Jubilee Renews Site Where Doubt Sparked a Miracle

14,000 Pilgrims Visit Spanish Village During Anniversary Year

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By Patricia Navas

IVORRA, Spain, MAY 3, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The Eucharistic miracle hidden in a tiny town in northeast Spain brought thousands of pilgrims to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of the event.

Some 14,000 people visited Ivorra, a village of just 160 people, during the jubilee year that ended Sunday.

"We didn't expect so many people to come to this place, located in a rural area in the heart of Catalonia with no sign of public transportation," the parish priest of Ivorra, Father Fermin Manteca, told ZENIT.

The jubilee, which began April 10, 2010, was granted by the Holy See to celebrate the miracle that happened in Ivorra in 1010.

That year Father Bernat Oliver, the local pastor, was having doubts about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. One day, while Father Oliver was celebrating Mass, the wine in the chalice took on the appearance of blood and poured out onto the altar cloth, flowing onto the ground.

Bishop Ermengol of Urgell, who was later canonized, went to the village to investigate, and then headed to Rome to report the miracle to Pope Sergius IV.

The Holy Father signed a pontifical bull approving the veracity of the miracle, which was placed with the relics, including the bloodstained altar cloth, in Ivorra's parish, St. Cugat.

The Pope also gifted the village with other relics of saints that are kept in the same reliquary.

The miracle is celebrated in a particular way on the Second Sunday of Easter. The feast is referred to as "la Santa Duda," or the Holy Doubt.

Celebrating

Father Manteca offered a "very positive evaluation" of the jubilee year and reflected that the most important activity was welcoming the people who came, giving "witness of the gratuitous love of God for all."

"We offered a ministry of kindness and hospitality, sharing with pilgrims the history of the Eucharistic miracle and the whole history that has developed around it over 1,000 years," he explained.

An oratory composed by Monsignor Valentín Miserachs Grau, director of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, titled "Les Noces de Sang" (Blood Wedding), will be performed this weekend to close the jubilee and to mark the feast. The piece will include a poem written by Climent Forner.

Other initiatives of the year included creating a series of photographs depicting the miracle -- with Ivorra inhabitants dressed as the original protagonists -- to accompany the six side altars of the shrine, as a "pedagogical means to explain the miracle," explained the parish priest.

Father Manteca pointed out that the Eucharistic miracle was celebrated as well as "1,000 years of uninterrupted devotion, tradition and conservation of the relics and of all the Medieval documents."