Update: After the original story was published, Father Giacomo Capoverdi published an update on his personal Facebook page:
Every consecration is an actual miracle of ordinary bread and wine changing into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. We had an event this week here where our Host in the monstrance changed color seemingly spontaneous. However upon further investigation, we have found a natural explanation. The change was due to a new kind of LED bulb purchased for the chapel, a “Feit electric enhance vivid natural light. 75 Watt, 1 par30 bulb spot. Day Light 5000 K.” The new spotlight purchased had no indication on the packaging it would cast a blue hue. The Host did not appear blue until 32 hours after changing the light.
Parishioners at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Westerly, Rhode Island, had observed the host in the adoration chapel’s monstrance turn blue on Sunday, May 7.
Pastor Giacomo Capoverdi announced on his personal Facebook page on May 8, “Our Host in the monstrance in our perpetual adoration chapel has the appearance of turning blue.”
“Nothing can be officially called a ‘miracle’ until the Diocese and the Church Universal does a thorough investigation,” Fr. Capoverdi added in the same post.
Michael F. Kioeloch, Director of Communications and Public Relations for the Diocese of Providence, concurred with Capoverdi’s statement. Kioeloch told CatholicVote, “Having only just learned of the purported events at Immaculate Conception in Westerly, Rhode Island, the Diocese of Providence will be reaching out to the pastor to gather information to consider a preliminary investigation.”
Both the diocese and Capoverdi emphasized that while the matter is under investigation, the most important response Catholics can make is to frequent the sacraments and Eucharistic adoration.
“In the meantime,” stated Kioeloch, “we wish to continue to encourage Catholics to participate in the celebration of Holy Mass and the adoration of our Lord in the blessed sacrament.”
The Catholic Church takes claims of miracles with measured skepticism and, in limited cases, a local bishop may launch a rigorous scientific investigation of unexplained phenomena. Calling an event a “miracle” takes place only after all possibility of fraud, human error, or other natural causes is ruled out.
Matthew McGuire drove his children from outside Newport to see the phenomenon for himself on May 10. He told CatholicVote, “I just heard a big commotion yesterday – people were texting each other that the Eucharist had turned blue. I just kept thinking about it all night, so I went over there. And there it was… blue.”
“It doesn’t appear painted,” McGuire said when pressed. “There’s no way to describe it.”
“A bunch of locals were there,” he said. “People were crying. It’s very emotional.”
McGuire brought his small children to see the host as well. “My kids went into the adoration chapel, and it was the quietest they’ve ever been,” he marveled. “They just sat there and stayed there.”
McGuire isn’t the only curious Catholic. Capoverdi posted a late-night photo at 10:30pm on May 9: “The Adoration chapel is crowded with young people. Even the images of the Apostles around the monstrance turned blue.”
McGuire confirmed to CatholicVote that not only had the white host turned blue but also the white elements of images of saints that decorate the monstrance.
In the parking lot outside, McGuire reported, parishioners discussed what the occurrence could mean.
“May is dedicated to Mary,” McGuire said. “And Mary’s color is blue.”
Immaculate Conception Parish has had a Perpetual Adoration Chapel for over 20 years and is remarkable for its Marian and Eucharistic devotion. The parish hosts both Corpus Christi and Our Lady of Mount Carmel processions through the city each year.
“Since the late 1990’s, in all the time that Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament has been exposed in the chapel perpetually, it has never been this color during any time of the day,” Capoverdi wrote.
The Diocese of Providence, founded in 1872, announced on May 1 that Pope Francis had accepted the resignation of retiring Bishop Thomas Tobin. Bishop Richard Henning succeeded him as bishop.
The news comes as the nearby Archdiocese of Hartford, CT, is investigating another possible Eucharistic miracle.