Pope approves canonization of Catholicism’s first-ever millennial saint


Pope Francis formally approves canonization of first-ever millennial saint, teen Carlo Acutis

Rome — A 15-year-old Italian web designer is set to become the Catholic Church’s first saint from the millennial generation. On Monday, in a ceremony called an Ordinary Public Consistory, Pope Francis and the cardinals residing in Rome formally approved the canonization of Carlo Acutis, along with 14 others. 

No specific date has been set for the canonization of Acutis, who was dubbed “God’s Influencer” for his work spreading Catholicism online, but he’s likely to be proclaimed a saint in 2025.

Monday’s consistory was merely a formality, as Acutis’ cause for sainthood had already been thoroughly examined and approved by the Vatican’s Dicastery for the Causes of the Saints. The initial announcement came in May.

An image of 15-year-old Carlo Acutis, an Italian boy who died in 2006 of leukemia, is seen during his beatification ceremony celebrated by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, center, in the St. Francis Basilica, in Assisi, Italy, Oct. 10, 2020.
Gregorio Borgia/AP

Acutis was born to wealthy Italian parents in London in 1991, but the family moved to northern Italy shortly after his birth. His family have said he was a pious child, asking at the age of 7 to receive the first communion.

He went on to attend church and receive communion every day. As he grew older, he became interested in computers and the internet, creating a website on which he catalogued church-approved miracles and appearances of the Virgin Mary throughout history.

According to the Vatican, Acutis

He reportedly used his first savings to buy a sleeping bag for a homeless man he often met on his way to mass.  

Acutis died in October 2006 at the age of 15 in Monza, Italy, of leukemia. Some of the city’s poorest residents, whom Acutis had helped, turned out to pay their respects to the teenager at his funeral. 

His body lies in an open tomb in Assisi, in central Italy, wearing blue jeans and Nike sneakers.

A friar visits the tomb of Carlo Acutis in the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore on the eve of the beatification ceremony of Acutis, Oct. 9, 2020 in Assisi, Italy.
Vatican Pool/Getty

“I am happy to die because I lived my life without wasting even a minute of it on anything unpleasing to God,” Acutis was quoted as saying before he died.

Pope Francis declared Acutis “blessed” in October of 2020, after a miracle attributed to him was approved by the church. That miracle was a young boy in Brazil who was healed of a deadly pancreatic disease after he and his mother prayed to a relic of Acutis.

In order to be declared a saint, a second miracle — this one posthumous — needed to be approved. It came in 2022, when a woman prayed at Acutis’ tomb for her daughter, who just six days earlier had fallen from her bicycle in Florence, causing severe head trauma.

She required a craniotomy and had a very low chance of survival, according to doctors. On the day of the mother’s pilgrimage to Acutis’ tomb, the daughter began to breathe spontaneously. Just a few days later, the hemorrhage disappeared completely.

Along with Acutis, the canonizations of 14 other people were approved Monday, including 11 people who were killed in Syria in 1860, during the Syrian Civil War, which saw thousands of Christians killed.

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