The Catholic Church has consistently taught that the Holy Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ under the appearance of bread and wine. However, over half of Catholics do not accept this teaching. In order to dispel these doubts, God has provided many instances throughout Church history where the consecrated bread and/or wine have become human flesh and blood in appearance. These events are called Eucharistic miracles and over 150 such cases have been approved by the Vatican. Five of these cases have been scientifically investigated and the results are astounding.
One such incident occurred in Lanciano, Italy, in the mid-8th century. In 1971, a sample of the transformed host and blood was examined by an Italian doctor, Odoardo Linoli, a professor of anatomy and pathological histology. Prof. Linoli found that: (1) the samples are real human flesh and blood, (2) the flesh consists of heart muscle tissue, (3) the blood type is AB, which is the same as on the Shroud of Turin, and (4) there was no evidence of preservatives.
On August 18, 1996, Fr. Alejandro Pezet was celebrating Mass at St. Mary Church in Buenos Aires, Argentina. After Mass, he placed a discarded consecrated host in water and locked it in the tabernacle so it would dissolve. On August 26, he opened the tabernacle and found that the host had not dissolved but instead turned into a fleshy bloody substance. After three years, a sample was removed and subjected to forensic testing by a team of scientists, including the well-known cardiologist and forensic pathologist Dr. Frederic Zugiba of Columbia University. Dr. Zugiba reported that the sample was muscle tissue from the left ventricle of the heart, which was inflamed and contained a large number of white blood cells. He stated this indicates the heart had suffered trauma and was alive at the time the sample was taken, since white blood cells die outside a living organism.
On October 21, 2006 at St. Martin of Tours church in Tixtla, Mexico, a nun was distributing communion when she noticed one of the hosts began to bleed. A team of investigators conducted tests on a sample of the material from October 2009 to October 2012. The results, published in May 2013, concluded: (1) the reddish substance is human blood with human DNA, but no genetic profile could be obtained, (2) the blood type is AB, which is the same as Lanciano and the Shroud of Turin, (3) the tissue corresponds to heart muscle showing signs of stress, with intact and active white blood cells as in inflamed living tissue, (4) fresh blood was present under a superficial layer of clotted blood, and (5) the blood emanated from within the host, excluding the possibility that it could have been added on the exterior.
On October 12, 2008 at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Sokólka, Poland, a priest accidently dropped a consecrated host on the floor during distribution of Holy Communion. At the end of Mass, the host was placed in a container of water and locked in a safe. One week later, the host had not dissolved but had a red stain on it that looked like a blood clot. On October 30, the altered host was placed on a corporal (cloth). It was later determined that a sample should be independently tested by two professors of pathological anatomy at the Medical University of Bialystok. Their testing found that the red part of the host is heart muscle tissue, which revealed characteristics of a suffering person near death, and at the demarcation where the white untransformed bread of the host bordered the red transformed part, the bread fibers are interwoven with the heart tissue in a way that cannot be explained.
On December 25, 2013 at St. Hyacinth Church in Legnica, Poland, a consecrated host fell on the floor during Mass. However, instead of dissolving after placed in water, it developed a red spot. The following month, a small sample of the red material was submitted for pathological testing. This testing found that the sample is composed of heart muscle tissue that bore signs of stress, and DNA testing showed the tissue is of human origin but no genetic profile could be obtained.
There is an amazingly similarity in the findings from these scientific studies. They all found that the host had totally or partially changed into living heart muscle tissue that was under stress, as evidenced by breaks in the muscle fibers and presence of white blood cells, which normally die when outside the body. Whenever tested, human blood type AB was found, which is the same as on the Shroud of Turin. These scientific studies provide compelling evidence that Eucharistic miracles are divine signs that attest to the Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.