BAYSIDE – Students at the Catholic Academy of the Sacred Heart learned an important lesson this month: Candidates for holiness don’t need to be godly adults who lived hundreds of years ago.
They now know that ordinary young people like them can one day be beatified too – just like Blessed Carlo Acutis, whose hair relic they venerated on Thursday, October 7, at a rosary gathering at the Roman Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Bayside, Queens. .
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio chaired the gathering of students in grades five to eight held in honor of the Italian teenager who died of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 15. While waiting for a second miracle, he will become the first saint of the millennial generation.
The first-class relic was brought to the Diocese of Brooklyn at the request of Bishop DiMarzio to inspire young people and deepen their faith. The students of the Sacred Heart were the first in the diocese to pray before him.
Bishop DiMarzio began the gathering by leading the students in the recitation of the Rosary. October 7 is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, and the Church dedicates each October to the rosary.
The students watched a short film about Blessed Carlo and learned that he loved football and that he searched the internet for stories about the saints. But above all, he loved the Eucharist.
Then each student approached the reliquary and bowed solemnly.
“I think he is very similar to me and my other classmates,” eighth grade student Claudia Gilbert said of Blessed Carlo Acutis. “He did things very similar to what I did – [played] Pokémon and Mario Kart.
The student added that Blessed Carlo was inspiring him.
“He teaches other young Catholics and other young people to believe in God,” she said. “And he’s a very good role model.”
Carlo Acutis recited the Rosary and attended Mass daily from the age of 7, which strengthened his parents’ faith.
He is also known as a computer expert who created a website, “The Miracles of the Eucharist”. The database has compiled the miracles associated with the consecration of bread and wine throughout Church history and around the world.
All the carnal offerings in the world were within reach of Blessed Carlo – literally, at his keyboard. But the teenager chose holiness and urged others to do the same.
He is famous saying: “I am happy to die because I have lived my life without wasting a single minute on anything that displeases God.
Bishop DiMarzio reminded the students of another quote from Blessed Carlo: “All people are born as originals, but many die like photocopies.
Bishop DiMarzio urged the students to recognize that they are originals; through holiness and goodness they can avoid being “photocopies”.
The film noted that the Italian teenager spent his own money buying warm sleeping bags for the homeless and cooking them meals.
Sixth grader Hector Burgos was also impressed with Blessed Carlo, saying he was “quite astonished” when he heard about him this year.
“I loved that he was a normal kid, and yet he accomplished the hardest things in a short lifespan of 15 years,” said Burgos.
“He has the dedication, he has the actions, he has the personality and he has everything, mentally and physically, to become a saint. I would say his chances of becoming a saint are probably 95%.
Bishop DiMarzio hired the students. Moving up and down the central aisle, he answered questions about Blessed Carlo from the students eagerly waving their hands to be called, as in class.
Many wanted to know the teenager’s hometown and the age of his death. A girl asked Bishop DiMarzio: “What is leukemia? He explained that it is cancer that attacks blood cells.
Afterward, Bishop DiMarzio said students ask good questions, especially younger ones who aren’t afraid of embarrassment.
“They understood the problem,” he said. “We want them to understand that goodness and holiness are available to them. It is not something that is beyond the reach of people today; we can become better.
Bishop DiMarzio said he liked the idea circulating among Catholics that Blessed Carlo could become the “patron saint of the Internet”.
“There are a lot of temptations in the world today, especially for young people who lead them down the wrong path which leads to a lot of misfortune,” he said. “And we want to show them that the way to happiness is… when we pray, when we follow our faith, and when we live with something beyond ourselves.”
The Saints provide these examples, said Bishop DiMarzio.
“So we believe in the saints,” he said. “And we believe in miracles; they come when you have faith. If you don’t have faith, no miracles happen.
“And so today these young children were exposed to the life of a saint that they could relate to someone who was on a computer all the time, because they live on the Internet, while living a life as people have lived all these different centuries, including our faith and the special place of the Eucharist ”, added Bishop DiMarzio.
Hector Burgos is not ashamed to admit that spirituality is mysterious to him.
“I have to be honest with you, I’ve never really experienced holiness at this point,” he said. “Usually, I never really focused on that, except in class. And I don’t know much about the relic either.
“But I know it’s here for good. It is here for good reasons and for good reasons. That’s all I know.”