Carlo Acutis Born 1991

A CNN Report



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A video-gaming Italian teenager will become the Catholic Church’s first millennial saint after his cause for canonization was approved by church authorities.

Carlo Acutis, who died from leukemia in 2006 at the age of 15, was renowned for using his computing skills to spread awareness of the Catholic faith and earned the nickname “God’s influencer.”

Being recognized as a saint in the Catholic Church can take decades, but the cause of Acutis has moved swiftly, with the teenager developing a devoted following across the world.

Often depicted wearing jeans and trainers, his story is seen as helpful for the Catholic Church as it seeks to better connect with the younger generation in a digital age, and he’s become popular with Catholic youth groups.

The church’s sainthood process normally requires that candidates have two miracles attributed to them, with each alleged supernatural occurrence requiring in-depth examination. In May, a second miracle attributed to Acutis was recognized by Pope Francis, a decision which paved the way for him to be declared a saint.

That left one final step, completed Monday, when the Vatican announced the pope had decreed the canonization would go ahead after cardinals convened by the pope voted in favor of Acutis’ sainthood, along with 14 others. The date for his canonization is yet to be set, however, although it is likely to occur at some point during the Catholic Church’s jubilee year celebrations in 2025.

That canonization ceremony, expected to take place in St Peter’s Square in Vatican City in front of tens of thousands and presided over by the pope, will be the moment where Acutis is formally declared a saint, meaning the Catholic Church across the world can name parishes and schools after the teenager and will remember him annually on a “feast day.”

Acutis, who was a fan of video games, computing and soccer, is associated with the healing of two children after he was prayed to. 

Acutis, who was born in London, United Kingdom, in 1991 –  putting him squarely in the millennial generation cohort – is remembered by friends and family as enjoying playing video games such as Halo, Super Mario and Pokémon.

During his short life, he also set up a website documenting reports of miracles taking place in different parts of the world. Along with his computing and gaming, Acutis played the saxophone, enjoyed soccer, loved animals and would make short, humorous films of his dogs.

His mother, Antonia Salzano, described her son as a “sign of hope” who shows that holiness is possible today.

“As I did, you too can become holy,” she told CNN in May. “Nevertheless, (with) all the media, the technologies, it seems sometimes that holiness is something that belongs to the past. Instead, holiness is also something nowadays in this modern time.”

She said that her son was bought a PlayStation when he was eight, but limited himself to one hour a week of gaming as he was wary that it could become addictive and knew the “dangers of the internet.”

Salzano added that from the age of nine, the youngster spent time helping the homeless in Milan and giving his pocket money to those sleeping on the streets. She explained that he insisted on only having one pair of shoes, so he could save money to help the poor.

Acutis was beatified and declared “blessed” in 2020 after his first miracle, when he reportedly healed a Brazilian boy who had a birth defect in his pancreas that left him unable to eat food normally. He was reportedly healed after his mother said she prayed to Acutis to intercede and help heal her son.

The second miracle attributed to Acutis relates to the reported healing of a girl from Costa Rica who had suffered a head trauma after falling from her bicycle in Florence, Italy, where she was studying. Her mother said she prayed for her daughter’s recovery at the tomb of Acutis in Assisi.



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