HARTFORD, Conn. (OSV News) -- The Archdiocese of Hartford is investigating a possible Eucharistic miracle at one of its parishes, where Communion hosts seemingly multiplied during a March 5 Sunday Mass.
Father Joseph Crowley, pastor of St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Thomaston, Connecticut, said in a YouTube livestream of his March 12 homily that an unnamed extraordinary minister of the Eucharist at the previous week's liturgy had begun to run out of Communion hosts -- only to find that "all of a sudden there (were) more hosts in the ciborium." The St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish is comprised of three church locations -- St. Thomas, Immaculate Conception and St. Casimir -- and the alleged multiplication of Communion hosts took place at St. Thomas.
The minister continued to distribute the hosts to some "100, 150 people in the congregation," after which "there was the same amount, if not more hosts" in the ciborium, said Father Crowley, who had celebrated the March 5 liturgy. "What happened is Our Lord multiplied himself. … I have no doubt. I know what I gave the person. I know what (was) returned (to the tabernacle). It was just very obvious and plain to me as to what happened."
Father Crowley said in his March 12 homily he wanted to tell parishioners "from the horse's mouth as to exactly what happened," and "stick to the facts" to avoid confusion.
In a livestream video of his post-Communion remarks at the March 5 liturgy at St. Thomas, a visibly struck Father Crowley said the experience was "very powerful, very awesome, very real, very shocking."
David Elliott, associate director of communications for the Archdiocese of Hartford, told OSV News that the archdiocesan judicial vicar, Father George S. Mukuka, "has been looking into the possibility of a Eucharistic miracle" at the parish.
Following the investigation, the judicial vicar will prepare a report for Hartford Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, "who will make a determination from there" regarding the event's supernatural nature, said Elliott.
Several of the seemingly multiplied hosts had been distributed at daily Mass March 6 and 7, but were then kept in reserve as the archdiocesan investigation is still underway, said Father Crowley in his March 12 homily.
He said that the incident -- which he described as "one of those moments where God showed up in a very powerful, powerful way" -- had stunned him.
"I haven't been praying for anything like this," he said. "I've heard of this happening. I don't know of any person out of my 20-plus years of dealing with the church … (and) dealing with hundreds of priests … hundreds, thousands of people, (and) many, many bishops. I know that the Lord can do anything. He does all things for nothing is impossible for God."
At the same time, "the real miracle is the fact that we're able to take simple bread and wine, and through the prayers of the church, through the hands of the priest, Christ is made present through transubstantiation," said Father Crowley. "Our Lord then becomes the flesh and blood hidden under the mere presence of bread and wine."
Through the apparent multiplication of hosts, "Our Lord gave us one of the best moments of reflection this Lent about himself, about the Eucharist," said Father Crowley.
Father Crowley acknowledged that people often go through situations where "God seems so removed, so hidden … not part of our everyday moment because we don't see him."
"It's sometimes hard to see a God that seems to be so hidden," he said. "Perhaps the Lord had done this before, where you just give Communion out and all of a sudden there's plenty of hosts and you just keep going. But to … be made aware is part of the miracle."
A local saint in the making also may have played a role, Father Crowley said, since Blessed Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, served as pastor of St. Thomas Church from 1884 until his death in 1890.
"I think in a very profound way that … because of Blessed McGivney's life here … it shows that this is a very special place. And it's important to God," said Father Crowley. "And I think good things are coming. I think great things are coming."
As a parishioner pointed out to him, "we're so easy to accept an act of evil, an act of harm," but "it's hard for us to accept an act of goodness or a God moment or a moment with Christ," said Father Crowley.
"As we move forward, we really need to see our world through the lens of faith, through the eyes of faith," he said. "And the more we get closer to our Lord, the more we're going to see him in our everyday lives."