This past October I became familiar with a young man whom I never had the privilege to meet in life but who has affected me profoundly, and I’d like to share my experience with you. His name is Carlo Acutis. He was born on May 3rd, 1991 in London of Italian parents. When he was three years old, his parents moved back to their native Milan. From a very young age he showed a remarkable sense of dedication to Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Whenever they would pass a church, he would ask them if he could go in and see Jesus. He would often stay there in prayer for quite a bit of time. This was amazing to his parents, especially because they were not practicing their Catholic faith at the time. His mother says he embarrassed her into having to take classes in the faith so she could keep up with him. His love for the Eucharist was contagious, and his devotion brought many of his friends and acquaintances closer to the Lord. He used to refer to the Eucharist as “my highway to heaven.” In addition to being fun-loving and much-loved by his friends, he also had a natural ability with computers. He taught himself computer programming, and used his skills to create a website that documented eucharistic miracles and apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It can be found at this website: http://www.carloacutis.com. Carlo prayed his rosary daily and was often involved with charitable activities, especially feeding the poor. He was known for very pithy statements that inspired people, such as, “Outside God is noise, turmoil, quarrel, war. With God everything is order, everything is in order”, “To remain always close to Jesus: that is my life’s plan” and one of my favorites: “All people are born as originals but many die as photocopies.” Sadly, in September of 2006, Carlo was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia that spreads rapidly. He offered his sufferings for the Pope (Pope Benedict XVI) and the Church. In the hospital he told his mother: “Do not be afraid because with the Incarnation of Jesus, death becomes life, and there’s no need to escape: in eternal life, something extraordinary awaits us.” He also said to his doctor, “I am happy to die because I lived my life without wasting even a minute of it on anything unpleasing to God.” (I wish I could say that!) Within two weeks of his diagnosis, he died on October 12th at only fifteen years of age. Right away, however, people were aware that someone special had been among them, especially when we observe what they did following his death. Whenever a young person dies, people often want to create some kind of memorial, a scholarship, something like that to remember him. They don’t, however, immediately begin pushing his cause for canonization. But that is what people did when Carlo died. His cause advanced rapidly, and thanks to the confirmation of a miraculous cure of a young boy in Brazil who was suffering from a pancreatic disorder after his parents prayed a novena to Carlo Acutis, he was beatified on October 10th 2020 in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, a town he especially loved.
Carlo’s mother, Antonia, is said to attribute to his intercession the fact that, at the age of 44, she gave birth to twins, born exactly four years to the day after his death. Following the Catholic Church’s recognition of the miracle in 2020, attributed to Carlo, Antonia told the press that her son had appeared to her in dreams saying that he will not only be beatified but also canonized a saint in the future.
Blessed Carlo Acutis is the first millennial to be beatified, and hopefully will soon be a fully canonized saint. I find him a wonderful example for our young people today. Considered a “computer geek” by many – even expert computer programmers were amazed at his natural ability to understand complex concepts in computer design and workings – he was popular with his friends, a joyful person to be around, and an obvious inspiration to many people during his short life, and even more so in death, as he has affected a multitude of people, including myself. He is precisely what I believe the Church needs now, a joy-filled, fun-loving, intelligent saint with the purest of hearts. I encourage you to get to know Blessed Carlo Acutis, especially to develop the love for Jesus in the Eucharist that was the driving force of his brief but amazing life. Blessed Carlo Acutis, pray for us!