2003 - Reported in Spirit
Daily.com online newspaper. A Minnesota man, Raymond Metzger
of Byron, has gone to his bishop with the account of what he says
were mysterious red spots and possibly blood that appeared on a
"purificator" cloth after cleansing a Communion vessel.
a Eucharistic minister who takes the sacrament to those who are
homebound, says the occurrence took place the second week of last
October. "I had two old friends who lived in the country, and
when they were sick I was taking them both Communion," he says.
"One died. The other one moved into a condo in town and I started
bringing him Communion there. Normally when I serve him Communion,
he would have a glass of water there so I could purify my pyx after
Communion -- the little thing we carry Communion in."
pyx, Metzger brought along the purificator cloth used for cleansing
the vessel after he has distributed the Communion. "I would
pour the water into my pyx, and then rinse that out," he says.
to my friend's house and we had Communion and I purified my
pyx and went home, where I put the cloth into a ziplock bag and
placed that in my desk drawer," he recalls. "The next
week I took it out -- it was early in the morning -- and went off
to church. I got to Mass and took the ziplock bag, which I was going
to leave on the seat of my car, and I looked and said, 'My gosh,'
it was full of stains. I could see it through the plastic. A
chill went through my body. I just knew immediately what could have
happened -- because I knew no human hands had touched it."
that there was nothing on his hands, in the bag, or on the pyx or
desk that could have caused a red stain. "It was just on the
shelf in our desk," he says. "There was nothing unusual
about the way it was handled. I showed it to the priest after Mass
and said, 'What do you think?' and he said, 'It looks like blood
to me. Why don't you wash it.'"
took it to show his friend, who became excited. Some of the red
even soaked through from one layer to another. Photographs were
taken of the more than one hundred small spots where water splashed
during the vessel cleansing. "I didn't know what to do,"
he says. "I wrote Spirit Daily a letter, I wrote Adoremus
a letter. I just didn't know what to do. When I talked to priests,
they said, 'I don't know! We don't have any idea what to do about
it.' I did talk to the bishop about three weeks ago, and he said,
'Wash it.' I said, 'Bishop, I don't want to wash it. I'd sooner
just have it analyzed.' He looked at me and said, 'As your bishop
I'm telling you, wash it. We'll deal with anything extraordinary
who has shown obedience, we respect the discernment of the bishop,
Most Reverend Bernard J. Harris of Winona -- at the same time
that we respectively and strongly urge more inquiry into such alleged
phenomena. In recent years, similar claims of Eucharistic phenomena
made in at least five other states -- Michigan, New York, New Jersey,
Massachusetts, and Arizona -- have fallen by the wayside. In Utah
a residue that resembled blood was reported in a church near Salt
Lake City during the early 1990s.
"I am still trying to discern this message from God,"
says Metzger. "I constantly see priests leave the vessels after
Mass with no purification, and no show of reverence, as though once
Communion is over, it's not the Eucharist any more. I have been
twice told by priests to just wash the cloth."
this he did.
it because the bishop ordered me to wash it," he reports. "We
soaked it in cold water first, then we used Shout and some other
bleach and detergent, and my wife scrubbed and scrubbed it, until
her knuckles were almost white, and then dried it, and the stains
were still there. They didn't come out. They faded a little
bit, but looked more like bloodstains than ever. In my heart I knew
the stains would be there."
seems to be that Christ is truly Present in the Eucharist, says
Metzger -- present in His cleansing, all-powerful Blood. He has
offered the cloth to the bishop with the understanding that it not
be destroyed. He says most priests have shown little or no interest.
"They don't return my phone calls when I tell them what it
is. This is my life now, defending the Eucharist," he says.
"I'm now constantly challenging people when they have no respect