Did You Know?: The Eucharistic Miracle of Bolsena, Italy

Ever wonder where the feast of Corpus Christi came from? In the 13th century a lot of people already had the idea to dedicate a day to the body of the Lord in the Eucharist. But some say it took a miracle for the Church to make it official.

Well, did you know that in 1263, a German priest named Peter of Prague was on a pilgrimage and stopped in Bolsena, Italy, a town about 70 miles north of Rome. Lately he had been having doubts about the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Was the bread and wine really transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus?

He said Mass at the Church of St. Christina. As Peter raised the Host and consecrated it blood started flowing out of it, onto his hands and the altar. God was telling him (and us) that yes, He is truly present in the host.

Peter was confused and tried to hide the blood. Then he excused himself from finishing the Mass and went to the nearby city of Orvieto, where Pope Urban IV was staying. He explained everything to the pope, who ordered the host and blood-stained altar cloth brought to the cathedral at Orvieto, where they are still enshrined today.

It is said that this miracle prompted Pope Urban to have St. Thomas Aquinas to write prayers for a Mass celebrating the Most Holy Body of the Lord, the Feast of Corpus Christi.

We celebrate the feast on June 7 (or June 10, if it's moved to Sunday). You don't have to wait that long, though, to appreciate and give thanks for the miracle of Jesus in the Eucharist.


Read more about all the Eucharistic miracles from different countries:

The Real Presence website- Eucharistic Miracles of the World, Vatican International Exhibition

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