Michael Bird is a music teacher for Tallassee City Schools and a regular columnist for TPI.

Now that we are beyond the Holy Triduum of Easter, sometimes called the Paschal Triduum that stretches from Maundy (Holy) Thursday through Easter Sunday, we are into the Eastertide period of the liturgical calendar that includes holy days set aside for Divine Mercy, Ascension and Pentecost.   

While this is an editorial page in this newspaper, it is also an opinion page – and for the purposes of this discussion of Eastertide, please allow this opinion to be shared and perhaps investigate some of this for yourself.

Everyone knows Jesus Christ died on a cross and Easter is a day that celebrates his resurrection. But for people who believe that He is present every time Holy Communion is offered, I would like to share the story of a modern miracle with you. 

It was 7 p.m. Aug. 18, 1996. Father Alejandro Pezet was distributing the Eucharist at a Catholic church in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As he was finishing up, a woman came to tell him she’d found a discarded host, or piece of unleavened bread used in communion, on a candle holder in the back of the church. The pastor went to the candle holder and, rather than eat it himself as is custom (because he wasn’t sure where it had been), he put it in a container of water and put it away in the tabernacle to dissolve and dispose of later. 

On August 26, upon opening the tabernacle to distribute communion again, he saw to his amazement the host had turned into a bloody substance. He informed Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now known as Pope Francis), who instructed him to get a professional photographer to take pictures. The photos were taken Sept. 6.  

By this time, this piece of communion had become a larger bloody substance. For over three years, it remained a secret of this particular church and diocese until, in 1999, Bergoglio decided to have it scientifically analyzed.  

A sample of the bloody fragment was taken and sent to New York City for analysis. It is important to note the future Pope did not want to prejudice the study one way or the other, so when he had a doctor send it in, he did not say what it was. 

A well-known cardiologist and forensic pathologist, Dr. Frederic Zugiba was called in to examine the material. Dr. Zugiba was the chief medical examiner for Rockland County, New York, from 1969-2002.

Here is what was found. 

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“The analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle found in the wall of the left ventricle close to the valves…The heart muscle is in an inflammatory condition and contains a large number of white blood cells,” Dr. Zugiba wrote. “This indicates that the heart was alive at the time the sample was taken, since white blood cells die outside a living organism. They require a living organism to sustain them. 

“Thus, their presence indicates that the heart was alive when the sample was taken. … What is more, these white blood cells had penetrated the tissue, which further indicates that the heart had been under severe stress, as if the owner had been beaten severely about the chest.”

White blood cells could not have survived more than a few minutes. And these had been in a container of water for three years. 

Miracles like these often go unnoticed or are underreported. Miracles were not around only in the past or just happened to the holy men and women of the Old and New Testaments. They happen every day to regular people like the story told in this article.

During Holy Week, I finally got around to watching the series called “The Chosen.” There are three seasons, and I’m just finishing the first. I wish I had started watching sooner. 

Perhaps it was serendipity that led me to finally watch during this Easter season. I was touched by the stories of how Jesus selected his disciples and followers — seeing it dramatized so beautifully by this program, I was moved to tears more than once. If you haven’t seen this show, I highly recommend it. 

Whether the miracles happened 2,000 or 250 years ago or just this week, Eastertide is a time to turn off the negativity of the non-stop arguing and fussing on the news and turn on programming that might lead to a better understanding of positivity in miraculous happenings past and present.


Michael Bird is the co-host of “The Saturday Morning Show” on 580 WACQ & FM 98.5 in Tallassee and has written for Tallapoosa Publishers Inc. since 2005.