June 23, 2019
At times we may become frightened when we start to question our belief in the real Presence, but it is part of being human. It shows us that we are taking this great gift, which Jesus has given us, for granted. Jesus took something very ordinary and changed its substance into His Body and Blood. Remember the words that Jesus said at the Last Supper: “he broke it (bread) and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body”. “Then He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Jesus did not say it might be this way or that it is just a symbol. The words say it all.
Down through the ages people have questioned the Real Presence, but Jesus always steps in to remind us that it is Him and not merely bread or wine. The most recent Eucharistic Miracle recognized by the Church authorities occurred in 1996 in the capital of Argentina – Buenos Aires. A consecrated Host becomes flesh and blood. Let me share part of the story with you.
On August 18, 1996, Fr. Alejandro Pezet was celebrating Mass at a Catholic church in Buenos Aires. After Mass, a woman came and told him that she had found a discarded host on a candleholder. Father went to retrieve it and placed it in a container of water and placed it in the tabernacle.
On Monday, August 26th, upon opening the tabernacle, Father, to his amazement, saw that the Host had turned into a bloody substance. He informed Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who gave instructions to have it professionally photographed. The photos were taken on September 6th. They clearly show that the Host, which had become a fragment of bloodied flesh, had grown significantly in size. For several years the Host remained in the tabernacle, the whole affair being kept a strict secret. Since the Host suffered no visible decomposition, Cardinal Bergoglio decided to have it scientifically analyzed.
On October 5, 1999, in the presence of the Cardinal’s representatives, Dr. Castanon took a sample of the bloody fragment and sent it to New York for analysis. Since he did not wish to prejudice the study, he purposely did not inform the team of scientists of its provenance. One of the scientists was Dr. Frederic Zugiba, a well-known cardiologist and forensic pathologist. He determined that the analyzed substance was real flesh and blood containing human DNA. Zugiba testified that, “the analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle found in the wall of the left ventricle close to the valve. The heart muscle is in an inflammatory condition and contains a large number of white cells. This indicates that the heart was alive at the time the sample was taken. It is my contention that the heart was alive, since the white blood cells die outside a living organism. They require a living organism to sustain them. Thus, their presence indicates that the heart was alive when the sample was taken. What is more, these white blood cells had penetrated the tissue, which further indicates that the heart had been under severe stress, as if the owner had been beaten severely about the chest.”
Mike Willesee, a journalist who was present at the time of the test, informed Dr. Zugiba that the analyzed sample came from a consecrated host that had mysteriously turned into bloody human flesh. Amazed by this information Dr. Zugiba replied, “How and why a consecrated Host would change its character and become living human flesh and blood will remain an inexplicable mystery to science – a mystery totally beyond her competence.”
Only faith in the extraordinary action of a God provides the reasonable answer – faith in a God who wants to make us aware that He is truly present in the mystery of the Eucharist. Jesus desires to remind us that His presence is real, and not symbolic. We do not see Him with our bodily eyes, but He sees and loves us and desires to save us in the Eucharist.
Side note: We now know Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio as Pope Francis.
God Bless, Fr. Ray
A LETTER FROM FR. RAY
SBS Parents and supporters:
As we close the school this year, many thoughts go through my mind, but I want to take this opportunity to personally thank you for your support throughout the years. At the same time I want to thank the teachers for their loyalty and love of the school and their students. Like you, the teachers and the staff, have laid a beautiful foundation of knowledge for the love of their Faith.
I also want to personally thank our current principal, Mrs. Linda Cecchetti and our former principal Mrs. Kim Mooney, for the great legacy that they leave behind. Both of them were totally committed to the school and students and left a wonderful imprint upon all of us.
As the school closes its doors, some of you may be wondering about religious education in the fall. The normal schedule begins in mid-September and concludes in late April or early May.
You will be notified through the Parish bulletin when to pick up a packet to register your children. This packet will include all the information for the Religious Education program throughout the school year.
The classes for grades one through seven will be on Sunday’s from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. here at Saint Bernard followed by Mass attendance. The fourth Sunday of the month one of the classes will do the readings and participate in the offertory procession. The classes for grades eight through eleven (Confirmation) will be Sunday evenings from 5:45 p.m. till 6:45 p.m. at St. Francis in Ritchie Hall.
Have a great summer and I wish you and your children the best as they continue through their school years.