focus of a growing number of Catholic mystical experiences. For the past nine years the only solid food she has eaten has been the Holy Communion which she receives daily. Several years ago, the local Bishop permitted the Blessed Sacrament to be reserved in a tabernacle housed in Audrey’s room. On several different occasions the two gold engraved angels on the tabernacle door have wept fragrant oil. The oil has been examined by several different chemical labs but its makeup and origin is still unknown. Religious statues and pictures in Audrey’s room have wept oil and sometimes blood…reminiscent of the Marian apparitions in Damascus, Syria.
On three occasions, the Consecrated Host taken from the tabernacle has dripped a reddish fluid. The fluid has been examined by an independent testing laboratory and found to be human blood. On Good Friday 1996, the tabernacle in Audrey’s room began bleeding. Audrey herself now has the stigmata – the visible wounds of Jesus. Visitors to her room have reported inexplicable healings and spiritual conversions. At least three of Audrey’s nurses, who were not Catholics when they first began to care for her, have since converted to Catholicism.
In Audrey’s case, God has chosen a severely injured little girl to be one of His messengers to the world. He has given her multiple manifestations of His love and concern for her and for each of us. He wants us to know that it is He who comes to us in the Eucharist..it is He who wants us with Him for all eternity.
Marlboro, New Jersey has been the site of purported Marian apparitions for nearly ten years. On April 10, 1994, the feast of Divine Mercy, Father Robert Rooney, the spiritual director of the visionary, was celebrating morning Mass in nearby Yardville, New Jersey at Saint Vincent de Paul Church. As he raised the Host and said the words of consecration, blood flowed out of the Eucharist. The altar boys present and a number of parishioners saw this occur and Father Rooney was understandably shaken by the bleeding host. After showing the Host to the parish priest, it was decided that the Host should be retained in the tabernacle until the head of the local Episcopate, Bishop Reiss, could decide what actions should be taken. Several days later the Bishop decided not to investigate the phenomena and Fr. Rooney gave the Host to his spiritual director Father Valenta.
Father Valenta had the Host photographed and then examined by two medical doctors using non-invasive microscopic analysis. Non-invasive techniques were used since a bishop’s approval is required for any invasive examination. The doctors stated:
“There is no scientific explanation, the red material came from within the Host and it has the microscopic characteristics of human blood; the Church must make the determination as to any miracle.”
On June 6, 1994, the feast of Corpus Christi, Father Rooney stated that the Blessed Virgin appeared, in her first and only appearance to him, in his dining room and told him that her Son had sent him a gift – the gift of the bleeding Host – and from now on his spiritual director would take care of everything. Father Rooney died six weeks later on July 16, 1996 – the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Father Valenta delivered the bloody Host to Bishop Reiss of the Diocese of Trenton where it still resides.
Methuen, Massachusetts was the site of another inexplicable Eucharistic phenomena in 1995. In preparing to distribute Communion, a Eucharistic minister at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church opened the tabernacle to discover a Consecrated Host “bleeding” inside. The host was transfered to a container, apparently still bleeding, and retained there for further examination. Aside from a number of witnesses who observed the bleeding Host, the Host itself was sent to Dr. B. Lipinski, a biochemist, for non-invasive examination. He ascertained that the reddish substance was human blood. With this determination, a small sample of the crusted blood was sent to the California Laboratory of Forensic Sciences. After several preliminary tests confirmed the presence of blood, on August 30, 1995, a crossover electrophoresis was conducted on the sample which unequivocally identified the reddish substance as human blood. The local bishop is presently evaluating all the circumstances surrounding the appearance of this blood.
Rome, Italy has recently been the site of reports of its own set of inexplicable phenomena related to the Eucharist. Since 1971, an Italian Marian visionary, Marisa Rossi, has purportedly been receiving locutions and signs from Our Blessed Mother asking for humanity to change its ways and return to God – particularly in the Eucharist. These apparitions changed in character in the mid-90’s when Marisa took part in an inexplicable Eucharistic event on September 14, 1995 – the feast of the Exultation of the Cross. After praying in the chapel, Marisa, who is wheelchair-bound, stood and kissed the crucifix which Don Claudio Gatti had removed from the altar in preparation for a procession. Marisa said she saw a Host emerge from the side of the corpus on the cross and fall into her hand. Many around her noticed the Host which had not been there moments before. Another apparently inexplicable Eucharistic event occured in April of 1996 when Marisa was photographed as a Host suddenly appears in her outstretched hands during a purported apparition of the Blessed Virgin.
Barbeau, Michigan may have been the site of an inexplicable Eucharistic event on February 4, 1996. During Mass at the Church of the Holy Family, an inexperienced Eucharistic minister dropped a Host onto a patent (a plate used to catch particles of consecrated Host). Believing that this Host had to be placed in an ablution cup, the minister informed the priest of this despite the fact that the Host hadn’t touched either the ground or a communicant. The Host remained in the cup for a week because inclement weather prevented any weekday Masses. The following Sunday, February 11th, a dime-sized red coloration was seen on the surface of the Host. The Host, which had been in water to help disolve it, was engorged with water but otherwise retained its shape. The local bishop, who was advised of these developments via telephone, suggested to the parish priest, Father Mark A. McQuesten, that the coloration was probably due to a fungus growing on the Host and that it should be disposed of in the approved manner. The priest continued to show the Host to his parishioners and had it photographed as well.The local news media picked up the story several weeks later and after another call from the Bishop, Fr. McQuesten finally touched of the Host for the first time on February 26th. He planned to dispose of it in the manner authorized by the Church. However, he stated that when he touched it, it felt like flesh, that he had to tear at it in order to rip it – not at all what one would expect from a water-logged piece of unleavened bread. During all this time the Host never lost its shape or the red coloration it first displayed nearly a month earlier.
These are only a few of the many reports of inexplicable Eucharistic phenomena presently occuring around the world that are being evaluated by local episcopal and medical authorities. This concentration of Eucharistic phenomena, if substantiated, is unprecedented in Catholic Church history. The combination of the outpouring of Marian apparitions and this awesome display of Eucharistic love would appear to be setting the stage for the most remarkable period of faith conversion in modern history. It would appear as though Saint John Bosco’s prophecy is about to be fulfilled within the next three years!! Let us pray that the world doesn’t continue to battle the emergence of God’s supernatural love into our daily lives – because that is a battle the world will surely lose!!