Fr. Ed Dougherty, M.M.
In early June it was announced that Carlo Acutis would be beatified on October 10th in Assisi, Italy. Reporting on the announcement, Catholic News Agency quoted Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi as saying, “The joy we have long awaited finally has a date.”
Carlo Acutis grew up in Italy with a strong faith in God. He looked to the saints as models for his life and had a devotion to St. Francis of Assisi. He was a tech whiz and studied advanced level computer programming at an early age. He put those skills to use by building a website highlighting stories of Eucharistic miracles from around the world.
Carlo attended daily Mass and helped lead his parents to a stronger practice of the faith. In an EWTN report, Nicola Gori, postulator of Acutis’ cause, said, “He managed to drag his relatives, his parents to Mass every day. It was not the other way around; it was not his parents bringing the little boy to Mass, but it was he who managed to get himself to Mass and to convince others to receive Communion daily.”
Carlo contracted leukemia in his youth and offered his suffering up for Pope Benedict XVI and the Church. He died in 2006 at the age of 15. Though he was not from Assisi, it was one of his favorite pilgrimage sites, and he was buried there according to his wishes.
Carlo left a profound mark on the world around him, and after his death many people began to invoke his intercession. The miracle approved by Pope Francis enabling Carlo’s cause to proceed to beatification involved the healing of a Brazilian boy afflicted with a rare disease of the pancreas. Crux magazine reports that the child’s family began to pray for Carlo’s intercession. They started a novena with a priest devoted to Carlo’s cause, and on the third day the child showed signs of recovery, regaining his appetite after days of not being able to eat. It was later discovered by doctors that the boy was completely healed.
Pope Francis has held up the life of Carlo Acutis as a model for young people, writing in his Christ is Alive exhortation, “It is true that the digital world can expose you to the risk of self-absorption, isolation and empty pleasure. But don’t forget that there are young people even there who show creativity and even genius. That was the case with the Venerable Carlo Acutis.”
Archbishop Sorrentino connected Carlo’s utilization of technology to encourage Eucharistic devotion to the current world crisis, saying, “The news [of his beatification] constitutes a ray of light in this period in which our country is struggling with a difficult health, social and work situation…In these recent months of solitude and distancing, we have been experiencing the most positive aspect of the internet – a communication technology for which Carlo had a special talent. The love of God can turn a great crisis into a great grace.”
So let us pray for the intercession of Venerable, soon to be Blessed, Carlo Acutis, that this period of time, when people have had to turn to technology to remain connected, will be marked by positive interactions that help us to build lasting relationships based on a desire to work together for the good of all. And in all our technological activities and interactions, let us open ourselves to the workings of the Holy Spirit to be vehicles for the message of Christ to transform the world.
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