On Wednesday, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and other members of the Diocese of Brooklyn accepted a relic of Blessed Carlo Acutis, the first millennial to be considered for sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church.
Acutis was born and raised in Italy, but gained notoriety internationally for creating a website (miracolieucarisici.org) listing every Catholic miracle of the Eucharist throughout history. Acutis tragically passed away at age 15 in 2006 after a battle with leukemia.
However, Pope Francis later attributed a miracle to him when a boy with a malformed pancreas was healed after coming into contact with one of Acutis’ shirts.
In order for someone to become a saint in the Roman Catholic Church, they must have two miracles attributed to them. There are still relics – physical remains such as hair, skin, or bones – from Acutis’ life that could potentially lead to another miracle.
To this end, Bishop DiMarzio reached out to Bishop Domenico Sorrentino from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino in central Italy and asked if one of Acutis’ relics could be sent to Brooklyn.
Bishop Sorrentino agreed, and on Wednesday the relic — in this case a lock of Acutis’ hair — arrived at the chapel of the Diocese of Brooklyn Chancery in Windsor Terrace.
“There are over 10,000 recognized saints and only about 120 are under the age of 15 years old,” Bishop DiMarzio explained on Wednesday. “Consistent from the age of seven, this boy [Acutis] was attracted to the Eucharist and to the mass, but he wasn’t detached from the world. You can see from the pictures, he wore blue jeans and sneakers. He was always on the internet.”
The Diocese of Brooklyn plans on bringing the relic to schools and churches throughout Brooklyn in the hopes of inspiring other young people.
“We have a very vital youth ministry that works with young people trying to teach them to think about and practice their faith,” Bishop DiMarzio told this paper. “So to have this relic with us enhances that work. You can read a lot of books, but somebody’s life teaches us and inspires us more.”
The relic arrives at a time when the Diocese of Brooklyn is actively working to leverage new technologies and ideas to confront modern problems. Last month, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens launched a new sustainable energy initiative that aims to confront climate change.
Bishop DiMarzio hopes that Acutis’ work will continue to motivate the church and its members to address pressing issues.
“It’s important to us to be in the world,” said Bishop DiMarzio. “We are not something from the past. We are from the present, and we want to make sure we can reach the people here in the present. So when the church gives us this blessed person who is very contemporary, that can maybe inspire people.”