FAIRPORT — Recent visitors to Church of the AssumptionThe gymnasium of saw pictures of the host and wine which, when consecrated in Lanciano, Italy, in 750, visibly turned into flesh and blood and remain intact today.
Visitors have also seen photos of the consecrated host who began sprinkling a red substance as communion was distributed during a mass in Tixtla, Mexico in 2006. Scientific tests carried out on the stained host 2009 to 2012 concluded that the red substance was human blood of the same type — Type AB — as the blood that appeared at Lanciano more than 1,200 years earlier.
The events in Lanciano and Tixtla were among the 40 eucharistic miracles chronicled in the International Exhibition: Eucharistic Miracles of the World, an exhibition which was presented in several parishes throughout the Diocese of Rochester These last months. The Church of the Assumption hosted the exhibition from June 20 to July 10.
Parish kicks off Eucharistic revival with devotion and display
Parish staff scheduled the event to coincide with the June 19 opening of the three-year national Eucharistic Revival, according to Julie Gutierrez, pastoral associate at Assumption Church.
The Catholic bishops of the United States have called for revival with the intention of renewing the belief and devotion of Catholics to the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Bishop Salvatore R. Matano opened the local phase of the revival with a June 19 Mass at Corpus Christi Church in Rochester, followed by a Eucharistic procession through the urban neighborhood around the church.
The parishioners of the Church of the Assumption marked the opening of the Eucharistic revival by participating in the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during a forty-hour devotion that ended on June 19, which is the feast of the Corpus Christi, or the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. The display of Eucharistic miracles seemed like a natural follow-up to the forty-hour devotion, Gutierrez said.
“Learning about Eucharistic miracles around the world is a great way to strengthen our faith in the Real Presence,” Gutierrez said. “That’s what it’s all about, understanding real presence and making it real to people.”
An Italian teenager designed and planned a catalog of Eucharistic miracles
The Eucharistic miracles recounted in the exhibition at the Church of the Assumption have been selected from an online catalog, also called International Exhibition: Miracles of the Eucharist around the World. This resource was conceived and planned by Blessed Carlo Acutis, an Italian teenager who died of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 15. He is the patron of this first year of the National Eucharistic Revival.
Mary Jo Maurer heard about the teenager when he was beatified in October 2020 and learned more about him in 2021 when her daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. Maurer, who belongs to the St. Kateri Latin Mass Community at St. Thomas the Apostle in Irondequoit, was impressed when she visited Blessed Carlo Acutis’ website.
“All eucharistic miracles that have ever been approved by the church are chronicled on this website,” Maurer said. “It’s incredibly well done. He started the website when he was 11, which was incredibly impressive, and he finished it when he was 14.
Maurer believes Eucharistic miracles are a gift from God, meant to strengthen the faith of Catholics and invite others to believe, she said.
“I think we’re supposed to use them,” she said.
Display made available to local parishes
Maurer requested and obtained permission to print some of the information cataloged on the website and display it in local churches.
“The only requirement we had from the people (associated with) Blessed Carlo Acutis was that you were to make sure you posted Carlo’s portrait with an explanation of what it was. Of course we did “, she said.
Maurer worked with Father Peter Van Lieshout, rector at Rochester’s Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, to select which miracles would be included in the display. Her husband, John, printed the panels using large-format printers in their basement, and the Maurers’ son, Joseph, created wooden supports for each of the panels.
The Cathedral of the Sacred Heart hosted the exhibition for several weeks during Advent. Peace of Christ Parish in Rochester hosted the exhibit in June, and several other parishes are expected to host it in the coming months. Maurer said she is willing to loan the exhibit to any parishes or groups — such as the Knights of Columbus — that request it.
“That’s what it was made for. There is no cost,” she said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Those interested in borrowing the exhibit can contact Mary Jo Maurer at [email protected].