[Update: After an investigation, the Diocese of Salt Lake City concluded that the host was not miraculously bleeding, but had red bread mold.]
Some Catholic parishioners in Utah have said a consecrated Host appears to be bleeding, but the Diocese of Salt Lake City is considering whether the change may be due to natural causes.
“The Church does not presume supernatural causes for things that can have a natural explanation. While recognizing that God can work in extraordinary ways, the Church presumes that God ordinarily works through the ministry of the Church and through natural laws,” diocese spokeswoman Susan Dennin told CNA Nov. 30.
Monsignor M. Francis Mannion, who heads the diocese’s investigating committee for the claimed miracle, acknowledged reports of “a bleeding Host” at St. Francis Xavier Church in Kearns, a Salt Lake City suburb.
During Holy Communion at the church Nov. 8, a member of the congregation returned to the celebrant a consecrated Host that was not consumed because it had been given to a child who had not received her first Holy Communion. The priest then placed the Host in an ablution bowl for it to dissolve.
“It stayed there for several days and did not dissolve,” Dennin said. “By the end of the week, the pastor noted a change in the appearance and had notified others in the parish.”
It had developed a red color, and parishioners said the Host appeared to be bleeding.
Dennin said there have been similar documented instances where a Host was dropped on the floor and placed in an ablution bowl. Microscopic analysis of the hosts discovered them “to have been contaminated with wheat mold or fungus – either Neurospora crassa or the red bacteriumSerratia marcescens.”
The diocesan administrator, Msgr. Colin F. Bircumshaw, appointed an ad hoc committee chaired by Msgr. Mannion to investigate.
Msgr. Mannion in a Nov. 21 statement rejected rumors that there are current plans for public exposition or adoration of the Host. He said the Host is now in the custody of Msgr. Bircumshaw. The results of the committee investigation will be made public.
“Whatever the outcome of the investigation, we can use this time to renew our faith and devotion in the greatest miracle – the Real Presence of Jesus Christ that takes place at every Mass,” Msgr. Mannion said.
Dennin said the committee has completed its interviews and is now undertaking a scientific investigation.
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