Eucharistic miracles are focus of display at Fairport parish - Catholic Courier
Sam Chilbert (left) and Lucas Pelletier look over the eucharistic miracles display at Fairport's Church of the Assumption July 6. Sam Chilbert (left) and Lucas Pelletier look over the eucharistic miracles display at Fairport's Church of the Assumption July 6. (Courier photo by Jeff Witherow)

Eucharistic miracles are focus of display at Fairport parish

FAIRPORT — Recent visitors to Church of the Assumption’s gymnasium viewed photos of the host and wine that, when consecrated in Lanciano, Italy, in 750, visibly turned into flesh and blood and remain intact today.

Visitors also saw photos of the consecrated host that began to effuse a red substance as Communion was distributed during a Mass in Tixtla, Mexico, in 2006. Scientific tests conducted on the stained host from 2009-12 concluded that the red substance was human blood of the same type — Type AB — as that of the blood that appeared in Lanciano more than 1,200 years earlier.

The occurrences in Lanciano and Tixtla were among the 40 eucharistic miracles chronicled in International Exhibition: Eucharistic Miracles of the World, an exhibit that has been displayed at several parishes throughout the Diocese of Rochester in recent months. Church of the Assumption hosted the display from June 20 through July 10.

Parish kicks off Eucharistic Revival with devotion, display

Parish staff planned the event to coincide with the June 19 opening of the three-year National Eucharistic Revival, according to Julie Gutierrez, pastoral associate at Church of the Assumption.

The Catholic bishops of the United States called for the revival with the intention of renewing Catholics’ belief in and devotion 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 Rochester’s Corpus Christi Church, followed by a eucharistic procession through the urban neighborhood around the church.

Parishioners at Church of the Assumption marked the opening of the eucharistic revival by participating in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during a Forty Hours Devotion that concluded June 19, which is the feast of 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 Hours Devotion, Gutierrez said.

“Learning about the eucharistic miracles around the world is a great way to strengthen our faith in the Real Presence,” Gutierrez said. “This is what it’s about, understanding the Real Presence and making it real for people.”

Italian teen designed, planned catalog of eucharistic miracles

The eucharistic miracles chronicled in the display at Church of the Assumption were selected from an online catalog, also named International Exhibition: Miracles of the Eucharist Across the World. This resource was designed and planned by Blessed Carlo Acutis, an Italian teen who died from 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 teen 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 the eucharistic miracles that have ever been approved by the church are chronicled in 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 Catholics’ faith and to invite others to believe, she said.

“I think we’re supposed to use them,” she said.

Display made available to local parishes

Maurer asked for and was granted permission to print out some of the information catalogued on the website and display it in local churches.

“The only requirement we had from the people (associated with) Blessed Carlo Acutis was you had to make sure you displayed Carlo’s portrait with an explanation of what this was. Of course we did that,” she said.

Maurer worked with Father Peter Van Lieshout, rector at Rochester’s Sacred Heart Cathedral, to select the miracles that 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 stands for each of the panels.

Sacred Heart Cathedral hosted the display for several weeks during Advent. Rochester’s Peace of Christ Parish hosted the display in June, and several other parishes are scheduled to host it in the coming months. Maurer said she is willing to loan the display to any parishes or groups — such as the Knights of Columbus — that request it.

“That’s what it was made for. There’s no cost,” she said.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Those interested in borrowing the display may contact Mary Jo Maurer at maurerjmj@gmail.com.

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