‘God’s influencer’: Pope recognises Carlo Acutis as first millennial saint

Acutis was attributed with a second miracle. He can now be elevated to sainthood, but the Vatican did not say when it will happen.

An image of 15-year-old Carlo Acutis, an Italian boy who died in 2006 of leukemia
An image of 15-year-old Carlo Acutis at his beatification ceremony [File: Gregorio Borgia/AP]

Pope Francis has attributed a second miracle to an Italian teenager who in his short life used his computer skills to spread the Catholic faith, clearing the way for him to become the first saint of the millennial generation.

Carlo Acutis, who died of leukaemia in 2006 aged 15, was informally known as “God’s influencer”. Born in London, he grew up in Milan where he took care of his parish website and later of a Vatican-based academy.

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Francis took the decision during a meeting with the head of the Vatican’s saint-making department, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, a statement said on Thursday. Acutis was beatified in 2020 after one miracle was attributed to him.

The attribution of a second miracle means he can now be elevated to sainthood, but the Vatican did not say when this would happen.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that only God performs miracles, but that saints who are believed to be with God in heaven intercede on behalf of people who pray to them. A miracle is usually the medically inexplicable healing of a person.

Due to his “important role in evangelisation through the internet”, Acutis was named as a patron of last year’s World Youth Day in Lisbon, organisers of the event said.

Strong religious devotion

Acutis was born in London on May 3, 1991, to Italian parents and moved to Milan as a child.

Early on, he showed a strong religious devotion that surprised his non-practising parents. His mother told the Corriere della Sera newspaper that from age three he would ask to visit churches they passed in Milan, and by age seven had asked to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, winning an exception to the customary age requirement.

’’There was in him a natural predisposition for the sacred,” his mother said.

His curiosity prompted her to study theology in order to answer his questions, renewing her own faith.

Acutis was buried in Assisi at his own request, having become an admirer of St Francis of Assisi for his dedication to the poor, he currently rests on full display in the company of other relics linked to him.

Source: News Agencies