August 31, 2023 // Diocese

St. Paul Chapel in Fremont Hosts Eucharistic Miracles Exhibit

It is striking how many Eucharistic miracles arose from situations of doubts, mistakes, or even malice. For example, people have stolen consecrated hosts and later seen the hosts emit blood or light. In one case, the hosts were dropped accidentally in a river and brought back to shore by fish. The exhibit recently on display at St. Paul Chapel in Fremont, Indiana, told these and many other real-life stories – stories in which consecrated hosts became visibly flesh or had miraculous events connected to them.

Photos by Kasia Balsbaugh
The Eucharistic miracles exhibit compiled by Blessed Carlo Acutis is on display at St. Paul Chapel in Fremont in early August.

This exhibit was curated by an Italian teenager, Carlo Acutis, who was recently beatified. Blessed Carlo had a great love for the Eucharist, saying, “By standing before the Eucharistic Christ, we become holy.” In an attempt to help more people understand the presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist, which he called “Jerusalem … on our doorstep,” Blessed Carlo compiled verified accounts of Eucharistic miracles from around the world. He died of leukemia in 2006, but his exhibit has been shown on five continents and continues to travel around the world today.

There are more than 100 posters of miracles in the entire exhibit, 48 of which filled the social hall at St. Paul Chapel. After a morning of Mass and adoration, parishioners and visitors gathered in the social hall for viewing the exhibit, and also for soup and appetizers – a Wednesday tradition at St. Paul Chapel. “As Father Osman says, ‘After the holy table, we meet at the social table,’” parishioner Jim Sheffler said.

Madeline Nugent, Father Osman Ramos, and Jim Sheffler stand in front of posters for the Eucharistic miracles exhibit by Blessed Carlo Acutis that they brought to St. Paul Chapel in Fremont in early August.

When Father Osman Ramos asked Sheffler to be the point person for the Eucharistic Revival at St. Paul Chapel, Sheffler said he was “anxious to say yes.” Sheffler and his wife Therese first saw Blessed Carlo’s exhibit at Formation Days in Fort Wayne last winter. They wanted to introduce the exhibit to the church they had been involved in for more than 40 years. “We brought what we found so exciting in the exhibit back to share with everyone,” Sheffler said.

Jim and Madeline Nugent are the de facto custodians of the exhibit in the diocese. The Franciscan Confraternity of Penitents, to which the Nugents belong, owns a collection of posters from the exhibit. They carry the exhibit in their car and drive it around the diocese and closely surrounding areas. They help interested parishes and organizations display the exhibit free of charge.

“If we can drive to you, there is no charge to the exhibit,” Madeline said.

The Nugents bring with the exhibit a collection of related books and holy cards available for purchase. Also provided are quotes by Blessed Carlo, coloring pages for young visitors, and a fill-in-the-blank scavenger hunt for school-age visitors.

The exhibit also comes with a DVD about Blessed Carlo and his work, which Sheffler said has been one of the main draws for visitors. “It’s a moving explanation of his ministry as a youth,” Sheffler said. “It’s very well-done.”

Father Ramos is delighted about the exhibit. He serves as pastor for three churches in the LaGrange County area: St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, St. Joseph Catholic Church, and St. Paul Chapel.

Father Ramos quoted Pope Benedict XVI’s statement about the Eucharist being the “center and core” of our faith. He stressed the dignity of the sacrament of the Eucharist, saying, “When we use holy water, it is not the Lord. The oils for catechumens are not Jesus Himself. But when you touch the Eucharist, you touch the Lord Jesus Himself.”

Father Ramos believes many of the Catholic Church’s problems today stem from a misunderstanding of what the Eucharist is. “We need to go back to the root of our faith,” he said. He added, “When we lose our faith in the Holy Eucharist, we lose everything, because we are losing faith in the Lord and His message.”

Father Ramos said he hopes that the Eucharistic Revival – and Blessed Carlo’s exhibit specifically – will increase our faith in and love for the Lord. “The Eucharistic miracles are special manifestations of the Lord Jesus to remind us that it’s not something, but somebody,” Father Ramos said.

The exhibit left St. Paul Chapel on August 11, though it stayed in the LaGrange area for the rest of the month.

Jim Sheffler’s next project in promoting the Eucharistic Revival in his parish is participating with a group of parishioners to watch and discuss the video series Presence: The Mystery of the Eucharist. “It’s important to spend time with others, talking with others about what we believe,” Sheffler said.

Sheffler also recommended, “If anybody reading this has doubts about the wonderful presence of Christ in the Eucharist, take time coming to exposition. Carve out time with it – an hour, an hour and a half. Take in the different ways the Lord has shown Himself to us.”

Additionally, Father Ramos wished to emphasize the connection of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist to the sacrament of confession. Besides stressing the beauty of being “prepared to receive the Lord with dignity in your soul and body,” Father Ramos said, “Confession is the sacrament of mercy. Do not be afraid to receive the mercy of the Lord!”

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