DIOCESE—For Catholics, the Eucharist is the most important sacrament, a genuine manifestation of God’s love. The belief in Christ’s real presence in bread and wine consecrated during the Mass is the cornerstone of the faith.
Through the course of church history, many extraordinary events involving the Eucharist have been documented.
People will have a chance to learn about these miracles through the Vatican International Exhibition of the Eucharistic Miracles of the World, which will be available for display at parishes in South Carolina beginning in June.
The exhibit features photographs and written accounts of 126 miracles from around the world, all approved by the Vatican.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone gave permission for the displays in 2009. Father Hayden J. Vaverek, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Anderson, is moderator for the exhibit. Heesun Devlin is coordinating the schedule.
Father Vaverek said a set of display posters is available to exhibit on an ongoing basis.
The miracles described took place in Europe, Africa and on the island of Martinique in the Caribbean.
In many cases, they involve a consecrated host that has survived fire or other damage. Several events occurred after a priest or other person expressed doubt in Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist.
One involves consecrated hosts in Sienna, Italy, which have been preserved for more than 250 years. Scientists have analyzed the hosts and are not able to explain why they remain fresh and intact.
An especially dramatic display describes an incident in 1263 in Bolsena-Orvieta, Italy. A priest there admitted he had problems believing in the real presence of Christ during the Mass. Shortly after he consecrated the hosts, blood appeared to seep out of them. The event led Pope Urban IV to commission the feast of Corpus Christi — the Body of Christ — which is still celebrated today.
“They’ll be seeing and learning about the history of these miracles in the history of the church,” Father Vaverek said. “It’s a way to see how God has manifested his love to the church through the Eucharist, and in a special way through these miracles.”
Father Vaverek said the exhibit is especially useful in promoting the power of the Eucharist and the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
“Through these miracles, God helps to reveal the true nature of the Eucharist, the truth of the church,” he said.
“The Eucharist is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, and these miracles manifest that reality. These miracles happened all over the world, and it would be hard or even impossible to get to see many of them. Through this exhibit, we can bring these miracles to the people of God,” he added.
Father Vaverek and Devlin said there are plans to have the displays translated into Spanish.
The first exhibition will be 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 5 and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 6 at Holy Family Church on Hilton Head Island, in conjunction with the feast of Corpus Christi. Dominican Father Robert Goedert will speak during Masses. He is a member of the Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association in Illinois, www.therealpresence.org.
The next display will be at Immaculate Conception Church in Goose Creek, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. June 26 and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 27. Adorno Father Jun M. Abog, parochial vicar, will lead a parish mission during the weekend.
If a church does not have enough space for all 126 displays, a smaller version of the exhibit can be prepared.
Parishes interested in hosting the exhibit may contact Devlin at (864) 292-6195 or email@example.com.