Carlo Acutis, who passed away in 2006, was beatified October 10, 2020 in Assisi.
Blessed Carlo Acutis is proving to the world that you don’t need to be rich, famous, crazy smart or the coolest kid in school to make an impact.
He once said, “To be always close to Jesus, that’s my life plan.” And that’s what this teenager exemplified in the short time he spent on this earth.
Carlo Acutis did little things with faithfulness, love and joy, and therefore, barely a few years after his death in 2006, he had already gained a huge following all over the world. This young computer programmer, who grew up in Milan, Italy, has been able to captivate both the young and old alike because of his simple yet deep faith, which was filled with a burning love for the Lord, especially in the Eucharist. His friends remember him saying, “Every day I live the Holy Communion as a constant dialogue with Jesus, as an authentic hope. The Eucharist is my freeway to heaven!”
Carlo Acutis is most remembered for documenting Eucharistic miracles from all over the world, dating back from medieval times right up to those that took place just a few years ago. All his work is now available on a website for others to use — a website that he himself built before he died.
However, more than what Carlo Acutis did through the use of his programming and computer skills, it is the life he led that is even more inspiring. “His immense generosity made him interested in everyone: the foreigners, the handicapped, children, beggars. To be close to Carlo was to be close to a fountain of fresh water,” his mother said some years ago.
He embraced his faith at a very young age and was known to attend Mass daily, as well as to regularly spend time in Eucharistic Adoration, pray the rosary and go to Confession. He was also continually filled with joy and was very kind and generous to those around him.
“Think of Jesus as one among you, your best friend or your brother, as well as a man who needs your help. To me being a Christian is to observe the world and bring my joy, my strength to others … If you see a friend struggling, help him or her, don’t leave them alone, don’t close your eyes,” he said.
After being diagnosed with leukemia, Carlo Acutis offered all his suffering up for the Church and for the Pope — a witness of faith that had a profound effect on his family and friends.
“I’m happy to die because I’ve lived my life without wasting even a minute of it doing things that wouldn’t have pleased God,” he said during his time of illness.
He was only 15 years old when he passed away in 2006. Like any other boy his age, he loved soccer and video games. His body is currently kept in a glass tomb for veneration, with him wearing jeans and a pair of Nike’s (which I think is incredibly cool).
At a time when the internet is often viewed negatively as being an avenue for pornography, as well as for enabling other vices like the over-use of social media or video games, Carlo Acutis was able to use the digital world for tremendous good through his website. Pope Francis held up Carlo Acutis as an example for all of us when he commended him for his creativity and genius last year.
“Carlo was well aware that the whole apparatus of communications, advertising and social networking can be used to lull us, to make us addicted to consumerism and buying the latest thing on the market, obsessed with our free time, caught up in negativity. Yet he knew how to use the new communications technology to transmit the Gospel, to communicate values and beauty,” the Holy Father said.
Pope Francis recognized the healing of a Brazilian child in 2013 from an anomaly of the pancreas as having occurred through the intercession of Carlo Acutis and approved him to be beatified. Ahead of his beatification on October 10,2020, many wondered if Carlo Acutis will eventually be named as the patron saint of video gamers or the internet, perhaps especially as an intercessor for the protection of web surfers.
About this point, his mother proudly said she believed that her son was ready for the responsibility: “He will have to see all the ugly things on the internet. It will be a tough job, but a great way to spread faith. I hope he can bring out the beautiful side of the net and fight the dark side.”
If you are a parent, teacher, or youth ministry leader, consider seeking Carlo Acutis’ intercession for the children and teens in your care. Or you can also play the short 18-minute documentary on his life for these children and teens (a novena and downloadable video with English subtitles is available at this link). You can also watch the video at the link below: