The Vatican has announced that it will move forward with the process of naming a deceased Italian teen the patron saint of the internet. Carlo Acutis devoted his life to using the internet to spread his Catholic faith before he passed away in 2006 at the age of 15. Since then, many have pushed for the boy’s sainthood, with Pope Francis even attributing a miracle to the late teen.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Acutis became deeply devoted to his faith during his childhood in Milan. The teen would reportedly donate his pocket money to poor residents of the city, while also supporting bullied classmates.
In addition to being a devout Catholic, Acutis was a “computer genius,” according to his mother, Antonia Salzano.
“[T]his probably makes him very close to the young people of nowadays,” Salzano reportedly told The Times. “He was living the same lives as them, he liked to play video games, use the internet, liked football.”
It was only natural, then, that Acutis would combine his computer expertise with his religious devotion. He reportedly used his coding skills to create websites for priests, and at age 10 created a website cataloging religious miracles.
Sadly, Acutis died in 2006 from leukemia. Cardinal Angelo Becciu, head of the Vatican’s saint-making department, relayed some of his last words to The New York Times.
“I want to offer all my suffering for the Lord, for the pope and for the church,” the teen reportedly said. “I don’t want to do purgatory; I want to go straight to heaven.”
Since his untimely passing, Acutis has been renowned by Catholics worldwide for his tireless religious devotion. In 2019, Pope Francis himself praised the boy for using the web to “communicate values and beauty.”
A Teenage Miracle Worker?
In order to consider a candidate for sainthood, the church must attribute a miracle to them — something the pope did for Acutis earlier this year.
The miracle reportedly involved the rapid, unexplained recovery of an ailing Brazilian 6-year-old in 2013. The boy reportedly suffered from a congenital pancreas deformation and was near death when a priest prayed to Acutis on his behalf.
“The boy was vomiting and risked dying,” said Salzano. “Then, on the third day of prayers, he started eating.”
Salzano also said that it wasn’t the only miracle involving her son. “We get news of miracles attributed to Carlo all the time,” she said. “One woman was cured of her cancer after attending the funeral, and I heard of two more a few days ago.”
In February, Pope Francis officially recognized the 2013 miracle, placing Acutis on the track to sainthood. The Vatican has set the first step, his beatification, to take place on October 10 of this year. If the church can attribute a second miracle to him after his beatification, he can then be made a saint at the pope’s discretion.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Salzano is proud of her late son’s legacy and impact.
“Losing your son is the most terrible thing, but we are happy he is helping people discover their faith,” she said, adding that if the church grants her son the responsibilities of sainthood, he will be ready to take up the task.
“He will have to see all the ugly things on the internet,” she said. “It will be a tough job, but a great way to spread faith. I hope he can bring out the beautiful side of the net and fight the dark side.”