‘God’s influencer’: Pope clears way for the first-ever millennial saint

Carlo Acutis, a 15-year-old Italian teenager who used his computer programming skills to spread devotion to the Eucharist. Maurizio Maule / Fotogramma via The Canadian Press

An Italian teenager so good at spreading the teachings of the Catholic church that he was dubbed “God’s influencer” is set to become the first millennial saint.

Carlo Acutis was 15 years old when he died from leukemia in 2006, but he did big things for Catholicism in his short time on earth, Pope Francis has decided.

His first attributed miracle, healing a Brazilian child of a congenital disease affecting his pancreas, was recognized by the Pope in 2020 and resulted in his beatification.

FILE – A tapestry featuring a portrait of Carlo Acutis hangs at the St. Francis Basilica during his beatification ceremony on October 10, 2020. Vatican Pool / Getty Images

Now, the Pope has approved a second miracle, involving the healing of a university student in Italy from a brain bleed, which clears Acutis for canonization.

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According to the Catholic News Agency, the 21-year-old girl from Costa Rica was studying in Florence in 2022 when she was in a bicycle accident that resulted in traumatic injury to her brain.

After a craniotomy, her family was told the girl’s situation was dire and her mother set out on a pilgrimage to Assisi to pray at the tomb of Acutis, where his body lies on display.

The mother left a note at the tomb and, 10 days later, the girl was discharged from intensive care. Further tests showed her brain had healed and she only needed one week of physical therapy. Two months later, the mother and daughter set out on a pilgrimage back to Acutis’ tomb in Assisi.

The mortal remains of Blessed Carlo Acutis in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore. Grzegorz Galazka / Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

According to Reuters, Acutis grew up in Milan where he took care of his parish’s website and later of a Vatican-based academy.

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Days before his death, he launched a website that sought to document every reported Eucharistic miracle.

Due to his “important role in evangelization through the internet,” Acutis was named a patron of last year’s World Youth Day in Lisbon, organizers of the event said.

The attribution of a second miracle means he can now be elevated to sainthood, but the Vatican did not say when this would happen.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that only God performs miracles, but that saints who are believed to be with God in heaven intercede on behalf of people who pray to them. A miracle is usually the medically inexplicable healing of a person.

with files from Reuters

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