Carlo Acutis, a London-born Italian teenager who used his computer skills to foster devotion to the Eucharist and will be beatified in October, offers a model of sanctity for Christians in a new era of lockdowns, a British Catholic who lived with his family said.
“What’s struck me most is the exceptional simplicity of his formula for becoming a saint: attending Mass and reciting the Rosary daily, confessing weekly and praying before the Blessed Sacrament,” said Anna Johnstone, a professional singer and longtime friend of the teen’s family.
“At a time when new lockdowns could separate us from the sacraments, he’d encourage people to see the Rosary as their domestic Church and find shelter in the heart of the Virgin Mary,” Johnstone told Catholic News Service.
Acutis, who died of leukaemia in 2006 at the age of 15, will be beatified on 10th October in the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi in Assisi, Italy. The ceremony had been postponed from spring 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic to allow more young people to attend.
The teenager developed a database and website that chronicle worldwide eucharistic miracles.
Johnstone said Acutis was convinced “good could be achieved through the internet”. She said Catholics worldwide had found the information he disseminated “massively affirming” during global coronavirus pandemic.
“He would urge young people today to avoid bad aspects of social media and fake news, and to go to confession if they fell prey to it,” said Johnstone, a Cambridge University theology graduate who also acted as governess to Acutis’ twin siblings, born four years to the day after his death.
“But he would also show how the power of the lay life rests in simple, regular devotions. If we’re forced to stay home, with churches closed, we can still find spiritual harbour in Our Lady,” she said.
Born in London on 3rd May 1991, where his Italian mother and half-English father were studying and working, Acutis received his first Holy Communion at the age of seven, after the family moved to Milan.
He died on 12th October 2006, a year after using self-taught skills to create a website, www.miracolieucaristici.org, which lists more than 100 eucharistic miracles in 17 languages.
His beatification was approved by Pope Francis on 21st February after recognition of a miracle due to his intercession involving the 2013 cure of a Brazilian boy.
Picture: Carlo Acutis, an Italian teenager who used his computer programming skills to spread devotion to the Eucharist, will be beatified on 10th October 2020, the Diocese of Assisi announced. Acutis is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/courtesy Sainthood Cause of Carlo Acutis).