On October 10th the Church will give witness to the life of faith of a 15 year boy from Milan who is on the path to sainthood. Venerable Carlo Acutis, an Italian teenager was born in London on 3 May 1991, and having returned to Italy with his parents, died in 2006 at the age of 15 having suffered from leukaemia. Carlo was exceptionally gifted with computers and was a gamer who loved football and casual clothes. He also had a profound love of Jesus in the Eucharist and the Church.
“Jesus was the centre of his day”
“He had Jesus in his heart … when you are pure of heart, you really touch other peoples’ hearts”
Antonia Acutis, Blessed Carlo’s Mother
From a young age Carlo seemed to have a love for God, even though his family were not especially devout. His mother, Antonia, is recorded as saying that before Carlo she only went to church on the major milestones (of life) i.e. First Communion, Confirmation and her Marriage. As Carlo grew, he fell in love with the Rosary and after making First Holy Communion would make the effort to come to Mass frequently. When he was diagnosed with leukemia he said:
“I offer all the suffering I will have to suffer for the Lord, for the Pope, and the Church.”
His witness to the faith led to a deep conversion within Antonia, often dragging his mother to Mass every day. Carlo also had a deep love for his neighbour. He was known in school for defending children who were being picked on by bullies, especially those who had some form of disability.
And he was a computer lover?
YES – like most 21st century teenagers Carlo had a keen interest in technology, especially his computer and his Playstation! Except, he wouldn’t let the technology dominate his life. As a penance and a discipline Carlo would strictly limit himself on his gaming time, even though he would love to spend hours in front of the screen. He also used his computer programming skills to build a website of the Eucharistic Miracles around the world, drawing people to the reality of Christ truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.
Writing in ‘Christus Vivit’, the synod document on young people, Pope Francis proposed him as a model and an example for young people in a digital age. Upon his death Carlo was buried, at his request, in Assisi – the home of St. Francis of Assisi to whom he had great devotion. The Archbishop of Assisi has said
“in these recent months of solitude and distancing, we have been experiencing the most positive aspect of the internet – a communication technology for which Carlo had a special talent”
Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi
October 10th save the date
On October 10th the Venerable Carlo Acutis will be declared ‘Blessed Carlo Acutis’. As is the custom before such events, Carlo’s body was exhumed and inspected. The tomb was opened on October 1st and 14 years after his death he is in near perfect condition. His body is now on display in a glass tomb … possibly the first Blessed to be seen in trainers, jeans and a tracksuit top!
Find out more
Materials relating to the life and death of Carlo Acutis may be found on: https://www.carloacutis.com/en/association
It is the hope of Archbishop George that they should find an honoured place in our Catholic schools.