Blood oozes from Indian Jesus statue, bishop confirms
Jabalpur, India Bishop Gerald Almeida has called on Catholics to engage in "soul searching" after the eyes of a life-size statue of the Sacred Heart in a church yard began to ooze a blood-like substance.
UCA News reports Church people in the central Indian diocese say that on Monday they started noticing bloodlike substance oozing from the eyes of a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus kept in an open yard.
"I am convinced it is a miracle," Fr Paul Pappachan, the assistant parish priest, told UCA News. The red substance tasted like blood, he said. "I just can't understand it."
Bishop Gerald Almeida of Jabalpur celebrated Mass at the parish a day after the incident. On his return, he told UCA News that the bloodlike substance was still visible on the statue. The phenomenon is "a powerful indication for us to mend our ways," he concluded.
Bishop Almeida said he wants his flock to engage in "soul searching" and ask if they have been living according to God's plan. There could be "something lacking in our service, or people may have performed certain 'incorrect' actions," he said. "There need to be some reforms in our lives."
The prelate added that he will send an official letter to all Church workers in the diocese to explain the incident and to invite them to reflect on why the statue apparently shed blood.
According to Fr Pappachan, the first person who witnessed the phenomenon is Chandrawati Armo, an assistant nurse at a local dispensary.
Armo, 20, told UCA News that when she routinely cleaned the statue on the morning of 12 February, she noticed that the statue displayed a "sad expression" and she wondered why it seemed so sad that day.
After cleaning the statue, she went to get a new garland for it, she said, "but when I turned back and looked at the statue, it began to shed blood from both eyes." She said she burst into tears and rushed to tell Fr Pappachan.
"I raced to the statue and found blood oozing out of its eyes," Fr Pappachan said.
The priest said he then ascended the statue's concrete lotus-shaped pedestal and dipped his finger into the red liquid. "After smelling it, I tasted it," he recalled. He repeated this action four times, he said, and every time he did so, he sensed the smell and taste of "real blood."
According to parish priest, Fr Florentius Kujur, blood clots are also visible on the statue's hands. He told UCA News that people of all faiths now visit the statue and offer prayers, and about 400 parishioners have been praying inside the church ever since the phenomenon occurred. The news has also attracted many priests and nuns from other areas, he added.
Fr Anand Muttungal, spokesperson of the Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh, told UCA News that the substance will be sent for DNA testing.
Church People See Divine Message In 'Blood-Oozing' Sacred Heart Statue (UCA News, 15/2/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Jabalpur Diocese (Catholic-Hierarchy)
Perth priest claims miracle (CathNews, 20/3/06)
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Brisbane miracle investigation report still weeks away (CathNews, 9/7/04)
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16 Feb 2007