By Tony DeGol
The Catholic Community of Cresson is getting ready to showcase the legacy of a young boy who enjoyed a deep friendship with Jesus Christ through the Holy Eucharist.
Carlos Acutis was an English-born Italian Catholic whose life was cut short at the age of 15 when he died from Leukemia.
Before his passing in 2006, he was on a mission to document Eucharistic miracles and catalog them onto a website. He was beatified in 2020.
The story of Acutis caught the attention of Father Leo Arnone, Pastor of Saint Aloysius and Saint Francis Xavier Parishes in Cresson and All Saints Catholic School in Cresson.
“I’m always on the lookout for young people I can highlight as witnesses of the faith to be a role model to the students,” Father Arnone explained. “I was super-impressed with his life story.”
In an effort to encourage others to have the same friendship with Christ that he cherished, Acutis came up with what some might consider a school project, Father added.
“He decided to gather all of the Eucharistic miracles of the Lord, which show that the host is the genuine Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity,” noted Father Arnone. “Using his knowledge of the computer, he started his research and visited churches where Eucharistic miracles took place.”
Acutis put together posters that documented the miracles from locations around the world – some of which include photos he shot himself, Father said.
Besides various images, each poster includes a large quote and a paragraph or two that more fully explains each miracle at that particular global spot.
“As you read through them, you cannot help but be amazed,” assured Father Arnone. “I counted 108 different Eucharistic miracles where the Eucharist turned into flesh or something special happened. You also find panels of Eucharistic saints. Technically, we can say that every saint is a Eucharistic saint, but some saints made devotion to the Eucharist a highlight of their charism.”
Father was delighted to learn that he was able to download the posters and print them to share with the Catholic Community of Cresson and other faithful throughout the diocese.
The display will be available to public viewing May 8-14 at the Saint Aloysius Hall in Cresson.
The schedule is as follows:
Sunday, May 8
9:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Monday, May 9
Tuesday, May 10
Wednesday, May 11
Thursday, May 12
Friday, May 13
Saturday, May 14
While there, visitors can watch a short film on the life of Carlos Acutis, and children can watch a longer cartoon Acutis created on the life of Jesus.
“Guests probably want to come more than once, because I don’t think you’re going to read everything in one visit,” advised Father. “In time, we will put this on loan to other parishes in the diocese.”
The display in Cresson comes not long before the June 19 start of a Eucharistic Revival, a three-year journey sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which challenges every Catholic to rekindle his or her fire of love and devotion for the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.
The May 8-14 event also coincides with Father Arnone’s personal desire of dedicating this year to re-energizing his parishioners following the pandemic.
“My hope and goal is that people will find it in themselves to revitalize their spirit, their faith in Christ, His Eucharistic Presence, and because of that faith, they will find themselves more and more often in Church,” Father stated. “Carlos had a saying: ‘When you spend time in the sun, you get a suntan, when you spend time before Christ in the Eucharist, you get holy.’ In today’s day and age, people need a little more facetime with the Lord at Mass and Eucharistic Adoration. I hope we see that first starting here in the Cresson Catholic Community and then throughout the larger diocese.”
Editor’s Note: See more of the Miracles of the Eucharist display on Proclaim! TV on May 1 at 10:30 a.m. on WATM ABC 23.