March 18, 2017

Alcala de Henares

Alcala de Henares is a city about 35 kilometers northeast of Madrid. In 1597, a man came to the Jesuit church there. He explained that he was part of a Muslim group that had made raids and stolen sacred belongings from other Catholic churches in the area. He then turned over 24 Hosts that he had in his possession. They were wrapped in a piece of paper.

The priest who had received the Hosts, Padre Juan Juarez. He took them to Padre Gabriel Vasquez. As priests in the area had recently been poisoned, they did not want to use them in an upcoming Mass. As they did not know whether they had perhaps been consecrated, they did not want to casually dispose of them. They decided to place them in the church’s pantry, with written instructions detailing how they should be handled. The instructions were to wait a sufficient time until the Hosts had become spoiled and then destroy them by fire or water, the prescribed method for the destruction of Hosts which had been consecrated but, for one reason or another, could not be used.

It was eleven years later when the Hosts were looked at again. They had remained intact, even though they should have deteriorated in several months.

In order to remove any doubt and conduct a test of sorts, the Hosts were placed in an underground vault, where the humidity was high. A number of unconsecrated Hosts were placed in the same vault. The two sets were properly labeled and placed next to each other. After several months, the two sets were reexamined. The unconsecrated hosts had spoiled. The other Hosts were still in pristine form.

Several months after that, Don Pedro Garcia Carrero, a medical doctor and university professor, was allowed to conduct a public examination. Five of the Hosts were broken. They were still crisp.

Later, a special ostensorium was donated by Cardinal Spinola, Archbishop of Seville and Segovia. The ostensorium was a four-sided glass case, almost three feet in height, and in the shape of a lantern. Around a central pillar inside, the 24 Hosts were arranged in groups of three. This ostensorium, with the Hosts, hung in the Jesuit church until 1777, when they were moved to the Holy Magistral Church, also in Alcala de Henares.

They remained there until 1936, when the Spanish Civil War forced the hiding of the Hosts. Unfortunately, the church was destroyed by bombing and fire during the war. The Hosts had been rescued but their whereabouts have remained unknown to this time.

Source: Cruz, Caroll, Eucharistic Miracles (Charlotte, North Carolina, Tan Books, 2010) p.170-73.

(Note: this is being posted from Medjugorje where, earlier today, an annual Marian apparition has taken place).


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