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Teenage computer wizard set to become the first saint of the millennial generation

Published:Saturday | May 25, 2024 | 12:10 AM
An image of 15-year-old Carlo Acutis, an Italian boy who died in 2006 of leukaemia, is seen during his beatification ceremony celebrated by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, centre, in the St. Francis Basilica, in Assisi, Italy, on October 10, 2020.
An image of 15-year-old Carlo Acutis, an Italian boy who died in 2006 of leukaemia, is seen during his beatification ceremony celebrated by Cardinal Agostino Vallini, centre, in the St. Francis Basilica, in Assisi, Italy, on October 10, 2020.

ROME (AP):

Pope Francis paved the way for the canonisation of the first saint of the millennial generation on Thursday, attributing a second miracle to a 15-year-old Italian computer whiz who died of leukaemia in 2006.

Carlo Acutis, born on May 3, 1991, in London and then moved with his Italian parents to Milan as a child, was the youngest contemporary person to be beatified by Francis in Assisi in 2020.

The approval of a second miracle for Acutis was notified by the Pontiff on Thursday during a meeting with the head of the Vatican’s saint-making department, Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, a Vatican statement said.

Pope Francis announced he will convene a Consistory of Cardinals to deliberate the canonisation of Acutis, as well as other three Blessed.

Touted as the “patron saint of the internet,” Acutis used his natural tech talent to create a website to catalogue miracles and took care of websites for some local Catholic organisations.

He was a self-starter. While still in elementary school, Acutis taught himself to code using a university computer science textbook, and then learned how to edit videos and create animation.

Acutis, who died of acute leukaemia on October 12, 2006, was put on the road to sainthood after Pope Francis approved the first miracle attributed to him: The healing of a seven-year-old Brazilian boy from a rare pancreatic disorder after coming into contact with an Acutis’ relic, a piece of one of his T-shirts.

According to Vatican News, the second miracle recognised on Thursday is related to a woman from Costa Rica, who in July 2022 made a pilgrimage to Acutis’ tomb in Assisi to pray for the healing of her daughter, who had suffered severe head trauma after falling from her bicycle.

The young woman started showing signs of recovery immediately after her mother’s plea.

Already as a small child, Acutis had showed a strong religious devotion that surprised his non-practising parents.

His mother, Antonia Salzano, recalled in an interview that from age three he would ask to visit churches they passed in Milan, and by age seven had asked to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, winning an exception to the customary age requirement.

His curiosity pushed Salzano to study theology in order to answer his questions, renewing her own faith.

Acutis was buried in Assisi at his own request, having become an admirer of St. Francis of Assisi for his dedication to the poor.

The Umbrian town was one of his favourite travel destinations. His body, clad in a tracksuit and sneakers, has been on display for veneration in a sanctuary in the town, and his heart has been displayed in a reliquary in the St. Francis Basilica.