CNA Staff, Oct 12, 2023 / 04:10 am
Carlo Acutis, a Catholic Italian teenager who died in 2006, was beatified Oct. 10, 2020, in Assisi, Italy. A gamer and computer programmer who loved soccer and the Eucharist, he has become well known throughout the world.
So who is Blessed Carlo? Here’s what you need to know:
Carlo Acutis was born May 3, 1991, in London, where his parents were 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. He offered his sufferings for Pope Benedict XVI and for the Church, saying: “I offer all the suffering I will have to suffer for the Lord, for the pope, and the Church.”
He died on Oct. 12, 2006, and was buried in Assisi, at his request, because of his love for St. Francis of Assisi. His cause for canonization began in 2013. He was declared “Venerable” in 2018 and was declared “Blessed” on Oct. 10, 2020.
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 he could, and he made Holy Hours before and after Mass. He went to confession weekly. He asked his parents to take him on pilgrimages — to the places of the saints and to the sites of Eucharistic miracles.
Salzano spoke to EWTN News Nightly on Oct. 2, 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 led to a deep conversion in his mom, because, according to the priest 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.”
He was known for defending 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.
He was also a programmer and built a website cataloging and promoting Eucharistic miracles. On the site, he told people that “the more often we receive the Eucharist, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven.”
Carlo loved playing video games. His console of choice was a PlayStation, or possibly a PS2, which was released in 2000, when Carlo was 9. He only allowed himself to play games for an hour a week, as a penance and a spiritual discipline, but he wanted to play much more.
Initially, there were reports that Carlo’s body was found to be incorrupt. A spokeswoman for his beatification told CNA that the entire body was present when it was exhumed but “not incorrupt.” His body, however, lies in repose in a glass tomb where he was venerated by pilgrims until Oct. 17, 2020. He is displayed in jeans and a pair of Nikes, the casual clothes he preferred in life.
His heart, which is now considered a relic, is displayed in a reliquary in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. St. Dominic Parish in Brick, New Jersey, also received a first-class relic from Carlo’s mom on Oct. 1, 2023. After the celebration of Mass, Salzano took the relic of her son from the hands of Bishop David O’Connell of the Diocese of Trenton, and together they processed to the narthex, where a new shrine to Acutis was blessed. In her remarks to the faithful gathered for the celebration, Salzano declared: “Sainthood is for everyone. Carlo became a saint by practicing the seven theological and cardinal virtues.” She emphasized: “This is what makes us all saints.”
This article was originally published Oct. 20, 2020, and was updated Oct. 11, 2023.