According to Susan Dennin, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Salt Lake City, Father Eugenio Yarce, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Kearns, Utah, placed the returned host into an ablution bowl filled with water and left it to dissolve. Instead of dissolving, however, by the end of the week, part of the host had turned red, as if bleeding. When Father Yarce noticed the change, he notified others in the parish.
An ad hoc committee, led by Msgr. M. Francis Mannion, pastor emeritus of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Salt Lake City, has been formed to investigate. The committee includes Father Langes J. Silva, judicial vicar for the diocese; Deacon Scott Dodge; Maria Cruz-Gray; and Dr. Maureen L. Condic, associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah’s School of Medicine.
“Our approach is one of reverent caution,” Msgr. Mannion told Our Sunday Visitor. “We’re trying to approach the [event] reverently but also recognize that there’s a long tradition of claims for bleeding hosts in the Church. Some appear to be authentic and some are not authentic.”
Condic was scheduled to examine the host in early December, Msgr. Mannion said. If the preliminary investigation is inconclusive, she would move on to a second, then a third step.
Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, Msgr. Mannion said that the apparent bleeding host provides Catholics with an opportunity to focus on the beauty and the miracle of the Real Presence.
“So often we take for granted Christ’s presence in the Eucharist,” he said. This is “a chance for us to say the real miracle regarding hosts is that Christ is truly present.”
Once the committee has reached its decision, the results of the investigation will be made public, Msgr. Mannion said. The host is in the custody of the diocesan administrator, Msgr. Colin F. Bircumshaw, and there are no current plans for public exposition or adoration.
Catholics are not obligated to believe in Eucharistic miracles, but more than 140 have been examined and approved by the Church. Thousands more have been explained away by natural causes.
In a forward to the book “The Eucharistic Miracles of the World,” presented by The Real Presence Association Inc., Cardinal Raymond L. Burke wrote that “the devout study of the Eucharistic miracles inspires in us a deeper awareness and more ardent love of our Lord’s Real Presence with us in the Holy Eucharist. ... It should not surprise us that God has granted so many miracles to deepen our knowledge and love of his greatest gift to us ...”
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