WOODSIDE – For Corpus Christi Church, October 12 – the anniversary of the death of Blessed Carlo Acutis – did not mark an end but a new beginning.
The church has officially named its hall in honor of Blessed Carlo Acutis, choosing this day, which is also its feast day, to honor the Italian teenager who died in 2006 and is on the way to becoming the first millennial saint of Catholic Church.
Blessed Acutis was beatified on October 10, 2020, after a miracle attributed to his intercession was verified by the Vatican. He will be elevated to sainthood if a second miracle is verified.
Msgr. Jonas Achacoso, the pastor of Corpus Christi Church, said the Blessed Carlo Acutis Hall is dedicated to the young people of the parish.
“We want it to be a gathering place for them, a place where they can come together, feel comfortable and draw closer to our Lord,” he said.
The newly named room is located in the basement of the presbytery and can accommodate 20 to 30 people. Until now, it was used for smaller and more intimate occasions than the large-scale events held in the church gymnasium.
The church is having a sign made that says “Blessed Carlo Acutis Hall” that will hang above the door to let everyone who comes know they are entering a special place, the pastor said.
Msgr. Achacoso invited a small group of teenagers to attend the ceremony, which consisted of a blessing from Father James Kuroly, rector-president of Cathedral Preparatory School and Seminary, prayers and the singing of hymns, including “How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place”.
Father Kuroly urged the young people present at the ceremony to consider Blessed Carlo Acutis Hall as a second home and to know ‘that you are loved, cared for and a very important part of our church’ .
The room contains all manner of tributes to Blessed Acutis. One wall is lined with pictures of the teenager doing things kids typically do – opening Christmas gifts, building a snowman, hiking and playing with a dog.
There is a painted portrait of him on a shelf on the opposite wall, flanked by two framed versions of the prayer to Blessed Acutis – one in English and one in Spanish for the parish’s Spanish-speaking community.
There is a ping-pong table as well as a table football. There is also a karaoke machine.
Brandon Humala, 16, who tried his hand at table football, said Blessed Acutis inspired him to be a better Catholic.
“He was truly a great Catholic. I think he was stable in his beliefs, very devoted. And he can draw people into the church, especially children. There are children who are a bit quiet about their faith because they are afraid of being judged,” he said, adding that Blessed Acutis can make Catholicism cool.
Jose Ramos, moderator of the Parish Pastoral Council, said many parishioners are impressed with Blessed Acutis. “We all try to live the faith as best we can with God’s help and direction. But as a Catholic, Blessed Carlo Acutis takes the cake,” he said. “He was very dedicated and always there to help people, especially young people. And his whole life revolved around the Eucharist.
Parish council member Irene Tiranno looked around the room with the pictures on the walls and smiled. “Seeing his life in this room will inspire our young people. He was a child, just like them,” she said.
The appointment of Blessed Carlo Acutis Hall was inspired by, among all things, a renovation project.
Msgr. Achacoso led a renovation of the hall two years ago, but the project ran into trouble when the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) insisted the church needed a permit for the work , which the church disputed. The pastor grew increasingly concerned that the project would not be completed in a timely manner.
So he turned to Carlo Acutis for help.
“It was around the time of the beatification of Blessed Carlo Acutis, so I asked for his intercession for a solution to the problem of the renovation”, he recalls.
The dispute with the city was settled, the renovation resumed its course and was completed on schedule. Msgr. Achacoso attributed the reversal to the intercession of Blessed Acutis and decided it would be appropriate to name the hall in his honor.
“We did it out of gratitude,” the pastor recalls. “I said, ‘there’s no name for the basement, so we’d like to name it after that.'”
According to Msgr. Achacoso. “It works well because we do a lot of apostolic work for young people there,” he added.
Blessed Acutis was famous even during his short life as an innovator who created a website dedicated to chronicling all verified Eucharistic miracles in the world.
Given his internet expertise, it is perhaps appropriate that the router used by the Corpus Christi Church is in the room that now bears his name.