Eucharistic Miracle of Daroca

Notes for a Pilgrimage to Daroca

by Fr. Tommy Lane

Daroca is a place of pilgrimage because of the eucharistic miracle that occurred here in 1239. It is about 50 miles from Viluena where a eucharistic miracle occurred in 1601 and also 50 miles from Zaragoza where a eucharistic miracle occurred in 1427. So this small area of Spain has been blessed by God with three eucharistic miracles. At the end of 1238 and beginning of 1239 a great battle was waged between the Spanish and the Moors. Valencia had already fallen to the Moors. A group from Aragaon joined forces to take back this area. Six commanders had their camp at the outskirts of a village called Luchente and were preparing to capture the castle of Chio in Luchente. Fr. Mateo Martinez from Daroca was with them and as usual at that time celebrated Mass for them before they went into battle. After the consecration they received word that the Moors had launched a sneak attack. The priest wrapped the consecrated hosts in a corporal and hid them under a rock. The Spaniards won and when they came back the priest discovered that the hosts had begun to bleed. After the battle the six commanders, each from different regions in Spain, wanted to take the corporal back to his own area. They put it to a draw and on three different draws Daroca was chosen. But two of the commanders would not accept the result. They decided to take the corporal and put it on the back of a Moorish mule in the area for the first time and let the mule wander as he would until he found a place to stop. The mule set off on February 24th 1239 and finally on March 7th, 12 days later, collapsed in Daroca. A beautiful church was built to house this special gift to the people of Daroca. There are legends, only legends, of miraculous happenings during the mule’s journey, e.g. angelic singing, conversion of sinners as the mule passed, the possessed being healed. A contingent from Daroca went to Rome in 1261 to inform Pope Urban IV of the Eucharistic miracle of Daroca. He was the Pope who declared the Eucharistic miracle of Bolsena authentic and a year later instituted the feast of Corpus Christi. It is believed that he took the miracle of Daroca as one more sign from the Lord that the feast of Corpus Christi should be instituted. (Our pilgrimage group venerated the blood-stained corporal in the Iglesia colegial de Santa María de los Sagrados Corporales.)

Viluena is about 50 miles south of Zaragoza. On November 9th 1601 a local man was buried. There was no sacristan and two altar boys helped tidying up the church afterwards. The church was dark and one of the boys made ghostly sounds to the other. He dropped his candle in fright and they both left the church. They forgot about the burning candle. The church caught fire and not long after midnight a guest in the local hotel got up to check his horse which would be unusual at that hour of the morning. He noticed the fire. He ran through the town calling the people. They tried to extinguish the church but a large part of it was already destroyed. The priest tried to get to the sanctuary to rescue the Blessed Sacrament. When brave men got to the tabernacle and opened it, it was empty. There had been a silver chest inside the tabernacle containing a pyx with the Body of Our Lord. The priest couldn’t understand it. Just then another man called to him from about 15 or 20 feet away. There was a mound of embers on top of which was the silver chest perfectly intact. Even the veil which covered the chest was not burned. The priest opened the chest and the pyx was inside with the six consecrated small hosts and one large host perfectly intact. There were other miraculous events that night; people who walked on the fire or embers were not burned, neither their feet or clothes, and sick people were healed. They could feel their illnesses leaving them. They contacted the bishop and asked him to come to verify the miracle. He replied that he would come on a pastoral visit. After seven years he eventually came. However the bishop said he thought the hosts were beginning to change and he consumed them. Priest and people were all devastated. But even though the hosts were consumed it does not take from the fact that a miracle took place in Viluena on November 9th, 1601.

Coming on pilgrimage today to venerate the blood-stained corporal in this church is a grace reminding us that Jesus in the Eucharist is to be the center of our lives.

This was delivered when I was Spiritual Director for a pilgrimage while engaged in parish ministry in Ireland before joining the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Other Homilies on the Eucharist

Faith in the Real Presence of Jesus and Eucharistic Miracles

When we eat this bread and drink this cup...

Jesus Our Healer heals us through the Mass and Sacraments

Eucharist - Let Jesus feast with you

Four Presences of Jesus when we celebrate the Eucharist

Alexandrina lived only on Jesus in the Eucharist for thirteen years

On Pope John Paul II’s Letter on the Eucharist, Ecclesia de Eucharistia

The Eucharist: Jesus living in us and we in Jesus - Little Nellie of Holy God

Is Jesus in the Eucharist the center of your life? 2007

The Eucharist and St. John Bosco

The Eucharist and the Priesthood were born during the Last Supper

The Eucharist calls us to love and serve the Lord in others (homily excerpt) 2008

We meet Jesus at Mass like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus 2008

Eucharist prophesied by the prophet Malachi 2010

Passover Expectation of the Messiah and the Eucharist 2010

Simple Explanation of the Mass

my meditation on The Last Supper in Let’s Talk to Jesus

Stories about the Eucharist