By LOU PONSI     4/23/2024

Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D., a leading expert on the proof of faith through science, and Adriana Acutis, a noted researcher on the Holy Shroud of Turin, led a discussion at the Christ Cathedral campus recently on Eucharistic miracles and the connection between the Holy Shroud, believed to be the linen cloth used to wrap the body of Jesus after His crucifixion, and the Divine Mercy painting.

The April 6 presentation, held in the in the Arboretum on the Christ Cathedral campus, also featured visuals and displays and drew close to 1,000 attendees. Fr. Spitzer, president of the Magis Center for Reason and Faith based at Christ Cathedral, discussed three Eucharistic miracles that he said have been scientifically proven – the Buenos Aires miracle of 1996, the Tixtla miracle of 2006 and the Sokółka miracle of 2008.

There are other Eucharistic miracles going back to 750 AD, Fr. Spitzer said.

“The chain of custody, of course, can’t be guaranteed because let’s face facts, 1,300 years, that’s a lot of custody to guarantee,” he said. “So, I’m not going to take that up right now. I’m going to begin with just those three miracles.”

The Buenos Aires miracle occurred in August 1996 in the Church of Santa María y Caballito Almagro in Buenos Aires, Argentina when a priest placed a discarded Host in a glass of water to dissolve, in accordance with Catholic protocol.

Instead, the Host was transformed into a piece of bloody tissue which had grown in size. Testing showed the substance was flesh and blood consisting of human DNA.

The Tixtla miracle occurred in October 2006 when the pastor of St. Martin of Tours Parish in Tixtla, Mexico and another priest were distributing Holy Communion, with help from a Catholic sister.

When the sister was carrying ciborium (or pix) containing consecrated Hosts to distribute Communion to parishioners, she noticed that the Host had begun to emit a reddish substance. After scientific testing was conducted over several years, researchers concluded that the red substance was human blood with a blood type of AB, similar to the blood type discovered on the Shroud of Turin.

The miracle of Sokółka took place in October 2008 during a Mass being celebrated at the parish church of St. Anthony of Padua in Sokółka, Poland.

A priest who was distributing Communion accidentally dropped a Host, then picked it up and placed it in a small container of water. Instead of dissolving, the Host stayed intact and revealed a bright red stain. Multiple studies were conducted, including an examination of the Host by two experts at the Medical University of Bialystok.

Those studies concluded that the Host is identical to the myocardial (heart) tissue of a living person who is near death. The structure of the heart muscle fibers was deeply intertwined with that of the bread, in a way impossible to achieve with human means, Fr. Spitzer said.

According to Dr. Sobaniec-Lotwska, one of the examining experts, “no technology from NASA could possibly do this. It is 100 percent fake proof,” Fr. Spitzer said. “We can’t duplicate it.”

He added: “Now, of course, that speaks volumes and that is I think really important to combine with the other two hosts. At the very same time they said we know this is not a process, that it’s a living tissue, but that living tissue is in the process of death.”

The Divine Mercy Image

Painted in 1934, the Divine Mercy Image depicts Christ with His right hand raised slightly above His chest as if giving a blessing, and His left hand touching his Heart. White and red rays radiate downward from His heart.

The Divine Mercy Image is said to have been created at the request of Jesus, Himself, to St. Faustina Kowalska, a Polish Catholic sister from the Order of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy.

Acutis pointed out that St. Faustina kept a diary in which she detailed her visions of Jesus, most notably the directions He gave her to create an image of Himself and to share the Image with the world.

In 1934, St. Faustina, having limited artistic skill, approached artist Eugeniusz Kazimirowski about painting the Divine Mercy Image to the specifications given to her by Jesus.

“Jesus is the one who defined the concept,” Acutis said. He gave precise directives on how to do it, and He decided when it was complete, when it needed no further changes.”

She continued: “Jesus told St. Faustina, ‘Not in the beauty of the color nor of the brush lies the greatness of this image, but in my grace.’ St. Faustina was guiding Kazimirowski to paint a portrait of Jesus and she wanted it as beautiful as him.”

When the Shroud of Turin is overlaid on the Divine Mercy Image, they are almost an exact match, Acutis noted.

This is not a coincidence, as both relics are icons of Easter week, Acutis said.

“The Shroud recalls the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus for the redemption of humanity. The painting is an icon of the Divine Last Sunday, the day we recall, resurrected Jesus appearing to the apostles, including St. Thomas. Contemplating this image, we contemplate the gaze of Jesus from the cross. The artist of this painting is not Kazimirowski, but Jesus.”