A statue of Blessed Carlo Acutis by Filipino sculptor Felman Bagalso. (Photo supplied)
Business is picking up for a Filipino sculptor following the recent beatification of an Italian teenager.
Orders for statues of Blessed Carlo Acutis from church authorities and churchgoers around the world have come flooding in, Felman Bagalso, a sculptor from Laguna province, south of Manila, told UCA News.
Acutis, already known as the “millennial saint,” was beatified in Assisi, Italy, on Oct. 10 for offering his life for the love of the Eucharist and the pope. The London-born youth died aged 15 of leukemia in 2006.
“I have received many orders from as far as the United States, Rome and even Latin American countries like Peru,” Bagalso said.
“They had learned from Filipino communities abroad that there was someone making a statue of Blessed Acutis.”
The sculptor said he planned to donate some statues to his own parish and to friends.
“Many of my friends are still single and can identify with Blessed Acutis, particularly his interest in the internet,” Bagalso said.
The Filipino sculptor began making statues of the youth before his beatification.
“He found himself having a personal connection with him,” Bagalso’s wife Nenett told UCA News.
She said her husband was personally touched by Blessed Carlo Acutis’ love for the Eucharist.
“Felman always believes in the power of the Eucharist as God’s miracle on Earth. The Mass is the manifestation of God’s presence on Earth. Carlo Acutis had shown ultimate love for the Eucharist in this modern age,” she added.
She also said she saw her husband’s devotion to the soon-to-be saint as early as February when he read about Acutis’ life online.
“There is a priest who first asked for two wooden statues in February. He said to him [Felman] he wanted to dress the images with modern kids’ clothes,” she said.
Church people have praised Bagalso’s efforts, saying they help spread devotion to Acutis in churches around the world.
“It is good to know that a Filipino sculptor is one among many who is spreading the faith and devotion to Blessed Acutis through his statues,” said Legaspi auxiliary Bishop Lucilo B. Quaimbao.
The bishop said devotion to Blessed Acutis would “spread like fire” among Filipinos because the Philippines has a very young population.
“We have so many young people in the Philippines. I am sure the young will surely connect with the life of Blessed Acutis. May they be challenged to be holy in this computer age,” he said.
There are about 19.8 million Filipinos aged between 15 and 24, according to government figures.