Anne-Marie Welsh

Hungry for the Eucharist, Blessed Carlo
sought and received special permission
to make his First Communion
at the age of 7, rather than waiting until
9 with the rest of his classmates.

NORTHWEST PA — As part of its celebration of the three-year national Eucharistic Revival that began in June 2022, the Diocese of Erie is privileged to be one of only 39 dioceses and organizations in the United States to host the relics of two people who were deeply devoted to the Eucharist. They are the relics of Blessed* Carlo Acutis of Italy — well-known as the first millennial to be named a blessed — and St. Manuel González García of Spain, sometimes referred to as the Bishop of the Abandoned Tabernacle. The relics will be hosted under

Due to his writings and experiences, St.
Manuel Gonzalez Garcia is often referred
to as the "Bishop of the Abandoned

the auspices of the diocesan Office for Divine Worship.

           “It is an extraordinary privilege for us to host the relics of Blessed Carlo and St. Manuel,” said the Most Rev. Lawrence T. Persico, bishop of Erie. “I highly encourage all Catholics, and anyone seeking grace and a prayerful experience, to make an effort to visit the relics while they are in the diocese.” 

          A full schedule of public opportunities to venerate the relics is available on a new microsite designed specifically for the event: www.eriercd.org/relics.html. Included on the site is a flier explaining veneration for those who may not be familiar with it. The first opportunities in Erie open to the public will be on Tuesday, May 23, from noon until 9 pm at St. Jude the Apostle Church, 2801 West Sixth Street in Erie, and Wednesday, May 24, from 6 to 8 pm at St. Mark Church, 695 Smithson Avenue, Erie. A bilingual Mass is scheduled for 6 pm at St. Stephen of Hungary Church, 1237 W. 21st St., on Thursday, May 25, and the final opportunities for veneration in Erie will be on May 26 at St. Peter Cathedral.

           The relics will travel to Holy Redeemer Church in Warren May 27 and 28; to Elk County Catholic School in St. Marys and St. Leo Magnus Church, Ridgway, on May 30; to St. Catherine of Siena Church in DuBois on May 31 and to St. Joseph Church as well as Venango Regional Catholic School in Oil City on June 1. In addition to the visits at churches throughout northwest Pennsylvania, the relics will be brought to students at several of the diocese’s high schools.

           Blessed Carlo Acutis, who died of an aggressive form of leukemia in October 2006 at the age of 15, has captured the hearts of people across the globe, in part due to an online site he created documenting Eucharistic miracles from around the world. The official English site for the Association and Cause for the Canonization of Carlo Acutis can be found at https://carloacutis-en.org/. It includes a link to an English version of the website he created about Eucharistic miracles, available at http://www.miracolieucaristici.org/.

            In 1902, the bishop of Seville, Spain, sent Saint Manuel González García to preach a mission in a small town; what the saint found was a discouragingly unkempt and abandoned church. The experience inspired him to kneel before the tabernacle and dedicate himself to Christ, abandoned in tabernacles all over the world. He also was well-known for his care for the poor and hungry. When he died in 1940, he asked to be buried next to a tabernacle, “so that my bones, after death, as my tongue and my pen in life, are saying to those who pass: there is Jesus! There it is! Do not leave him abandoned!” The National Catholic Register offers a good summary of a recent book based on his writings at https://www.ncregister.com/blog/st-manuel-gonzalez-garcia-bishop-of-the-abandoned-tabernacle.

           “Relics are brought to the faithful to help them feel even closer to a person who has been declared by the church to have lived a holy life and/or to have brought people closer to Christ during their lifetime,” said Father Matthew Kujawinski, director of the Office for Divine Worship of the Diocese of Erie. Attached please find a document that explains more about veneration as well as how it is done.

           People of all faiths are welcome to participate in this unique opportunity for reflection and grace. Visit www.eriercd.org/relics.html for more information.

*There are several steps on the way to being canonized a saint. Blessed Carlo has been beatified but not yet canonized, and so is referred to as Blessed. In early 2020, Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to Carlo: the healing of a young Brazilian boy from a rare congenital disease of the pancreas after he touched a photo of Carlo, asking for healing. On October 10, 2020, Carlo was beatified and proclaimed Blessed at Assisi, Italy, where he is buried.