Communion wafer turns blood red in St. Paul church: Miracle or fungus? [POLL]
Christ or crud? You decide.
The local Catholic Archdiocese has a mystery on its hands of Da Vinci Code-esque proportions.
The burning issue at hand -- has a miracle occurred in the sleepy town of South St. Paul? Or were the events that have turned St. Augustine Catholic Church on its head to blame on a common airborne fungus?
At an ordinary 7 a.m. Sunday mass, communion was being distributed when one of the wafers fell to the floor. Since these consecrated "hosts" represent the body of Christ and are never simply thrown away, the wafer was placed in a golden ciborium -- or special cup for hosts -- in water so that it would dissolve.
When one of the church vicars looked in the ciborium the following Sunday, he saw that not only had the wafer not completely dissolved, it had turned a blood red color. When Father John Echert examined it, he described it as looking like a piece of bloody tissue:
Last week, Echert turned the host over to the archdiocese to get an official opinion -- was this a miracle? So far, officials are being very tight lipped about the issue and what exactly goes into such an investigation.
"This is a very sensitive issue. We're taking a very cautious stance," says archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath.
Although there is a possibility the wafer will be sent to a lab to test for a more earthly explanation -- like a fungus or some other contaminant -- McGrath says no such plans have been finalized.
Skeptics point to a very similar incident that happened in 2006 in Dallas. In that case, a little boy spit out his wafer and it was dropped in a glass of water and left there for several weeks. Over time, it turned blood red and began to take on a fleshy consistency. But a University of Dallas biology professor who tested the wafer concluded that it was "fungal mycelia and bacterial colonies that have been incubated within the aquatic environment of the glass during the four-week period in which it was stored in the open air." Eew.
So, either Christ is personally sending good tidings to the people of St. Paul, or the folks over at St. Augustine need to run their ciboriums through the dishwasher more often.
What do you think?
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.