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June 9, 2008

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Parish to host Eucharistic miracles exhibit

By Cleveland Stordy
Also See:
Archdiocese’s 100th birthday will end on a musical note

Good Shepherd Church in Surrey will be the first church in Canada to host the Vatican’s Eucharistic Miracles of the World Exhibit.

The exhibit, consisting of dozens of elaborately designed museum boards crafted in Italy, depicts the history of devotion to the Eucharist, from people who have shown outstanding love for the Eucharist, to the way the Eucharist has shaped the spiritual life of the Church.

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The monstrance containing the Flesh and the Blood of Christ. The miracle of Lanciano, Italy, is depicted in an exhibit coming June 20 to 22 to Star of the Sea Church in Surrey. The exhibit includes presentations and a replica of the chalice believed to have been used by Christ at the Last Supper.

The exhibit will be hosted by Star of the Sea from Friday, June 20, to Sunday, June 22. A talk June 23 will be given at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Vancouver by Brother Isaiah Viotte, a member of the Community of St. John in Monterrey, Mexico. Brother Viotte is a representative of the Children of Hope organization in Princeville, Ill., which works to lead children to the Blessed Sacrament.

The inspiration and timing of the exhibit revolves around the 49th Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City, June 15 to 22, said organizer Carolyn Wharton, and is a response to the call of the Canadian bishops for everyone, especially those not attending the Quebec congress, to use the time as a period of prayer and reflection.

Another purpose of the event is to reinforce awareness about Eucharistic Miracles, said Wharton, a Star of the Sea parishioner who attends Good Shepherd Church.

Wharton hopes the exhibit will lead other churches to opening adoration chapels like Good Shepherd’s, where perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has been taking place for the last seven years.

Eucharistic miracles are extraordinary events concerning the bread and wine transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass which can be experienced through the senses. The Church teaches that Eucharistic miracles are meant to confirm faith and to teach the faithful to look beyond the external appearance of the bread and wine, to the substance, the Real Presence of Jesus, that is, His Flesh and Blood.

Among the objects on display at the church will be a replica of the Holy Chalice of Valencia from Spain, regarded by some as the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper.

One popular miracle depicted in the exhibit is that of Lanciano, from 8th-century Italy. Father John Horgan, pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish and a noted expert on Eucharistic miracles, said the small Italian town “preserves to this day a host and the dried contents of the chalice, the Precious Blood of Christ.”

When the host’s elements were subjected to scientific testing the host itself was identified as being cardiac tissue. Scientists marvelled at the preservation of the tissue and the fact that they could identify blood proteins after 1,200 years of exposure. They have even been able to determine that the tissue, which is kept in a monstrance, and the blood, which remains in the chalice, are Type A-B.

Many great people, including saints and Pope John Paul II, have prayed before the miraculous host.

“This scientific confirmation makes this miracle very relevant to the 21st century,” said Father Horgan.

“The exhibit is here in B.C. to help us better comprehend the incomprehensible and to grow in our love for the Eucharist, discovering its beauty and riches.”

Wharton hopes the exhibit will “help everyone to understand more deeply the fact that the Eucharist is a daily miracle, and that this miracle takes place whenever the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered, during which time Christ is present in a unique and incomparable way.”

Nineteen countries are represented in the Miracles Exhibition, which includes 80 of the more than 126 Church-approved Eucharistic miracles.

The most recently approved miracle of the Eucharist took place in Chirattakonam, India, in 2002.


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