Who is Carlo Acutis? 10 things you should know about him

Carlo Acutis Blessed Carlo Acutis/ Diocese of Assisi

Carlo Acutis, a Catholic Italian teenager who died in 2006, was beatified Oct. 10, 2020 in Assisi.

Acutis, a gamer and computer programmer who loved soccer and the Eucharist, gained interest around the world.

So who was Carlo Acutis? Here’s what you need to know:

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

  2. As a teenager, Carlo was diagnosed with leukemia. 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.”

  3. 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 designated “Venerable” in 2018, and was designated “Blessed” October 10, 2020. 

  4. From a young age, Carlo seemed to have a special love for God, even though his parents weren’t especially devout. 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 or 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.

  5. His 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.”

  6. He was known for defending kids at school who got picked on, especially disabled kids. When a friend's parents were getting a divorce, Carlo made a special effort to include his friend in the Acutis family life.

  7. He was also a programmer, and built a website cataloguing 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."

  8. Carlo loved playing video games. His console of choice was a Playstation, or possibly a PS2, which was released in 2000, when Carlo was nine. We know 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.

  9. Initially, there were reports that the body of Carlo Acutis was found to be incorrupt. A spokeswoman for Acutis’ beatification told CNA that the entire body was present when it was exhumed, but “not incorrupt.” He, however, lied in repose in a glass tomb where he was venerated by pilgrims until Oct. 17, 2020. He was displayed in jeans and a pair of Nikes, the casual clothes he preferred in life.

  10. His heart, which can now be considered a relic, is displayed in a reliquary in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. His mother said that his family had wanted to donate his organs when he died, but were unable to do so because of the leukemia.

Originally published Oct. 20, 2020.

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