Carlo Acutis, whose body remains well preserved despite dying at 15 years old in 2006, was beatified by the Catholic Church on Sunday, putting him one step from becoming a saint.
Acutis, a British-born Italian teenager, dedicated his short life to spreading the Christian faith online and helping the poor. Like his fellow millennials, Acutis was an internet and computer genius and the Vatican ruled he had miraculously saved another boy’s life.
The Vatican said he interceded from heaven in 2013 to cure a Brazilian boy suffering from a rare pancreatic disease.
Acutis was beatified in Assisi, the home of his idol St. Francis, whose staunch faith in God and a life dedicated to the poor made him one of the most popular saints in the Catholic faith.
“My whole family in Argentina were very excited and asked me to pray for them, and for Carlo, too. We’re all very happy,” student Carla Fiezzi, who attended the ceremony, told the Agence France-Presse.
“Young people might have been tired of a pastoral ministry that’s maybe a bit out of step with the times despite all its efforts, but the Lord intervenes in history and human affairs and gives us these guiding lights,” priest and Assisi Convent spokesman Enzo Fortunato said during the ceremony.
Acutis was also known as “the cyberapostle of the Eucharist.” He was born in London to Italian parents and eventually moved to Milan.
“He was considered a computer genius…But what did he do? He didn’t use these media to chat, have fun,” his mother Antonia Salzano said in an interview with Vatican News.
Acutis showed “his zeal for the Lord” that prompted him to him establish a website on miracles, his mother said.
And in this era where the internet is creating monster out of young people, Acutis stood out as an example of how to make use of social media to preach kindness and the Christian faith.