The next day, Father Marvin Sotelo and Father Oscar Rodríguez, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus — who had come to the town of San Juan de Intibucá just two months before — went to the community of El Espinal to corroborate what the parish coordinator had told them over the phone.
Sotelo put the corporal in a plastic bag with a hermetic seal, kept it in his rectory, and handed it over to Bishop Guillén two days later.
Guillén was particularly skeptical and decided to keep it in his personal chapel while he decided what to do. “I’m not that prone to naively believing in things. Logic makes us prudent in terms of believing things without sifting through them and without analyzing them,” he told “EWTN Noticias.”
Almost three months later, the bishop ordered some scientific tests to be carried out at the Santa Rosa de Copán Medical Center, about 30 miles from Gracias, to evaluate the oxidation and dilution of the apparent blood.
Concluding that the necessary material was not available to carry out an analysis, the corporal was sent to the DISA Test toxicological center in Tegucigalpa, where Dr. Héctor Díaz del Valle, who holds a doctorate in chemistry and pharmacy, led the investigation.
At the end of October 2022, the analysis began with the intervention of an external forensic expert and an expert in analytical toxicology.
The same blood type on the Shroud of Turin and Lanciano
Initially, it was ruled out that the stains were of wood resin or animal blood. Subsequent procedures revealed that the blood was human and was type AB with a positive Rh factor, the same as the eucharistic miracle of Lanciano, Italy, as well as that found on the Shroud of Turin, also in Italy.
According to the World Population Review portal in Honduras, less than 2.5% of the population in that country has that same blood type.
The expert tests also ruled out that the pattern of the blood stains could have been made artificially.
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Valle was surprised because the cloth “had contact with air, humidity; presumptive tests were carried out on the cloth and it did not dry properly” and yet to date “it does not show deterioration or fungus.”
In forensic investigations, presumptive and confirmatory tests are a useful tool in the study of blood stains.
After carrying out the investigations and putting the statements of the witnesses under notarized oath, the bishop of Gracias confirmed that it was a surprising occurrence. “I don’t place in doubt the credibility,” he said.
“I think that this extraordinary, visible, tangible, perceptible, verifiable sign of this manifestation of the blood of the Lord in an obscure community in the midst of the most extreme rurality of our agricultural environment says a lot at this time,” he said.
“You have to think that God seeks extremes to call us to the balance of good sense and truth. It seems to me that this is an extreme sign of God who manifests himself again, as he has done in the holy Scriptures, in the history of salvation, by those simple ones whom Mary praises for their lowliness,” the bishop said.
‘A call to conversion’