Carlo was born May 3, 1991 and grew up in the diocese of Milan, Italy. During his childhood, he had a lot of similar interests to any modern day kid. He was exceptionally gifted with technology and was considered an amateur computer programmer. Also, he loved video games, soccer, Pokémon, Nutella, making jokes, and hanging out with friends. All these things seem like such ordinary characteristics, but that’s what is so amazing about the saints. They are regular people in ordinary circumstances who allow God’s love to make them extraordinary. The extraordinary definitely shines out of Carlo’s life!
He had a love of Jesus when he was really young, and growing up he brought Christ into everything he did. He went to daily Mass frequently, and often paused to adore Jesus after Mass. He was generous and attentive to the poor in his community, and would regularly use his savings to get them things that they needed. He had a devotion to the Rosary, and a love of the Eucharist that would define his life. Around the age of 11, he started to research different Eucharistic Miracles around the world. Towards the end of his life, he used his skills in computer programming and the research he had compiled to document these Eucharistic miracles online so more people could share in his love of God’s wonders.
God’s goodness even shined through in his death. Carlo was diagnosed with leukemia during the summer of 2006. His reaction to this news was striking:
-"I offer to the Lord the sufferings that I will have to undergo for the Pope and for the Church, so as not to have to be in Purgatory and be able to go directly to heaven."
He had a heart that was completely in love with God, and devoted himself to offering his talents, resources, and even sufferings to God. Carlo died at the age of 15 on October 12th, 2006. (We have a Blessed who wore Jeans, a hoodie, and Nikes!)
As I’ve been reading about this amazing kid, I keep being drawn back to my job as a youth minister and to the students in our community. Carlo was so young, and yet was able to be a powerful vessel of God’s love to those around him. I believe that any of the students in this community are capable of the same things, but unfortunately Millennial young adults and Gen Z kids get a bad rap. I think older generations are really nervous about young people these days, and what they might do to the world. Although I do understand the concern, Blessed Carlo is an example to us of what modern day holiness can look like for our future generations. Carlo was a kid that spent a good amount of his time on a computer and online. He was technologically savvy like many of our kids, but because of his faith he was able to find virtue in his use of that technology and was able to use it for God’s glory! He is also an example of a need we have in the Church. If we have learned anything through this year, it’s that we need revival and renewal. Young people bring that to the church. Pope Francis says this if his exhortation to young people:
“Through the holiness of the young, the Church can renew her spiritual ardour and her apostolic vigour. The balm of holiness generated by the good lives of so many young people can heal the wounds of the Church and of the world, bringing us back to that fullness of love to which we have always been called: young saints inspire us to return to our first love (cf. Rev 2:4)”. Some saints never reached adulthood, yet they showed us that there is another way to spend our youth. Let us recall at least some of them who, each in his or her own way, and at different periods of history, lived lives of holiness.”
That is the possibility for any of our kids! If we have young people striving for sainthood then we can hope for renewal of the whole Church. So a challenge coming forth from Blessed Carlo Acutis’ example is to encourage, mentor, pray for and hope in our young people. They all can be (or maybe some of them are already) walking in holiness and the path towards sainthood.