While the miracle of the Body and Blood of Christ is present at every Catholic Mass, there are times when the divinity of God reveals itself in a unique way, sometimes in the flesh.
Blessed Carlo Acutis, who died in 2006 at age 15, dedicated his life to the Eucharist, famously saying, “The Eucharist is the highway to heaven.” At age 11, he began documenting and cataloging Eucharistic miracles onto his website, miracolieucaristici.org.
As part of the New Evangelization effort by then Pope John Paul II, Blessed Carlo created the Eucharistic Miracles of the World exhibit, and it has been translated and promoted in the United States by the Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association, therealpresence.org. The association released the exhibit’s images and information for those willing to create a traveling exhibit.
For the past 13 years, Jim Barre Jr. and his wife Janice, parishioners at St. Joseph Church in Fayetteville, have brought their copy of the exhibit to about eight to 10 parishes in Arkansas and to other states for free. The Barre family first saw the exhibit while attending a Catholic Family Conference in Wichita, Kan., and started traveling it in 2009. They typically visit two to three parishes during the year, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, visited none in 2020 and only one, St. Peter the Fisherman Church in Mountain Home, in 2021. The exhibit now displays a little more than 150 miracles throughout the 175 panels. The Barres purchase books that include the entire exhibit, published by Eternal Life, to sell.
“The exhibition provides evidence to our senses,” Barre said, adding that his belief in the real presence and that desire for God has led to a more fruitful life of adoration, Mass and prayer. “I think that’s where these miracles jolt us with this sensory evidence. … My understanding is miracles are given by God to teach us truth.”
One of his favorite miracles took place in Lanciano, Italy, where the couple was able to visit. In 750 A.D., a priest was celebrating Mass but had doubts about the Real Presence. During the consecration, the host turned to human flesh and the wine took on the appearance of blood. In 1970, an Italian pathologist confirmed it had remained heart tissue and human blood, even that many years later.
“It’s evidence to change the heart of the most jaded skeptic,” Barre said.
Not every Eucharistic miracle means a physical change in the Body and Blood. Father Ravi Rayappa Gudipalli, pastor of St. Mary Church in Hot Springs, said he was assisting on a Charismatic prayer retreat in May 2012 in Kerala, India, when a woman who was unable to walk, suddenly got up during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
“Oh my goodness, first I was shocked,” Father Gudipalli said. “I could see it from the Bible, but now I could see it from my own eyes.”
Since that day, he has understood the Real Presence even more clearly.
“I understand, I know that it is not easy to believe,” he said of the Eucharist, but it’s about being open to God. “Adoration is powerful, consoling, comforting. … It helps you to know you are not alone. God is with you.”
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