IVORRA, Spain (Zenit.org): The Holy See is granting a jubilee year to celebrate the Eucharistic miracle that took place a thousand years ago in the tiny town of Ivorra, in north-eastern Spain.
Ivorra, which today numbers less than 160 inhabitants, is the site where the local pastor Fr Bernat Oliver was stationed in the year 1010.
He was having doubts about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. At that time in history, there were ideologies being propagated such as that of Berengar, who denied the Eucharistic transubstantiation.
One day, while Fr Oliver was celebrating Mass, the wine in the chalice was completely transformed into the appearance of real blood and poured out onto the altar cloth, flowing onto the ground.
Bishop Ermengol of Urgell, who was later canonised, 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 blood-stained 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.
Many pilgrims visit yearly, and 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.
This year, the jubilee will begin on April 10, the eve of that feast, and will run through to May 1, 2011.
The communiqué was sent by the Holy See to Bishop Jaume Traserra of Solsona, the diocese that encompasses modern Ivorra.
The diocese reported that the bishop was authorised by Pope Benedict XVI to impart the papal blessing during the main celebration of this millennial anniversary.
The parishioners of Ivorra have been preparing for this anniversary for a decade, restoring the old altarpiece, developing a web page and planning liturgical celebrations.
In a pastoral letter “Sempre amb nosaltres” (“Always With Us”), Bishop Traserra said: “Hopefully we too, as one more generation in this pilgrimage of centuries, will hear the permanent message that the Holy Doubt proclaims and confess with new ardour that the Risen Jesus is with us.”