Carlo Acutis, a gamer and computer programmer who enjoyed soccer and the Eucharist, has been the subject of worldwide interest. A typical London-born Italian teen who was into video games, Carlo Acutis, is trending right now on the Internet. He was considered a computer genius to some people but friends think about him as the most approachable, most helpful, and most faithful to his Catholic faith.
Carlo Acutis: The first of the Millennial generation to be declared ‘Blessed’
As a teenager, Carlo died at a tender age of 15, on October 12, 2006. On October 10, this year, Acutis was beatified or declared “blessed”. Here’s what you need to know:
Carlo Acutis was born on May 3, 1991, in London, where his parents worked. A few months later, his parents, Andrea Acutis and Antonia Salzano moved to Milan. He was diagnosed with leukemia as a teenager. He gave his sufferings to Pope Benedict XVI and the Church, saying, “I give all the pain that I will suffer for the Lord, for the Pope, and for the Church.”
He was buried in Assisi, Italy, at his request, because of his love for St. Francis of Assisi. His cause for canonization started in 2013. He was named “Venerable” in 2018 and was named “Blessed” on October 10.
From a young age, Carlo seemed to have a special affection for God, even though his parents were not extremely religious. His mother said that before Carlo, she was able to go to Mass only for her First Communion, her baptism, and her wedding.
But Carlo loved to pray the Holy Rosary as a young child. Since he had made his First Communion, he went to Church as much as he could, and he made Holy Hours before or after Mass. He goes to the confession every week.
He begged his parents to take him on pilgrimages — to the places of the saints and to the places of the miracles of the Eucharist.
Devotion is the fruit of Carlos’ life. His witness of faith contributed to a profound conversion of his mother because, according to the priest supporting his cause for holiness, he “managed to bring his family, his friends, to Mass every day. It wasn’t the other way around; it wasn’t his parents who took the little boy to the Church, rather it was he who managed to get himself to Church and persuade others to receive Communion every day.”
He was known for defending children at school who had been bullied, particularly children with disabilities. When a friend’s parents got divorced, Carlo made a special effort to involve his friend in the life of the Acutis family.
And he has promoted Eucharistic miracles, particularly through a website he designed to promote them. On the website, he told people that “the more often we receive the Eucharist, the more we will become like Jesus so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven.”
When Carlo got sick, his life of faith grew. He was able to give up his pain for the Church, for the Pope, and for the poor.
Blessed Carlo Acutis is an example of a teenager who used the Internet to “influence” people to get closer to God, his mother said. Carlo has been able to use social media, particularly the internet, as an ‘influencer’ for God. He was a tech genius who taught himself how to program and set up a website cataloging the world’s Eucharistic miracles.
Growing up in the middle of Milan, Carlo had a strong appreciation of the Eucharist. He never skipped Mass and adoration every day. He also prayed the rosary several times and went to confession every week.
From the age of 11, he began teaching catechism to children in his church, and he was still helping the needy and homeless in his community.
Like many teens, Carlo liked to play video games. His mom said he could teach young people today about how to properly enjoy them and other technology, without falling prey to the pitfalls of the internet and social media use.
He understood that they were potentially very harmful, very dangerous, he wanted to be the master of these means, not a slave. He practiced the virtue of temperance, so he “imposed on himself a maximum of one hour per week to use these means of communication.”
For Carlo, the first point is, of course, to teach young people to be temperate, that is, to recognize the need to preserve proper autonomy and the need to still be able to say ‘no, enough,’ not to become slaves.
According to his parents, he was going to have to say it was about balance. If someone spends his or her life just after the influencers, they could just learn what to wear, and “they are totally forgetting about God.”
Social media today has become a “measure” by which people assess their happiness. “‘We’re happy if there’s a ‘like,’ if there’s no ‘like’ you’re sad,’” Carlo would have said, according to his parent. “‘Not me, but God.’”
The lessons he can teach everyone, especially the younger generation, is to show love to one’s own neighborhood. Instead of buying games, Carlo used his little bit of money to buy stuff for the homeless in his town, including a sleeping bag. He didn’t want money being spent on unnecessary items, and he didn’t have to worry about fashion or clothing labels.
“Carlo, let’s buy an extra pair of shoes,” said his mother in an interview. Carlo would get frustrated and say, “‘Mom, one is enough. Let’s help the poor.’”
He was a very simple guy. For him, a pair of pants was as good as another, and a pair of shoes was as good as another, said his mother.
When he was three or four years old, he showed great interest in Christ and the Holy Mother. When they used to walk outside, he still wanted to enter the church, “say hello to Jesus, and send kisses to the cross.”
Beatification, in the Catholic Church, acknowledges that the deceased has led a holy life. In cases of martyrs, it is a declaration that the faithful died for the sake of the faith. Those that are beatified are called “blessed” or “beatus” and are now subject to veneration, but not in the universal Church.
Pope Francis approved the beatification last February, attributing a miracle to the intercession of Venerable (Servant of God) Carlo Acutis after the healing of a young Brazilian boy afflicted with a rare congenital disease of the pancreas.
After that, canonization begins, which usually involves two miracles attributed to the blessed. After a lengthy investigation and research, the Pope proclaimed in the end that the man was indeed a saint.
For someone so young, Blessed Carlo Acutis was wise beyond his years. He knew that nothing in this life is permanent, so he strove to live his earthly life in a way that would make God happy.
“To be always united with Jesus, this is my plan of life,” Carlo said. “I am happy to die because I lived my life without wasting even a minute of it on anything unpleasing to God.”
His feast day will be celebrated every 12th of October. He is the first “Millennial Blessed” and now Patron of the Internet.
Learn more about the Servant of God, Blessed Carlos Acutis, who is on his way to become a Catholic saint.