A 15-year-old Italian, Carlos Acutis, has been beatified by the Catholic Church, making him the youngest person to pass the last stage towards becoming a Catholic Saint since the early 1900s. Acutis died on October 12, 2006, after battling acute leukemia. The beatification ceremony was held on October 10 in Assisi, Italy, home of Saint Francis who was Acutis’ idol.
Acutis is the youngest person to be bestowed the honor in recent years after two Portuguese shepherd children who died over 100 years ago were made Catholic Saints in 2017. At the ceremony, a picture of Acutis was shown. In the picture, he was wearing a red polo shirt and a smile, and his head of dark, curly hair was highlighted by a halo. His parents, Andrea Acutis and Antonio Salzano were present at the ceremony.
The papal legate for Basilicas in Assisi, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, kissed both of them after he read the proclamation of Acutis’ beatification as decreed by Pope Francis.
Acutis was a computer genius who learned coding from a university computer science textbook. He created a website where he talked about different miracles and designed and managed websites for some domestic Catholic organizations. As a result of the great works he did on the internet, many people called him the “patron saint of the internet.”
“Carlo used his time on the internet to further the Gospel, he was able to reach many people,” Cardinal Vallini said. “He knew the internet could be used responsibly without getting enslaved.”
Born in London on May 3, 1991, Carlos Acutis and his family moved to Milan when he was still a little child. Though his parents were not ardent believers, Acutis was a serious churchgoer. From age 3, he told his parents he wanted to visit different churches they passed by, according to his mother. By the time he was 7, he asked to be given the Holy Communion, despite the traditional age requirement.
“He was naturally drawn to the church and the service of humanity,” his mother said.
She stated that her son’s curiosity about the church made her pursue a course in theology and helped her to return to the church. She also stated that her son told her she would see signs of his presence even after death. She shared one of the signs – her aunt told her she saw Acutis in her dream holding Billy, Andrea’s old dog that she had told Acutis to search for in heaven. According to Andrea Acutis, she had told Acutis about her childhood pet but her aunt did not know of this.
Actis’s journey towards becoming a saint started after Pope Francis approved a miracle that is believed to have been performed by Acutis. A 7-year-old boy was cured of a rare pancreatic disorder after touching one of Acutis’ T-shirts that is now being used as a relic. His mother stated that he had healed a woman that had cancer before he died. He had prayed to the Madonna of Pompeii and the woman had been healed.
Acutis will become a saint if the pope approves another miracle attributed to him. Acutis requested to be buried in Assisi because of his idol, Saint Francis, who had dedicated his life to the poor. Acutis is displayed for veneration in one of the sanctuaries of Assisi, and his heart will be displayed in St. Francis Basilica.