Relics of Carlo Acutis can now be found in a cathedral in Poland thanks to the initiative of a youth chaplain.
Fr. Adrian Sadowski, the diocesan youth chaplain for the Diocese of Ełk in northeast Poland, was looking for a way to inspire young people who consider themselves “spiritual, but not religious” to see the importance of the sacraments.
“In today’s world, many young people ask questions about faith and the Church. Many say, ‘God, yes, but the Church as an institution, no,’ and some doubt eternity,” Fr. Sadowski said.
“Sometimes it is difficult for them to understand that the Church ‘is a hospital for sinners’ and only in it can one meet the living God in sacramental action. Blessed Carlo makes us aware of this.”
With this in mind, the Polish priest contacted the Vatican with the hope of obtaining a first-class relic of Blessed Carlo Acutis for his diocese. The relic was officially installed in Ełk Cathedral at a Feb. 23 Mass offered by Bishop Jerzy Mazur of Ełk.
Mazur said in his homily that Acutis “had an extraordinary ability to convey the values he believed in and help people discover that God is close to us and that living with Him is something beautiful.”
“He wanted to attract as many people as possible to Jesus, becoming a preacher of the Gospel primarily through the example of his life.”
Blessed Carlo Acutis was a young Catholic from Italy with a passionate devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and an aptitude for computer programming.
From the ages of 12 to 14, he designed a website cataloging Eucharistic miracles around the world, which he launched in 2005. He died of leukemia a year later at the age of 15, offering his suffering for the pope and the Church.
Acutis became the first millennial to be beatified by the Catholic Church in October 2020. The live stream of his beatification Mass in Assisi went viral with hundreds of thousands of people watching online.
The transfer of his relics comes at a challenging time for the Church in Poland. A report released this month said that religious practice among young Poles had halved in almost 30 years.
“In today’s reality, when the everyday life of young people moved to the internet due to the pandemic, the Church gives us a blessed who used this means for evangelization,” Fr. Sadowski commented.
The young blessed’s relics will travel from parish to parish in Ełk diocese for the rest of this year to allow more people to encounter them.
The Polish diocese is an example of one of many Catholic communities around the world looking to Acutis for inspiration with their youth ministry.
The Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar of Buenos Aires in Argentina also obtained a relic this year of Acutis -- a fragment of his skin -- after sending a request to the Friends of Carlo Acutis Association in Italy.
Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, commented in an interview with Vatican News on February 25 that “there is no doubt the reputation for holiness of this young man is growing.”