In a Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Acutis became the first millennial to be beatified by the Catholic Church.
Growing up in Milan in the 1990s and early 2000s, he played video games and taught himself C++ and other computer programming languages. However, many have testified that the center of the teen’s life was his strong devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
From a young age, Acutis expressed a special love for God, even though his parents weren’t especially devout. As he grew older, he started attending daily Mass, often making Holy Hours before or after Mass, and went to confession weekly.
He built websites to inform others about Eucharistic miracles and Marian apparitions around the world. On his site, he told people, “the more often we receive the Eucharist, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven.”
Acutis died of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 15. He offered his sufferings for Pope Benedict XVI and for the Church, saying, “I offer all the suffering I will have to suffer for the Lord, for the pope, and the Church.”
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The Diocese of Assisi is celebrating Acutis’ beatification with more than two weeks of liturgies and events Oct. 1-19 that the bishop hopes will be an evangelizing force for young people.
Antonia Salzano, the mother of Carlo Acutis, previously told CNA in an interview in 2019 that one of her son’s wishes was to see more young people recognize Christ’s presence in the Eucharist.
“He used to say, ‘When you go to a rock concert, you see thousands of people, or a football match, so when there is the latest phone that is released there are queues in front of the shops, but I do not see this queue of people in front of the Tabernacle.’ So he realized that people don’t understand the importance of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.”
Courtney Mares is a Rome Correspondent for Catholic News Agency. A graduate of Harvard University, she has reported from news bureaus on three continents and was awarded the Gardner Fellowship for her work with North Korean refugees.