Updated on June 14, 2021
At seven o’clock in the evening on August 18, 1996, an Argentinian priest was offering Holy Mass at a Catholic church in Buenos Aires. As he finished distributing Holy Communion, a woman approached the altar and told him she had found a discarded Sacred Host at the back of the church. When he arrived at the spot indicated, the priest saw the defiled Sacred Host. Since he was unable to consume it, he put it in a container of water and placed it in the tabernacle. Upon opening the tabernacle eight days later, he saw to his amazement that the Host had turned into a bloody substance.
The priest informed his archbishop, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis), who ordered that the Host be photographed. The photos were taken on September 6 and 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, and the whole affair was kept a strict secret. When it was discovered three years later that the Host had suffered no visible decomposition, Cardinal Bergoglio decided to have it scientifically analyzed. A portion of the Host was taken to New York, in October of 1999, for a scientific analysis. The forensic team of scientists were unaware of the origins of the sample.
The official report read:
The analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle found in the wall of the left ventricle, close to the valves… The heart muscle is in an inflammatory condition and contains a large number of white blood cells. This indicates that the heart was alive at the time 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(Spitzer 2)
The implications of this analysis are staggering. Not only did the scientists find that the fragment came from an inflamed and traumatized heart, but the examination indicated that this same heart was complete and alive at the moment the “sample was taken” (Spitzer 2). Although science may attest to the unique and inexplicable properties of the Consecrated Host, it finds itself woefully unequipped to provide an explanation for how a piece of ordinary bread could undergo such a transformation. Can there be any proof more clear that our Lord is truly present body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist? Yet as wonderful as this Eucharistic miracle may seem, perhaps the even more incredible miracle is when the Sacred Host, at each and every consecration, does not visibly change into Christ’s own living flesh. During each valid Mass, the host undergoes complete transubstantiation (change of substance) into the body and blood of Christ, and still the true nature of the Sacred Species remains veiled—miraculously—under the appearance of ordinary bread.
One of the reasons that the Catholic Church’s Eucharistic miracles are so convincing is their consistency—the blood type is always a perfect match. The 1996 Buenos Aires miracle was no exception. During the intensive forensic analysis, the scientists discovered, once again, that the blood type of the miraculous piece of human flesh was type AB, namely AB-positive (Armstrong). All of the blood relics of our Lord from other Eucharistic miracles share this same blood type, including the shroud of Turin, the Sudarium, and the Eucharistic miracle at Lanciano, just to name a few (Moreno 12). AB is the rarest of all blood types, and only about 3% of the world’s population have AB-positive blood.
The AB-positive blood type is unique because of its universal receptivity. It is the only blood type that can receive blood from anyone, including people who are Rh-negative. Almost all people are limited in who they can receive blood from, yet the rare blood-type AB-positive, is compatible with all blood-types. The many Eucharistic miracles throughout history all seem to reiterate this profound message. Through the blood shed during His holy passion, Christ can receive anyone into His mystical body. Our Lord is not limited. His Most Precious Blood offers salvation to all, if only we, in turn, give ourselves entirely to Him.
Yet there is more. Not only is AB-positive the universal recipient, but this blood type is also the universal plasma donor. It is the only plasma that can be given to anyone. In a real and physical way, Christ not only receives—He gives. Grace flows forth from His pierced side. When His Most Sacred Heart was pierced by the lance, both Blood and Water flowed from the wound. His Divine Blood and grace flowed forth. Once again, the physical nature of Our Dearest Lord gives us a glimpse into what is going on spiritually. Christ pours out His grace upon us with, what might seem, almost wasteful love. Anyone can receive it. Once again, Christ offers His salvation to all. Yet even with the abundance of grace that our Lord pours out on us, it takes a choice, an act of the will, for us to be united to Christ in His Most Precious Blood. We must choose to surrender ourselves to Him.
Christ poured out every drop of His Blood for us so that we might have salvation through Him. He continually extends to us the Blood He shed on Calvary in the Holy Mass. In this mystical re-presentation, this extension of His sacrifice through time, Christ gives us the fullness of His Body and Blood. Through this gift, we are able to both spiritually and physically unite ourselves to His mystical Body and receive the grace we need to continue on the path to heaven. This Eucharistic miracle is yet another proof of how the Blessed Sacrament is indeed the true and complete Body and Blood of our Lord, re-presented through time in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. What unfathomable love!
Prayer of the Fatima children, taught to them by the angel:
“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love you. I ask pardon of You for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You.”
Armstrong, Patti M. “Eucharistic Miracle Bleeding Host Phenomenon Reported in Dioceses Worldwide.” National Catholic Register, 11 December, 2015.
Moreno, Guillermo H., et al. “Comparative Study of the Sudarium of Oviedo and the Shroud of Turin.” Investigation Team of the Spanish Centre for Sindonology (EDICES), 5-7 June, 1998.
Spitzer, Robert J., S.J., Ph.D. “Contemporary Eucharistic Miracles.” September, 2020.