Visitors to the Eucharistic Miracles display at Holy Rosary Parish in Medford read about miracles that have taken place around the world. The information for the exhibit was collected by an Italian teenager on the path to sainthood, Bl. Carlo Acutis. (Catholic Herald photo by Jenny Snarski)
Catholic Herald staff
An estimated 600 people –some who traveled hours to get there – visited the Eucharistic Miracles exhibit hosted by Holy Rosary Parish in Medford from May 5-8.
The International Exhibition of Eucharistic Miracles was created by an Italian teenager, Carlo Acutis. He died in 2006 at the age of 15 and was beatified in Assisi, Italy on Oct. 10.
Acutis called the Eucharist his “highway to heaven” and used his internet savvy to research and build websites cataloguing the Eucharistic miracles of the world.
It is an “overwhelming display,” Michael Bub, Holy Rosary’s director of religious education, said.
The full set of 175 laminated display boards and accompanying material fills four crates. The English language set was produced by the Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association in two options – a set of 60 miracles and the full 175.
Planning for the exhibit had started long before the COVID pandemic delayed it. Bub credits the local Knights of Columbus for taking on the idea and Fr. Patrick McConnell for being supportive.
While the smaller display sets were available from parishes in Green Bay and Oconomowoc, the Medford church wanted the full display. It was picked up from St. Mary Immaculate Parish in Plainfield, Illinois, and then set up by the Knights of Columbus at Holy Rosary.
There is no cost involved in using the display; however, a refundable deposit was required.
Spacing the display boards on tables at eye level, the exhibit filled both the gymnasium and cafeteria. It remained open during the day for parishioners for the duration of the exhibit.
The display was open to public in the evening and before and after weekend Masses, which was when the largest crowd of 100 people viewed the exhibit at one time. Volunteers worked in shifts to welcome viewers and assist with information.
Four area parishes brought their religious education students on Wednesday, and Holy Rosary School students viewed the exhibit during class time.
For the students, sheets highlighted specific miracles to help them to focus.
“One of the coolest things,” Bub shared, “Was a 10-year-old boy who had some family challenges and only recently been baptized and catechized to receive the Eucharist.”
The boy’s grandma came with him to see the exhibit and told Bub how fascinated he was.
“You wonder about the impact; what’s going through that young boy’s mind,” Bub added.
He was very pleased with how well the exhibit worked, the response they received and excellent exposure it had.
Going through all the work to plan, and adapt to the reality of the pandemic, Bub was “really, really happy” and said their efforts were already making an impact. He had been contacted by people in Colorado and Mississippi wondering how to get the exhibit in their own parishes.
“How can you read these and not believe?” Bub questioned in reference to statistics of how few Catholics believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. He hoped that parents of their religious education were also able to reconnect with belief in the Eucharist.
Destiny Jochimsen, a 16-year-old member of the parish preparing for Confirmation, visited the display and also volunteered as part of the welcoming team.
Asked what miracle impressed her the most, Jochimsen responded that it was #72, about oxen bowing before the consecrated host.
The miracle happened in Glotowo, Poland, in the 13th century. A priest had buried a consecrated host in a ciborium due to an enemy invasion that destroyed the village and church. Years later, a farmer discovered the host while plowing his fields. The plow got stuck as the oxen pulled to turn over a section of earth.
With light pouring out from the upturned soil, the oxen knelt down. The farmer discovered the ciborium and the Eucharist was intact, as it remains to this day.
The exhibit helped Jochimsen gain a deeper sense of the Eucharist and desire to share her own faith with friends.
She was particularly struck by Bl. Carlo Acutis’ story and that someone even younger than her was “that close to God.”
A short video presentation on Acutis was available for viewing throughout the exhibit’s running. Although not part of the Eucharistic Miracles exhibit itself, Bub said they thought it would be a good idea to highlight the holiness of the everyday teen to whom many of their religious education and school students could relate.
“Carlo should be the patron saint of video games,” he said, as he is the first millennial to be beatified and loved his video games — just not as much as he loved his Catholic faith.
Bub also noted, as there is no record of a Eucharistic miracle in the United States, he told Holy Rosary’s pastor Fr. McConnell that he needed to start praying for one.
A book form of the Eucharistic Miracles of the World (Catalogue of the Vatican International Exhibition) can be purchased on Amazon. More information about hosting the exhibit is available at 815-254-4420 or .