A 15-year old Italian tech wiz, Carlo Acutis, made Catholic Church history as the first millennial to be beatified on Oct. 10. 

The ceremony took place at St. Mary Major Basillica Assisi, Italy, home of St. Francis. One miracle has been already attributed to Acutis, who died from leukemia in 2006, the unexplainable healing of a Brazilian boy with a malformed pancreas to Carlo after the child came in contact with one of his shirts. One more miracle and he will join St. Francis among the canonized saints in the church. 

Reflecting changing times, although St. Francis wore donated peasant clothing of his time, at the veneration of Acutis’ body Oct. 9 he was dressed in jeans and a track suit jacket. The already dubbed “patron saint of the internet” reportedly has many devotees around the world. 

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Carlo Acutis

 

The youth loved the Eucharist, saying “The Eucharist is my highway to heaven.” The gamer and computer programer worked diligently to see that technology would be used for good purposes (he created a website listing eucharistic miracles around the world in the months before he died) and offered up his illness for then Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and the universal church. 

Acutis’ beatification leads to the wonder about the community of saints as we approach All Saints and All Souls Day. 

In the West the feast of “All Holy Martyrs” was introduced when Pope Boniface IV was given the ancient Roman temple of the Pantheon by Emperor Phocas on May 13, 610 and dedicated it as a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the martyrs. The date of this feast was observed annually in Rome. Two hundred years later Pope Gregory IV transferred the celebration to November 1. 

Some scholars have claimed the Church assigned All Saints to Nov. 1 to substitute a feast of Christian significance for the pagan Germanic celebrations of the demon cult at that time of the year. Others assert the reason for the transfer was that the many pilgrims who came to Rome for the “Feast of the Pantheon” could be fed more easily after the harvest than in the spring. 

The purpose of the feast is twofold. As the prayer of the Mass states, “the merits of all the saints are venerated in common by this one celebration,” because a very large number of martyrs and other saints could not be accorded the honor of a special festival since the days of the year would not suffice for all these individual celebrations. 

The second purpose was given by Pope Urban IV: Any negligence, omission and irreverence committed in the celebration of the saints’ feasts throughout the year is to be atoned for by the faithful, and thus due honor may still be offered to these saints.” 

All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation, is also a special time for families in Louisiana to visit their deceased loved ones in the blessing of the graves.

As the case for Acutis’ sainthood proceeds, it emphasizes all are called to be saints, canonized or not. One of Acutis’ most well-known quotes is, “We are all born original, but many die as photocopies.”