Assisi (Italy). On 10 October 2020, in the Upper Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, during the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Pope’s delegate for the papal basilicas of Assisi, the young Carlo Acutis was proclaimed Blessed.
Carlo Acutis is a “next door Saint”, who shows young people that holiness is possible in this time. Born in 1991, he died in 2006 when he was only 15 years old due to a fulminant leukemia. Cardinal Vallini in his homily underlines: “he was a normal boy, simple, spontaneous, pleasant. He loved nature and animals, he played football, he had many friends his age”, he was extraordinary for his faith and his witness of charity towards the poor.
Two intense moments of the Celebration were the unveiling of his portrait, a young and likeable face, close to today’s teenagers, so much so that he was called a ‘millennial saint’, and the moment in which the reliquary containing the heart of Carlo is carried in procession to the altar as his parents follow. The face and the heart, symbols of the transparency of life reflected in the eyes and in a heart that loves God.
The Eucharist and Mary
Love for Jesus in the Eucharist, which he called “my highway to heaven“, and devotion to Mary, with the daily prayer of the Rosary and consecration to her, are among the characteristics highlighted. For the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians and the Salesian Family they are two pillars of Salesian Youth Spirituality, which Don Bosco indicates to young people in the ‘Good night’ of 30 May 1862, in the ‘dream of the two columns’. The Virgin and a large Host are the two ‘pillars of salvation’ to which the Pope anchors the ship of the Church. (cf. Biographical Memoirs of St. John Bosco, Vol. VII, Chap. 18)
Carlo Acutis receives his First Communion earlier than his peers and from that moment it becomes the daily appointment that makes him an authentic witness of Christ.
Good use of the internet
In the biographical profile of Carlo Acutis, a trait of the new Blessed is highlighted that makes him closer to young people: passion for the web, which he carries out with responsibility and competence, investing his skills in projects aimed at the good. “For his affability and cordial hilarity, Carlo was always the center of attention of his friends, also because he helped them in the use of the computer and its programs. There are many certificates of recognition for his computer skills and his complete willingness to make them available to his schoolmates and anyone who needed them, including family members”.
‘Good communication’ is an attention in Don Bosco’s pedagogy, who used the means of his time to spread catechesis and religious information. Carlo Acutis, who shared his messages on the Web, was proposed as the patron of the internet, that is, protector and inspirer in the good use of the web.
For Carlo, the network is sharing, as Cardinal Vallini highlighted: “a space for dialogue, knowledge, sharing, mutual respect, to be used responsibly. In this positive perspective, he encouraged the use of the mass media as a means at the service of the Gospel, to reach as many people as possible and make them know the beauty of friendship with the Lord”.
On the www.carloacutis.com, designed by him, which makes him still alive on the web, there is one exhibit of the principle Eucharistic miracles in the world, which he shared when explaining the catechism to children.
With his testimony and the phrase “Everyone is born an original, many die like photocopies” he leaves especially to young people the desire to discover their uniqueness and to use their gifts for service, as the Cardinal concludes: “He testified that the faith does not take us away from life, but immerses us more deeply in it, showing us the concrete way to live the joy of the Gospel. It is up to us to follow it, attracted by the experience of Blessed Carlo, so that our life too can shine with light and hope”.