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Monday 6 February 2023 Dublin: 5°C
FACTCHECK
Debunk: No, this photo doesn’t show a ‘bloody’ eucharist at a Mayo church
However, a local priest says an incident is being investigated by Church authorities.

fact-check-pic

A PHOTO THAT has been shared thousands of times on social media in recent days does not show a consecrated communion host that turned red after being dropped in water in a church in Mayo.

A Facebook post sharing the photo claims a “eucharist miracle” recently took place at St Joseph’s Church in Aghamore, Co Mayo.

“A Eucharistic Minister accidentally dropped a Consecrated Host to the floor whilst administering Holy Communion. The Indian Parish Priest put it into a small bowl of water to allow it to dissolve,” the post explains.

“Upon checking it sometime later he discovered the water was blood coloured. He added some more water and then later saw that the Host had taken on the appearance of bloody flesh tissue,” it adds.

According to Catholic Church doctrine, communion bread and wine is transformed into the body and blood of Christ following a eucharistic prayer.

The Facebook message has racked up over 3,400 shares and 1,600 likes along with hundreds of comments, many of which affirm the claim that it is a miracle.

post-11 The post accumulated hundreds of comments, many of which affirm the claim that it is a miracle.

It has also received coverage in news outlets, including national and international publications that included the photo in their articles.

However, a Google reverse-image search quickly reveals that the photo was not taken in Mayo and was actually snapped in the US state of Utah in 2015.

So, what happened in Utah?

In that instance a host turned red a week after it was consecrated at St Francis Xavier Church in Kearns, Utah. It was then put on public display, a move the Diocese described as “premature and imprudent”.

A scientific investigation subsequently revealed that the red substance wasn’t the blood of Christ (or blood of any kind) it was something much more commonplace: mould.

Monsignor M Francis Mannion, who chaired the investigation, said in a statement: “The observed change in the host could be satisfactorily and conclusively explained by natural causes, namely the growth of what is commonly known as ‘red bread mould,’ or red bacteria, most likely Neurospora crassa or Serratia marcescens.”

Mayo investigation

But that’s not the end of the story.

Fr Jerald David of Aghamore Parish confirmed to The Journal that an incident at the church in Mayo is currently being probed by Church investigators.

“At present there’s an investigation by the Church authorities regarding this and I’m not at liberty to discuss the details concerning this matter as you’ll appreciate that this matter is under investigation,” Fr David said.

Devout Christian Robert Nugent, who runs a Catholic Youtube channel, reported some further detail in a recent video.

Citing information from a local priest and people who were at the church, the former seminarian said a host did turn red during mass in Mayo but no photos were taken.

“I called the Priest he said no photos were taken. I spoke to people at the church, they said they weren’t allowed to take photos. So, that’s where we go. We just have to see what comes out of this. It could be mould. It could be a miracle. It takes now science to determine what is the substance in that glass,” Nugent said.

Miracles

The teachings of the Catholic Church claim that miracles do occur. Its catechism outlines that they are “a sign or wonder such as a healing, or control of nature, which can only be attributed to divine power.”

In his 2015 statement about the Utah incident, Monsignor Mannion said the Church presumes that most situations appearing to be miracles are actually the result of natural causes.

“In the history of the Church, by Divine Providence, miracles have taken place. The sole purpose of a miracle is to bring about good. False claims of miracles, on the other hand, cause harm to the faithful and damage the Church’s credibility,” he said.

A range of explanations for miracles have been offered, depending on what the supposed miracle is. Along with mould, some other common explanations include fake information, cognitive or psychological errors and drug use.

The Journal’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here.