Diocesan News

Corpus Christi Names Its Hall After Carlo Acutis on Death Anniversary

The centerpiece of the hall is a portrait of Blessed Carlo Acutis flanked by English and Spanish versions of the prayer in which Catholics can seek his intercession. (Photos: Paula Katinas)

WOODSIDE — For Corpus Christi Church, Oct. 12 — the anniversary of the death of Blessed Carlo Acutis — marked not an end but a new beginning.

The church officially named its hall after Blessed Carlo Acutis, picking that day, which is also his feast day, to honor the Italian teenager who died in 2006 and is on track to become the Catholic Church’s first Millennial saint. 

Blessed Acutis was beatified on Oct. 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 Blessed Carlo Acutis Hall is dedicated to the parish’s young people.

“We want this to be a gathering place for them, a place where they can come together, feel comfortable, and grow closer to our Lord,” he said.

The newly-named hall is located in the rectory basement and holds 20-30 people. Before now, it has been used for smaller, more intimate occasions than the large-scale events that are held in the church’s gym. 

The church is having a sign made reading “Blessed Carlo Acutis Hall” that will hang above the doorway to let all who come there know they are entering a special place, the pastor said. 

Msgr. Achacoso invited a small group of teens 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 at the ceremony to think of Blessed Carlo Acutis Hall as a second home and to know “that you are loved, that you are cared for, and that you are a very important part of our church.”

The hall contains all sorts of tributes to Blessed Acutis. One wall is lined with photos of the teen doing things kids typically do — opening Christmas presents, 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.

Brandon Humala (left) and his brother Bruce couldn’t wait to try out the foosball table.

There is a ping-pong table as well as a foosball setup. There is also a karaoke machine.

Brandon Humala, 16, who tried his hand at foosball, said Blessed  Acutis inspires him to be a better Catholic. 

“He was a really great Catholic. I think he was steady in his beliefs, very devoted. And he can draw people into the church, especially kids. There are kids who are kind of 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 in awe of Blessed Acutis. “We all try to live the faith as best we can with the help and guidance of God. But as a Catholic, Blessed Carlo Acutis takes the cake,” he said. “He was very devoted 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. “To see his life in this room is going to inspire our young people. He was a kid, just like them,” she said.

The naming of Blessed Carlo Acutis Hall was inspired by, of all things, a renovation project. 

Msgr. Achacoso spearheaded a renovation of the hall two years ago, but the project ran into difficulty when the city’s Department of Buildings (DOB) insisted that the church needed a permit for the work, something the church disputed. The pastor grew increasingly worried that the project would not be completed in a timely fashion.

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 with the renovation,” he recalled.

The dispute with the city was settled, the renovation got back on track, and was completed on schedule. Msgr. Achacoso attributed the turnaround to the intercession of Blessed Acutis and decided it would be fitting to name the hall in his honor.

“We did it out of gratitude,” the pastor recalled. “I said, ‘there’s no name for the basement, so we’d like to name it after him.’”

Blessed Acutis, who died of leukemia at the age of 15, is a fitting patron for the basement hall, according to Msgr. Achacoso. “It works well because we do a lot of apostolic work for the youth there,” he added. 

Blessed Acutis was famous even during his short life as an innovator who created a website dedicated to chronicling all of the verified Eucharistic miracles in the world. 

Given his internet expertise, it is perhaps fitting that the router Corpus Christi Church uses is in the hall now bearing his name.