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10 things you should know about Blessed Carlo Acutis

Blessed Carlo Acutis. / Credit: Diocese of Assisi

CNA Staff, May 23, 2024 / 15:21 pm (CNA).

Pope Francis has recognized a second miracle attributed to the intercession of Carlo Acutis, an Italian teenager who died in 2006, paving the way for him to be canonized by the Catholic Church. A gamer and computer programmer who loved the Eucharist, he will be the Church’s first millennial saint.

So who is Blessed Carlo? Here’s what you need to know:

Carlo Acutis was born May 3, 1991, in London, where his father was  working. Just a few months later, he moved with his parents, Andrea Acutis and Antonia Salzano, to Milan, Italy.

Carlo was diagnosed with leukemia as a teenager. Before his death in 2006, he offered his sufferings for Pope Benedict XVI and for the Church, saying: “I offer all of my suffering to the Lord for the pope and for the Church in order not to go to purgatory but to go straight to heaven.”

From a young age, Carlo had a special love for God, even though his parents weren’t especially devout. Antonia Salzano, his mom, said that before Carlo, she went to Mass only for her first Communion, her confirmation, and her wedding. But as a young child, Carlo loved to pray the rosary. After he made his first Communion, he went to Mass as often as possible at the parish across from his elementary school. Carlo’s love for the Eucharist also inspired a deep conversion for his mother. According to the postulator promoting his cause for sainthood, he “managed to drag his relatives, his parents to Mass every day. It was not the other way around; it was not his parents bringing the little boy to Mass, but it was he who managed to get himself to Mass and to convince others to receive Communion daily.” Salzano spoke to “EWTN News Nightly” in October 2023 about her son’s devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. She said: “He used to say, ‘There are queues in front of a concert, in front of a football match, but I don’t see these queues in front of the Blessed Sacrament’ … So, for him the Eucharist was the center of his life.”

Carlo’s witness of faith as a child led adults to convert and be baptized. Rajesh Mohur, who worked for the Acutis family as an au pair when Carlo was young, converted from Hinduism to Catholicism because of Carlo’s witness. Carlo taught Mohur how to pray the rosary and told him about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Mohur said that one of the things that most impressed him as a non-Christian was the witness of Carlo’s love and concern for the poor — how he interacted with the homeless man who would sit at the entrance of the church and would bring tupperware dishes filled with food out to people living on the streets.

Carlo wasn’t afraid to defend Church teaching, even in situations when his classmates disagreed with him. Many of Carlo’s high school classmates remember Carlo giving a passionate defense for the protection of life from the moment of conception when there was a classroom discussion about abortion. 

Carlo was a faithful friend. He was known for standing up for kids at school who got bullied, especially kids with disabilities. When a friend’s parents were getting a divorce, Carlo made a special effort to include his friend in the Acutis’ family life. With his friends, he spoke about the importance of going to Mass and confession, human dignity, and chastity.

Carlo was fascinated with computer coding and taught himself some of the basic coding languages, including C and C++. He used his computer skills and internet savvy to help his family put together an exhibition on Eucharistic miracles that has gone on to be displayed at thousands of parishes on five continents. His spiritual director has attested that Carlo was personally convinced that the scientific evidence from Eucharistic miracles would help people to realize that Jesus is really present in the Eucharist and come back to Mass.

Carlo loved playing video games. His mother recalls that he liked Nintendo Game Boy and GameCube as well as PlayStation and Xbox. He had conversations with his gaming buddies about the importance of going to Mass and confession and limited his video game playing to no more than two hours per week. Carlo also liked Spider-Man and Pokémon.

Carlo died on Oct. 12, 2006, and was buried in Assisi. Initially, there were reports that Carlo’s body was found to be incorrupt, but the bishop of Assisi clarified before his beatification that his body was not incorrupt. His body lies in repose in a glass tomb in Assisi where he can be seen in jeans and a pair of Nike sneakers. Thousands came to pray at his tomb at the time of his beatification in October 2020.

Pope Francis recognized a second miracle attributed to Carlo’s intercession in a decree on May 23, 2024. The miracle involved the healing of a 21-year-old girl from Costa Rica named Valeria Valverde, who was near death after seriously injuring her head in a bicycle accident while studying in Florence in 2022. The first miracle that led to his beatification involved the healing of a 3-year-old boy in Brazil in 2013 who had been diagnosed with a malformation of his pancreas since birth.

The Vatican has yet to announce a date for Carlo Acutis’ canonization. The ceremony could take place as soon as this October or during the 2025 Jubilee Year, which includes a special jubilee for youth and a jubilee for teenagers.

This article was originally published Oct. 20, 2020, and was updated May 23, 2024.

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