Blessed Carlo Acutis: An Example for All

By Ambassador Callista L. Gingrich

On May 23, Pope Francis formally recognized the second miracle attributed to Blessed Carlo Acutis, clearing the way for him to become the first millennial saint. The Holy Father will convene an Ordinary Public Consistory on July 1 to give formal approval to proceed with the canonization of 15 Blesseds, including Blessed Carlo Acutis.

As Pope Francis said of Blessed Carlo Acutis, “His witness shows today’s young people that true happiness is found by putting God first and serving Him in our brothers, especially the least.”

Born in 1991 in London, Carlo Acutis lived a life of faith, service, and virtue. When he was an infant, he moved with his family to Milan and developed a deep love for the Eucharist after receiving his first Communion at age 7. He said that the Eucharist was his “highway to Heaven” and frequently attended daily Mass at the church near his elementary school.

He said, “People who place themselves before the sun get a tan; people who place themselves before the Eucharist become saints.”

Carlo’s witness to Jesus Christ’s true presence in the Eucharist inspired and deepened the faith of his classmates, family, and friends. Many testified that Carlo helped deepen their relationship with God. Carlo’s parents were moved by his example to return to their Catholic faith, and he inspired his Hindu au pair to convert to Catholicism.

As Carlo’s spiritual director recalled, he was particularly drawn to the scientific evidence supporting Eucharistic miracles and how the evidence can be used to persuade people of Jesus’ true presence in the Eucharist and draw them to Mass.

As a tech-savvy high school student who was skilled with computers, Carlo used his God-given gifts to spread the Gospel online, creating an online database detailing Eucharistic miracles from around the world. His work has gone on to become the International Exhibition of Eucharistic Miracles and has been shown on five continents and displayed in thousands of parishes.

Carlo had a special devotion to Our Lady and prayed the rosary every day. He also dedicated his life to serving others, namely by volunteering at a church-run soup kitchen, helping the less fortunate in his neighborhood, and assisting children with their homework.

Tragically, when he was just 15 years old, Carlo was diagnosed with leukemia and passed away on Oct. 12, 2006. He offered up his suffering to God for the pope and the Church and said, “I’m happy to die because I’ve lived my life without wasting even a minute of it doing things that wouldn’t have pleased God.”

Though Carlo’s life was short, the example of his faith touched many lives and continues to inspire others. After his death, his mother recalled that many people had prayed to her son for his intercession and experienced healing.

The cause for Carlo’s Beatification and Canonization, the first step toward becoming a saint, was officially opened on Oct. 12, 2012. As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote, “All Christians are called to be saints. Saints are persons in heaven (officially canonized or not), who lived heroically virtuous lives, offered their life for others, or were martyred for the faith, and who are worthy of imitation.”

In most cases, the process of being formally recognized as a Saint in the Catholic Church requires a series of steps. After the cause for sainthood is opened and evidence is gathered and scrutinized on the candidate’s life, a candidate is recognized as “Venerable” by the pope (a title given to an individual who had lived a “heroically virtuous life or offered their life”). Next, a miracle must be attributed to the candidate’s intercession for them to become “Blessed,” and finally, a second miracle to be canonized as a “Saint.”

In February 2020, the first miracle was recognized by Pope Francis and Carlo was beatified in October that year. A nearly 4-year-old boy in Brazil, who was born with a serious pancreatic birth defect, was prohibited from eating normally. He weighed only 20 pounds and was not expected to live a long life. Immediately after praying to Acutis for his intercession during a prayer service, the boy returned home fully cured, and was able to eat normally.

The second miracle, approved on May 23, 2024, involved the healing of a 21-year-old woman from Costa Rica. The woman suffered severe head trauma from a bicycle accident, underwent an emergency craniotomy, and was expected to die at any moment. Shortly after the accident, her mother made a pilgrimage to Blessed Acutis’s tomb for her daughter’s healing. That same day, the woman started breathing on her own, and, contrary to medical predictions, experienced a complete healing shortly after.

As the young Blessed Carlo Acutis said, “Not me but God.” His life here on Earth and his life after his mortal death both point to God – and His infinite love, mercy, and compassion toward each one of us.

As Blessed Carlo Acutis is about to become the first millennial saint, let us look to him as an example of how to live a life of faith, compassion, and holiness in the modern world.

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