The Carlo-Effect at St. Andrew’s Church, Bandra
One of the most beautiful ways in which we practice our faith is by coming together, celebrating and praising God for all that he has done for us. For as Blessed Carlo Acutis said, "The only thing we have to ask God, in prayer, is the desire to be holy" and it's this desire that is our call to holiness that brings us closer to God and helps us to serve all those who are in need.
Blessed Carlo Acutis believed in living a simple life spent in serving God and being in the presence of the Eucharist. His love and devotion for our Lord has brought about a transformation in many lives including that of his parents. Thus when we were informed that the Relic and Statue of Bl. Carlo Acutis will be coming to the Bandra Deanery our hearts felt immense joy and happiness as we feel privileged to be blessed by his presence.
On the 9th of October 2022, Our parish, St.Andrew's Church, Bandra welcomed the Relic and the statue of Blessed Carlo Acutis, the first saint of the millennial age. From little children dressed up as angels to the parishioners wearing the colour red, all gathered together as one family at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount to welcome our 'Halo Hero'. The Relic and the statue of Bl. Carlo Acutis was placed on a vintage Jeep along with the priests of St. Andrew's Church, Bandra. Thereafter began a procession from the Mount to St.Andrews church accompanied by a Musical Band, a group of bikers and the enthusiastic parishioners.
As we passed by one of the most famous spots in Bandra - "Bandstand", People were amazed to see this new young hero that had inspired so many people around the world. Our 'HALO HERO' definitely caught the eye of many passerby and soon became a center of attraction for all the people enjoying their beautiful bright Sunday mornings on the promenade to shift their gaze upon his simple yet pristine personality. This entire procession was followed by a beautiful prayer service at St.Andrew's Church after which people were allowed to venerate the relic and the statue of Bl.Carlo Acutis. In the evening, there was a special Youth mass followed by a Taizé prayer service conducted by the Andrean Youth Movement (AYM). It was an evening spent with the Lord in the presence of Bl.Carlo who believed that The Eucharist was his Highway to Heaven.
The next morning began with mass followed by veneration, prayer and blessing at every hour. On the 10th of October, there was a special eucharistic celebration for all the families in the parish which was attended by a large number of parishioners along with their families who later stayed back for the adoration and healing service conducted by the youth. The adoration and praise and worship service lifted up the entire atmosphere in the church and the presence of our Lord and his faithful servant Bl. Carlo Acutis was felt at a more personal level.
The last day of this Sacred Triduum also began with eucharist followed by prayer and blessing and a concluding prayer service in the evening that focused on special blessings for the various parts of our community that represent the parish i.e. the religious, the clergy, the laity, the youth, the senior citizens, the sick and the housebound, the differently abled and the domestic helpers.
We as a parish totally feel blessed to be the first ones to receive the relic and the statue of Bl. Carlo Acutis. We feel extremely proud to have experienced such an amazing event in our lives that we shall cherish for many years to come from now. I can proudly say that His presence has really touched the hearts of our youth and has moved all our parishioners.
At such a young age, Bl.Carlo taught us how to bring people close to God and to always trust in Him as He is an ever-loving God who is always watching over His children. Thus, just like Blessed Carlo Acutis we too must also learn to make Christ our utmost priority and to be close to him must be our life goal.
Lastly, I would like to thank the Archdiocese of Bombay for making this happen and that we are truly grateful for blessing us with such a wonderful experience.
Kevin Oliveira, 20
Images - Courtesy Andrean Youth Movement - St Andrew's Church, Bandra