As the Vatican continues to evaluate a reported Eucharistic miracle in Poland, the priest of the parish where it occurred says that the extraordinary event has led to conversions.
Fr Andrzej Ziombra is parish priest of St Hyacinth in Legnica, Poland, where a consecrated Host was reportedly found to contain a fragment of a heart muscle.
On Christmas Day 2013, a consecrated Host fell to the floor. It was picked up and placed in a container with water, in accordance with Church procedures. Soon after, red stains appeared on the host, according to Ziombra.
The local bishop at the time, Bishop Stefan Cichy, commissioned a scientific study of the Host. In February 2014, a small fragment was placed on a corporal and underwent forensic testing by two university medical departments.
“In a detailed, histopathological research, under a microscope, a fragment of the heart muscle in agony was found,” Ziombra told EWTN News.
“A fragment of the DNA sequence was found, but to tell whose DNA it could be, it still needs further research,” the Polish priest explained.
The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith approved veneration of the Host in Legnica in 2016. But the Church continues to monitor studies and examine whether the alleged miracle will bear spiritual fruit.
“My task is to gather information about miraculous healings, conversions or issues related to the pilgrimage movement, and it is already visible that there are miraculous conversions, there are miraculous healings, there is also a large pilgrimage movement,” Ziombra said.
“All this documentation is to be presented to the Holy See again later, which will contribute to the final statement on … the whole event in Legnica,” he said.
The parish priest has been surprised at the number of people who have already come to his town in southwest Poland, near the German and Czech borders, to venerate the host, which is displayed in a reliquary in St Hyacinth’s.
“People from all over the world are making their pilgrimage to Legnica,” he said before the coronavirus pandemic impeded travel. “For me, [it] was a kind of an absolute surprise, because, for example, there were pilgrimages from countries in far Asia, or even from North America, from such countries that people had to travel many thousands [of] kilometers to this place.”
“All this is also a signal for me, a confirmation that God sent this impulse to the whole world, so that the whole world would meditate [on] the Eucharistic miracle in Legnica and ask: ‘what is God going to tell me through this sign?’” he said.
However, for Ziombra, one of the most touching conversions came from close to home. There was a man in his community who he said had been “hostile to the Church all of his life, and even fought against it.”
“In an unexplained, extraordinary way, he was converted … I mean God converted him, that for a few days he did not know what was happening to him at all. He did not understand his inner state,” Ziombra said.
“And after 50 years he went to his first holy confession, the first Holy Communion. And indeed he radically changed his life, his attitude to God, he became a very ardent believer.”
Ziombra said that he has documented other similar “sudden conversions” in the lives of people who prayed at Legnica, and would pass this information along to the Vatican.
He noted that his own vocation as a priest has been deeply touched by this unexpected event that occurred within his parish.
“A dying heart was found in the consecrated Host … [This] undoubtedly emphasizes the character of the sacrifice of Jesus,” he said.
“The fact that the Lord Jesus gave his life for me … His suffering, which in turn calls me, as a Catholic, to make my life a sacrifice, so that my priesthood be truly incorporated to this sacrifice, with total dedication … all those aspects connected with a serious attitude to my vocation,” Ziombra said.
Picture: Pilgrims venerate the Host at St Hyacinth in Legnica, Poland (EWTN Polska/CNA)