As a testament that ancient institutions are bending to the whims of the modern world, we could very well have a “Patron Saint of the Internet” soon.
That’s because last Saturday, Pope Francis oversaw the beatification of one Carlo Acutis, a 15-year old Italian teenager who passed in 2006, making him the youngest contemporary person to be beatified. This means that the millennial is now one step away from becoming a full-fledged saint.
Here’s a full coverage of his beatification ceremony:
The following Sunday, the Pope requested a round of applause for the newly beatified millennial, praising the boy’s devotion to selflessness: “His testimony shows today’s young people that true happiness is found by putting God first and serving people, especially among the poorest in society.”
Who is Carlo Acutis?
Born in London then later moved to Milan, Carlo Acutis showed his deep devout faith very early. At the young age of three, he would urge his mother to take him to churches and historical sites of religious relevance. As a teenager, he would utilize the Internet to read about Catholic miracles. He also taught himself to code so he could build websites for Catholic organizations as well as to “communicate values and beauty” and impart the lessons of the gospel online.
In his youth, Carlo would clown around friends and family, making them laugh regularly. He also played online games like most kids his age would, but would restrain himself to only a couple of hours every week so as to avoid giving in to the negative effects of the platform. We can only wish we could do the same today.
He died on October 12, 2006, after a long battle with leukemia. He was buried in Assisi upon his own request, as he admired Saint Francis of Assisi’s dedication to uplift the poor. Wearing his typical sweater, t-shirt, and jeans, his body now lies in a church in Assisi, open to the public until this weekend, October 17. Acutis’ heart, on the other hand, will be exhibited as a relic in the Papal Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi.
It was the Diocese of Assisi who petitioned to the Vatican to recognize Acutis as a saint. The decision to beatify him came after a miracle was attributed to the teen tech whiz: a seven-year-old boy from Brazil who suffered from pancreatic cancer suddenly recovered after coming into contact with one of Acutis’ t-shirts displayed inside the Nuestra Señora Aperecida chapel in Brazil. Now, the Internet-savvy teen is regarded as Venerable Carlo Acutis.
So what now?
For Carlo Acutis to finally become a recognized “Patron Saint of the Internet,” a second verified miracle needs to be attributed to his name, and must be recognized by the Pope. In such an event, a formal canonization ceremony would take place as per the Catholic agenda.
Should it happen, Carlo would be a part of a very select circle. According to the National Catholic Register, of the over 100,000 recognized saints of the Roman Catholic Church, only about 120 died in their youth. He would join the ranks of St. Joan of Arc who died at 19, St. Agnes of Rome who died at 18, and yes, our own Saint Pedro Calungsod who passed at the young age 17.
We can’t wait to be able to pray to the Patron Saint of the Internet to bless us in all our online exams.