In June, the relic of Blessed Carlo Acutis travelled here from the Sanctuary of the Renunciation, Assisi, and visited the Archdiocese of Armagh, and the Diocese of Down and Connor. In August, thousands of young people venerated the relic at World Youth Day in Lisbon, where Blessed Carlo happens to be one of the patrons of this global youth gathering.
Blessed Carlo Acutis was born in London to Italian parents, and grew up in Milan where his family relocated when he was just a child. From a young age, he displayed an extraordinary devotion to his Catholic faith and attended Mass daily, regularly received the sacraments as well as developing a deep love for the Eucharist. On 10 October 2020, Blessed Carlo was beatified by Pope Francis, becoming the first millennial to be declared ‘Blessed’ by the Catholic Church.
The pilgrimage of the holy relic to Ireland will continue every three months until all of the twenty-six dioceses on the island have had an opportunity to offer it locally for devotion. Already this month there has been a lot of discussion amongst the faithful, and in the media, specifically RTÉ Radio 1’s Liveline, about the significance of the relic of Blessed Carlo to the faith lives of young people. The pilgrimage of the relic will continue, from 13 to 18 September, where it will visit the following four dioceses:
- Saint Eugene’s Cathedral, Derry, on 14 September;
- the International Eucharistic and Marian Shrine of Knock in the Archdiocese of Tuam, on 15 September;
- Saint Anne’s Church, Sligo, in the Diocese of Elphin for the Abide Eucharistic Conference on 16 September; and,
- Cathedral of Saint Patrick & Saint Colman, Newry, Diocese of Dromore, on 17 September, before the relic returns to Assisi on 18 September.
Accompanying the fragment of the pericardium relic, the membrane that protected his heart, will be Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo, head of International Relations, and Sister Alessandra Rusca, Chancellor of the Diocese of Assisi.
According to Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino, who is the Bishop of Assisi, Nocera Umbra, Gualdo Tadino and Foligno, “we are happy that a relic of Blessed Carlo Acutis can reach four more dioceses in Ireland as, we are convinced, given previous experiences, that devotion to this young man, who lived according to the Gospel, is an example and a help to the Church and to the many young people who are seeking points of reference to grasp the beauty of faith.”
Blessed Carlo Acutis is the first millennial to be beatified. Known ‘as the kid in jeans and sneakers,’ he died of leukaemia at just 15 years of age in 2006. Blessed Carlo had a passion for holiness, focusing his life on the Eucharist in order to grow in his relationship with Jesus: ‘The more we receive the Eucharist,’ he said, ‘the more we will become like Jesus.’ Carlo tried to attend Mass every day and spend time in prayer at Eucharistic Adoration, believing that ‘when we put ourselves before Jesus in the Eucharist, we become saints.’
The visit of the holy relic will include the launching of a new book, Blessed Carlo Acutis: Light the Flame of Faith, by Monsignor Figueiredo, written specifically for Ireland, and a CD of a song composed in honour of Blessed Carlo, Carlo Acutis. The Living Bread.