Italian teenage computer whiz beatified by Catholic Church
ASSISI, Italy (AP) - A 15-year-old Italian geek, who died of leukemia in 2006, moved a step closer to a possible sanctuary on Saturday with his beatification in the city of Assisi, where he is buried.
Carlo Acutis is the youngest contemporary person to be beatified. This path was taken by two Portuguese shepherd children who lived in the early 20th century and were declared Catholic saints in 2017.
At the beatification ceremony in the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, a portrait of Acutis was slowly revealed, revealing a smiling teenager in a red polo shirt, whose curly dark hair was illuminated by a glow of light. Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the papal legate of the Assisi basilicas, kissed all of the boy's masked parents, Andrea Acutis and Antonia Salzano, after reading the proclamation decreed by Pope Francis.
Acutis has already been touted as the “patron saint of the Internet”. He created a website to catalog miracles and took care of websites for some local Catholic organizations. While still in elementary school, Acutis taught himself to code with a textbook from the University of Computer Science, and then learned how to edit videos and create animations.
"Carlo used the internet in the service of the gospel to reach as many people as possible," said the cardinal during his sermon, adding that the teen saw the internet "as a place where he could work responsibly without being enslaved to become".
Acutis was born on May 3, 1991 in London to Italian parents and moved to Milan as a child. Even as a young child, he showed a strong religious devotion that surprised his non-practicing parents. His mother told the Corriere della Sera newspaper that from the age of 3 he would ask to go to churches that they had passed in Milan and that up to the age of 7 he would ask for the sacrament of Holy Communion received, which was an exception to the usual age requirement.
"There was a natural disposition in him for the sacred," said his mother.
His curiosity led her to study theology to answer his questions and renew her own faith.
“Carlo saved me. I was illiterate by faith. I came back thanks to Father Ilio Carrai, Father Pio of Bologna, otherwise I would have felt discredited in my parental authority. It's a way that goes on. I hope that at least I end up in purgatory, ”she told the Milanese newspaper.
Acutis died of acute leukemia on October 12, 2006.
He was put on the path to holiness after Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to Acutis: the healing of a 7-year-old Brazilian boy from a rare pancreatic disease after coming into contact with an Acutis relic, a piece of one his T. shirts.
“I was sure he was a saint while he was still alive. He cured a woman of cancer and prayed to the Madonna of Pompeii, ”his mother told Corriere.
Another verified miracle is necessary for holiness, although Pope Francis has on rare occasions waived it.
Acutis was buried in Assisi at his own request after becoming an admirer of St. Francis of Assisi for his commitment to the poor. The Umbrian city was one of his favorite travel destinations. His body, dressed in a tracksuit and trainers, has been exhibited for worship in a city sanctuary, and his heart is displayed in a reliquary in St. Francis Basilica.
Acutis told his mother that after death he would give her many signs of his presence.
"Before he left, I said to him, if you find our four-legged friends in heaven, look for Billy, my childhood dog he never knew," said the mother. One day she received a call from an aunt who was unfamiliar with the mother-son pact and said, “I saw Carlo in a dream tonight. He held Billy in his arms. "
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