|Monstrance containing the miraculous Host, Lanciano|
|Raphael: "The Mass at Bolsena" (Wikimedia)|
|Close up of the miraculous Host|
Lanciano is a picturesque hilltop town, with winding, cobbled streets in the historic Centro. I find an easy parking spot in the main square, not a hundred yards from the Church of St. Francis, the site of the miracle. A large group if Italian pilgrims arrives at the same time. Inside the main church, Mass is underway — in English! I find the sacristan who informs me that there are three English-speaking groups in the church right now. The Italians will have Mass in the crypt (the site of the miracle itself). There is an Indonesian group expected in about 20 minutes, and I could concelebrate with them. The Church closes at 12:30 for the afternoon. I go and wait and pray in the chapel of St. Clare, right behind the display containing the monstrance with the miracle. A large group of Filipinos arrive — they kneel and bow and sign themselves in front of the monstrance. Several pray and touch the glass case reverently. Tablets and phones and cameras appear.. The Americans and Irish finish their Mass. The Indonesians don’t show up. An elderly Franciscan friar sets up the altar in the same chapel for me to say Mass.
Of course, since the altar is set up versus populum, I end up offering the Holy Sacrifice with my back to the miraculous host behind me. Idiotic! However, given the time crunch, I didn’t want to try and explain to the elderly Franciscan that I’d like to reverse the altar settings.
The Franciscans had everything set up for a Mass in English for the Indonesians — however, their photocopy of the Missal was of the now superseded 1970 ICEL translation. So, for the first time that I can recall, I offered Mass using the text of the current (2010) edition of the Roman Missal in English found on the iMissal app on my phone! [If I’d known this was going to be the case, I’d have asked for an Italian Missal. The Sacristan seemed a little surprised at my request for a Latin Missal …] The Mass was for, appropriately, the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.
|Offering Mass using my phone to get the correct translation!|
After Mass, I had a few minutes to visit the crypt (where the miracle actually took place), in the excavated ruins of the original Basilian Church — it was a bare room with stone walls, and a stylized modern cross and square altar added recently.
|Remains of the 8th century chapel where the miracle occurred.|
I have now had the privilege of visiting the sites of two Eucharistic miracles: Balsenna-Orvieto (with the Atlanta NACers in 2012), and now Lanciano.
|Piazza near the Church of St. Francis, Lanciano|
|Corporal with miraculous Precious Blood, from the Miracle at Bolsena, Cathedral of Orvieto (2012).|
[There has also been a Eucharistic Miracle in India -- in 2001, in the Archdiocese of Trivandrum, Kerala! And a very famous one in Buenos Aires in 1996, the former See of the current Pope.]