Diocesan News

Students Hit All The Right Notes

Seniors compose song for Blessed Carlo Acutis

HICKSVILLE, L.I. — Blessed Carlo Acutis inspires teenagers around the world, including those at Holy Trinity Diocesan High School on Long Island. Three seniors wrote an original song in tribute to Acutis, thanks to the encouragement of their high school chaplain Father Liam McDonald and help from their campus minister, Theresa Marino.

Acutis was an Italian teen who used his computer programming skills to develop a detailed, online exhibition titled “The Eucharistic Miracles of the World” at 11. He completed the catalog in 2005, a year before he died from leukemia at 15. A miracle was attributed to Acutis in 2013 when a Brazilian mother prayed for Acutis’s intercession on behalf of her son, who later was healed from annular pancreas, a birth defect. Acutis, as a result, was beatified in October 2020 in Assisi, Italy.

“Born an Original” was composed in less than a week, featuring lyrics that incorporate Acutis’s quotations. The song speaks to embracing faith and the way God made you. Some quotes, in particular, struck chords with the seniors.

“He said something along the lines of, ‘People are born an original, but die as photocopies,’ ” Luca DiGrigoli told Currents News, adding he most likely would have been friends with Acutis had he known him. “I found that interesting because it inspired me to take my life and do something original with it.”

Songwriter and pianist DiGrigoli worked with Bryce Ridley, who is on Holy Trinity’s track team, during the songwriting process. Ridley had never written a song before and showcased his musical talents for the first time when they performed at the senior Thanksgiving Mass on Nov. 23, 2020. DiGrigoli and Ridley also collaborated with their classmate Jack McDonough on rhythm and percussion.

“From simply writing a song about him, it gave me an insight on what his life was like and why he had the connection he did with God,” Ridley said. “It encouraged me to do the same.”

Marino, who has been working at Holy Trinity for the last three years, noted that students who write their music sometimes come into her office and play their songs for her. From there, they work on moving the music forward.

“This was definitely a first in terms of being inspired by something in the life of the church and performing it for the school,” said Marino, who plays guitar and sings backup vocals for this song. “We’ve never performed any original pieces for the student body.”

The song has garnered attention outside the school community since debuting on the Catholic Faith Network in mid-November.

Marino and the students hope to record “Born an Original” in a studio after returning from the winter recess. Their goals are to upload the song onto multiple music-streaming platforms and ultimately send it to Acutis’s family.

“It’s amazing how it just kind of took off,” she said. “A lot of people have said they think the tune is catchy, but I think people feel inspired by the song’s message. As far as the support we’ve received, many — including the bishop of our diocese [Rockville Centre], Bishop John Barres — have reached out to say they’re proud of us.”

“We do ministry with students every day, and there are always extraordinary things happening, but I think the fact that Carlo is the subject matter and there are faithful, young men his age singing it is what is attractive to people,” Marino continued. “I’m proud of them for doing that because I think it’s needed.”

One thought on “Students Hit All The Right Notes

  1. I was more than happy to see an article highlighting young people’s relationships with Christ. I am a proud alum of Holy Trinity Diocesan Highschool in Hicksville, and I keep in close contact to the people I met while I was a student in the late 70s.
    (Class of 1980). Theresa Marino, Campus Minister is doing a fine job. She says, “making the life of Jesus relatable to young people is the job of a Catholic high school educator”. Oh I certainly believe that this should be the case. Too many of our young people leave high school with no relationship with Christ and no desire to attend mass. This is heartbreaking too many of us parents who sacrificed to keep their children in Catholic school. Good luck to these young people. There is great hope.
    Once a Titan, always a Titan!!