Thousands descend on Co. Down for Carlo Acustis’ relics

Thousands descend on Co. Down for Carlo Acustis’ relics LtoR - Bishop Alan McGuckian, Bishop of Down and Connor, Deacon Jackie Breen, PP Fr Gerry McClosky, Fr Ciaran Dallat PP of St Macartan’s and Msgr Figueiredo giving a blessing at the relic of Carlo Acutis. Photo: Photo: Bill Smyth

On May 13, 2024, the relic of Blessed Carlo Acutis visited St Nichola’s Church, Ardglass and St Mary’s Church, Dunsford in Co. Down, and was greeted by an estimated 5,500 people.

The relic has travelled to Ireland this weekend from Assisi’s Sanctuary of the Renunciation, the church where Blessed Carlo Acutis’ remains are housed and displayed. It is located at the site where it is said that St Francis of Assisi cast off his rich clothes and took up the poor habit. It was in Benburb Priory on May 12. The relic is a first-class relic, meaning it is a piece of the body of Blessed Carlo Acutis.

On October 10, 2020, he was beatified by Pope Francis, becoming the first millennial to be declared ‘Blessed’ by the Catholic Church. The Church said that his beatification highlighted “the significance of his witness, particularly for the younger generation, demonstrating that holiness is attainable even in our modern world.”

Monsignor Figueiredo presented Fr Gerry McCloskey with a first-class relic of Blessed Carlo Acutis for the Diocese of Down and Connor. The event included Rosary prayer in the church, Mass, Divine Mercy Chaplet and benediction followed by the closing ceremony and farewell.  Also, there was an exhibition of Blessed Carlo’s life on display in the porch of the church. The relic departed St Nicholas’ Church to arrive next morning at St Mary’s Church Dunsford (two miles from Ardglass).

Fr Gerry McCloskey, parish priest of Dunford and Ardglass parish, who organised the two-day event said:
“It was a wonderful day which despite the heavy downpours of rain didn’t prevent long lines of people waiting to be blessed by the relic of this young teenager, Carlo Acutis, who lived in this millennium and who is now proclaimed Blessed. The huge numbers of those wanting to venerate show that devotion to this young saint is increasing as many favours are being received through his intercession. Well over 5,500 people attended the two-day pilgrimage to the Co. Down Coastal village to get a blessing of the young boy’s relic.”