February 14, 2023 // Diocese

Relics Begin Tour of Diocese as Part of Eucharistic Revival

Elisejane Plecnik
St. Adalbert Catholic Church in South Bend begins the tour of the first class relics of St. Manuel González García and Blessed Carlo Acutis as part of the second year of the National Eucharistic Revival. The veneration was on Feb. 8.

Relics of Blessed Carlo Acutis and St. Manuel González García Visit St. Matthew Cathedral

By Phil Niswonger

What are Eucharistic Saints? Better yet: Are you a Eucharistic Person? As Blessed Carlo Acutis said often, “The Eucharist is the Highway to Heaven.”

South Bend was blessed to have three locations on Feb. 8, 9, and 10 for the faithful to witness two first class relics. One is now from the world-famous Italian teenager, Blessed Carlo Acutis (1991-2006), where a rather large portion of his incorrupted heart is in his reliquary. The second is, until recently known mostly in Spain, a chip of Bishop St. Manuel González García’s (1877 – 1940) bone. The Catholic Church learned early on that miracles happened when the faithful visited the martyrs’ graves, especially in the catacombs, where Mass was offered over their tombs … whereupon we place a saint’s relic in our Altars of Sacrifice right below where the priest consecrates the Holy Eucharist.

Elisejane Plecnik
Families venerate the first class relics of St. Manuel González García and Blessed Carlo Acutis at their second stop of the tour through the diocese as part of the National Eucharistic Revival at St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend on Feb. 9.

St. Manuel González García, known as the Bishop of the Tabernacle, was first assigned to a nearly abandoned and neglected parish of Palomares del Río. When he approached the church’s tabernacle, he found it dusty and covered with cobwebs. He was heartbroken and saddened that Jesus was so neglected. He subsequently founded the Eucharistic Missionaries of Nazareth and the Disciples of St. John … also dedicated to the Holy Eucharist. He later became bishop of Palencia, Spain. He had many miracles, his first recognized was in 1953 of the healing of 18-year-old Sara Ruiz Ortega who was suffering from tuberculous, and his second was the healing of María del Carmen Feijóo Varela in 2008, who had aggressive cancer. He was canonized in 2016 by Pope Francis.

Photos by Phil Niswonger

Blessed Carlos Acutis at age seven wanted his parents, who were off work in the summers as they were both teachers, but who not very active as Catholics, to tour Europe. He received his first Holy Communion and then wanted to also visit all the sites of known Eucharistic Miracles. He then began to develop a now famous website documenting most of the Eucharistic Miracles that have occurred world-wide. His website is “Miracoli Eucharistici” (“Eucharistic Miracles of the World”), which is also available in book form by the same title. The international physical display of his work has appeared often in our diocese. The dynamic miracle for Carlo’s beatification was of 4-year-old Mattheus, who weighed only 20 pounds. He could not keep food down due to a congenital disease, called Annular Pancreas, and would often vomit. He was not expected to live much longer. In 2013, his parish priest, Father Marcelo Tenorio, heard about Carlos Acutis and obtained a relic and asked his parishioners to pray for Mattheus. His mother, Luciana Vianna, heard about the prayer service and began a novena to Carlo Acutis. When she and Mattheus then approached the relic, he kissed a photo of Carlo and was instantly cured. He went home at ate copiously. The next day, his doctors were amazed and noted that there was a physiological change of his organ.

Relics of Blessed Carlo Acutis and St. Manuel González García Visit St. Pius X

By Erin Lynch

On Friday, Feb. 10, the relics of Blessed Carlo Acutis and St. Manuel González García made their tour stop at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Granger. Beginning at 6:45 a.m., the relics were in the chapel at St. Pius X for daily Mass and veneration. The relics were then moved to the main church at 8:45 a.m., where a Votive Mass for St. Manuel González García was offered. This Mass was an all-school Mass for St. Pius X students. St. Joseph Grade School of South Bend’s 7th grade class also attended.

Father Augustine Onuoha presided at the Mass and gave the homily. He said, “Deep down, every human has a longing for God because everyone in this church is made in the image and likeness of God.” He continued on saying, “All of us who are baptized have a desire to live out the Gospel and the saints are sent to accompany us in that desire. That is why we have Blessed Carlo and St. Manuel to help us and accompany us and so we can pray for their intercession. For where they are right now, they are close to God. Through these relics, God will do extraordinary things for us. God can hear our prayers.”

After the Mass, all those present in the church were blessed with the relics. Veneration of the relics then took place. Holy cards of Blessed Carlo Acutis and St. Manuel González García were made available and many took the opportunity to bring these cards forward to venerate the relics, making these holy cards third class relics.

Some people brought other holy objects to venerate the relics with. One St. Pius X parishioner, Kelly Ann Creevey, came to the Mass with her 3-year-old son Johnny. She spoke about how incredibly grateful she was for the opportunity, “Carlo is a beautiful example of a life lived close to Jesus — especially for children. We were able to touch my son’s Carlo Acutis peg doll to the relic to make it a third class relic. It’s such a special blessed item he’ll be able to pray with for the rest of his life. I’m grateful St. Pius X granted our parishioners this special opportunity, and that so many children were able to experience the veneration.”

Although the veneration occurred at St. Pius X, the opportunity was open to all. Brett Perkins, the RCIA director at the University of Notre Dame, stopped by to take the opportunity to venerate the relics as well. He said, “It was so wonderful to get to pray before and venerate the relics of Blessed Carlo and St. Manuel, as reminders that these men lived lives just like all of us and yet allowed themselves to be radically transformed by God’s grace into such profound witnesses to the holiness we’re all called to as Christians. While I wasn’t as familiar with the life and witness of St. Manuel, I had learned about Blessed Carlo some time ago from some of my Notre Dame students who had visited his tomb in Italy. As I’ve learned more about him, I have been inspired by his piety, devotion to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and his commitment to evangelization, especially using technology. I direct RCIA at Notre Dame, and he even came up last weekend at our spring conference on the Eucharist that my team and I planned for all our RCIA participants. A favorite quote of mine from Blessed Carlo is, ‘If we get in front of the sun, we get sun tans, but when we get in front of Jesus in the Eucharist, we become saints.’”

Photos by Erin Lynch

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