Pope Francis has formally recognised a miracle attributed to the intercession of Carlo Acutis, a 15-year-old London-born Italian teenager who the pope has said is a role model for young men and women today.
In a meeting on 22nd February with Cardinal Giovanni Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes, the pope advanced the sainthood causes of Acutis, as well as one woman and seven men, including Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two companions who were murdered in El Salvador in 1977.
The Vatican announced on 23rd February that the pope had signed the decrees.
Antonia Salzano, Acutis’ mother, told Catholic News Service that the news of the pope’s approval made her “really, really happy”.
“Pope Francis has always been close to Carlo; he quoted him in Christus Vivit, and this was a great privilege in that he cited him as an example for young people in the whole world,” Salzano said.
In Christus Vivit (Christ Lives), Pope Francis’ exhortation on young people, he said the teen was a role model for young people today who are often tempted by the traps of ‘self-absorption, isolation and empty pleasure’.
Before his death from leukemia in 2006, Acutis was an average teen with an above-average knack for computers. He put that knowledge to use by creating an online database of Eucharistic miracles around the world.
Salzano told CNS that her son’s work, which included a travelling exhibition of eucharistic miracles, has been displayed “on every continent” and was the inspiration behind the documentary, Segni (Signs) which was produced by the Vatican Dicastery for Communication in October 2018.
His devotion to spreading the word about Eucharistic miracles around the world, as well as his upcoming beatification “is an occasion to make Carlo’s spirituality known to those who don’t know him,” Salzano said.
“Carlo did it with great love because he wanted everyone to love the Blessed Sacrament and place it first, something that he would do by going to Mass every day as well as participating in the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament,” she said.
The miracle approved by the pope involved the healing of a young Brazilian boy afflicted with a rare congenital disease of the pancreas, Salzano told CNS.
For three days, the child’s family prayed a novena “with a priest who was devoted to Carlo. On the third day, the child said he wanted to eat” after days of not being able to eat solid foods, she said. The doctors later discovered that he was completely healed.
While the Vatican has not announced the date of his beatification, Salzano said a request was made for it to be held on 1st May in Assisi.
Picture: Carlo Acutis, who was born in 1991 in London and died in 2006 in Monza, Italy, is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/courtesy Sainthood Cause of Carlo Acutis).