Three parishes to highlight several apparent miracles

Three parishes are working together to spread the word this month about several apparent miracles.

St. Stephen the Martyr in Omaha, St. Gerald in Ralston and St. Joseph in Springfield will host Tim Francis, founder of You Shall Believe ministry, for five presentations, said Greg Weiss, a member of St. Stephen and an organizer of the events.

Francis will speak and show video segments about occurrences first reported in the 1990s, including a statue of Jesus said to bleed and weep, a woman believed to experience the wounds of Jesus, known as the stigmata, and a Communion host that appears to have turned into heart tissue.

The presentation will highlight efforts made in 1999 to scientifically investigate the occurrences led by a TV personality, an attorney and an atheist/scientist, and how what they found has helped them and others – including Francis – to a fuller faith.

"Mr. Francis connects in a particular way with non-Catholics and people he calls ‘lukewarm’ Catholics," Weiss said, "because he described himself that way when he was growing up, and he had fallen away during college. These miracles are what really spoke to him and brought him back."

"He especially appeals to millennials, who often have to see to believe," he said. "The power of miracles in our time is something that can speak to people, both young and old."

The three parishes’ efforts began when Corey Osborn, also a member of St. Stephen the Martyr, heard Francis speak at his parents’ parish in North Platte. Impressed, Osborn wanted to bring the program to St. Stephen, in hopes of increasing devotion to the Eucharist and promoting perpetual adoration, said Weiss, who serves with Osborn on the parish’s pastoral council and adoration committee.

Because Osborn had first read about Francis on the Facebook page of Father Michael Voithofer, associate pastor of St. Gerald, they asked Father Voithofer if St. Gerald would co-host an event. Now living in Springfield, Osborn also reached out to St. Joseph Parish. All three parishes are co-hosting the presentations and sharing the cost.

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