Two parishes in London, England, with links to Carlo Acutis have received relics of the first millennial to be declared blessed.
Our Lady of Dolours Servite Church, where Acutis was baptized in 1991, and the Westminster Diocesan Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament will house the relics of the teen known for his devotion to the Eucharist.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the archbishop of Westminster, and Bishop Nicholas Hudson, a Westminster auxiliary bishop, entrusted the relics to the parishes on May 21 at Archbishop’s House, Westminster, according to the diocese’s website.
Acutis was born to Italian parents in London on May 3, 1991, and baptized at Our Lady of Dolours, Fulham Road, on May 18 of that year. The family moved to Italy a few months later.
Fr. Pat Ryall, O.S.M., pastor of Our Lady of Dolours, said that the parish was “delighted to have him back.”
He said: “He was, as we know, Italian, and his parents were in London at the time and were attached to our parish. And it was … to our church, they came and arranged for the baptism to take place.”
“I do feel that there was a naturalness about the manner in which they gradually integrated themselves into the parish community, and, above all, I feel that Carlo really contributed very much to the growth in faith of the parents by his encouragement and his love of the Eucharist.”
He continued: “He is very welcome and we are delighted to have him back. We hope that, as he left an indelible mark with us on his first visit, we hope that also he will continue to make his presence felt during this new time.”
The other relic was given to Westminster diocese’s Blessed Sacrament shrine in recognition of Acutis’ love of the Eucharist.
After receiving his First Communion at the age of seven, he became a daily Mass-goer. He described the Eucharist as his “highway to heaven” and created a website cataloging Eucharistic miracles.
Fr. Alan Robinson, rector of the Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament at Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, said: “He’s someone that we can refer to, point to, as an example. A wonderful example of how young people can have this incredible relationship with the Lord if they’re prepared to make that effort, to actually offer themselves to him.”
“I think Carlo would be very happy in Corpus Christi, it’s very much about his life. It’s about our Lord in the Eucharist. And I hope, I pray, that through his intercession and his encouragement that it will be a home for many more young people.”
As a teenager, Acutis was diagnosed with leukemia. He offered his sufferings for Pope Benedict XVI and for the Church.
He died from a brain tumor on Oct. 12, 2006, and was buried in Assisi, at his request, because of his love for St. Francis of Assisi.
Robinson said: “Young people often think they’re invincible, they’re going to live forever. And Carlo is this example of saying: that’s not necessarily true.”
“But the one thing that will continue forever is our relationship with the Lord, in the Eucharist, both in this world and then with our Lord when our earthly life comes to its end.”
Acutis’ cause for canonization opened in 2013. He was declared Venerable in 2018 and beatified on Oct. 10, 2020. More than 41,000 people visited his tomb at Assisi during the 19-day celebration of his beatification, and hundreds of thousands of people watched the live stream of the beatification ceremony.
Bishop Hudson said: “I think his beatification is of significance, particularly for the young people of our diocese, because Carlo was only 16 when he died, and he really is a model of young people evangelizing their elders.”
“By his mother’s own admission, her son really evangelized her … meanwhile, he was also evangelizing his friends as well.”
“He had an intuition that he would die young and I think in some ways, as well as teaching young people how they can evangelize their elders, he taught all of us as well how to die.”
“When he was just approaching the end of his days, he decided he would offer all his suffering for the pope, for Jesus himself, and for his Church.”
Commenting on the presentation of the relics, Cardinal Nichols said: “Each of these churches is very beautiful, and each of them is worthy of a visit for its beauty, but even more so for the importance that each stands for of these two crucial sacraments in the life of the disciple of Jesus, and the life of the Catholic: Baptism and Eucharist.”
“And we hope and pray that the example of this young man, who was baptized at Fulham Road, and who lived his life in the close embrace of Jesus in the Eucharist, will help us all to have the right priorities in life.”
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