Computer wiz set to become 1st saint of millennial generation

Agence France-Presse

VATICAN CITY – A London-born Italian teenager who spent his short life spreading his faith online, earning the moniker “God’s Influencer,” will become the Catholic Church’s first millennial saint.

Carlo Acutis, who died of leukemia in 2006 at age 15, was beatified four years ago after the Vatican ruled that he had miraculously saved another boy’s life.

On Thursday, Pope Francis cleared his way to sainthood by approving another miraculous act – an intercession on behalf of a young woman in Florence who suffered severe head trauma in July 2022.

Carlo’s mother Antonia Salzano described the decision as a “great joy,” telling Vatican Radio that “many had prayed for this canonization.”

“I was not an example of sanctity, but for me Carlo was like a teacher, he was special, never a complaint, never a criticism,” she said.

Carlo was born in London on May 3, 1991, to Italian parents and moved with them to Milan as a young boy, where he grew up with an interest in computers.

“Carlo used the web as a tool for evangelization,” Salzano told Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper in an interview published on Friday.

Also known as the “blessed of the internet” or “the Cyberapostle,” Carlo also warned his contemporaries that the internet could be a curse as well as a blessing.

His mother said he also helped in his community, distributing blankets and food for homeless people in Milan.

She said she always knew he would become a saint: “He told me himself, appearing to me in a dream.”

Supporters had previously suggested Carlo could become the patron saint of the internet – though the seventh-century scholar Isidore de Seville is widely considered to already have that role.

Carlo died on Oct. 12, 2006, in Monza, northern Italy.

In 2020, the Vatican recognized his first miracle, claiming the teen had posthumously interceded in 2013 to cure a Brazilian boy suffering from a rare pancreatic disease.

He was beatified – or made “Blessed” – in the Italian town of Assisi, the home of the pope’s namesake Saint Francis, where Carlo made several pilgrimages.

Carlo’s remains were transferred to the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore in Assisi and put on display in a tomb with a glass side.

He appeared astonishingly lifelike, his face reconstructed and body dressed as he lived, in jeans, trainers and a sweatshirt.

His tomb has become a place of pilgrimage for many Catholics, and the site of the second miracle attributed by the Vatican.

According to the Vatican’s news outlet, a young student in Florence, Valeria, suffered severe head trauma in July 2022 after falling off her bicycle. Doctors gave her a very low chance of survival.

Her mother Liliana, from Costa Rica, made a pilgrimage to Carlo’s tomb to pray for his help – and that same day, her daughter began to breathe on her own.

Within weeks the young woman had recovered, Vatican News said.

In a statement on Thursday, the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Causes of Saints said Francis had authorized a decree marking “the miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Carlo Acutis.”

He will convene a meeting of cardinals to fix the date for the canonization.

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