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REP 8th Graders Learn About Carlo Acutis

Posted on November 6, 2020 by Published by

Our Lady of the Wayside’s Religious Education Program (REP) 8th-graders recently watched a video and learned about Carlo Acutis, a young teen who died at the age of 15 in 2006 and was recently beatified, on his way to sainthood. It is a very moving story about this young man’s life with an important overriding message: Saints are just like the rest of humanity – there is potential to be close to God and do great deeds in his name.

Sharing this video with all, as it is quite moving. It presents a view of a modern day young adult who was drawn close to Jesus and the Eucharist. While his life was short lived, he is an inspiration that might certainly inspire teenagers (and adults as well) to realize everyone has the potential to become a saint.

Future Saints Needed! 

The Religious Education Program is looking for second grade assistants to work with Catechists who do not have assistants. This volunteer will be able to work in separate Zoom breakout rooms to practice Reconciliation.  If you are interested, or for more information, please contact: Louise Dickey at repsecretary@olwparish.org

More on Carlo Acutis:

Carlo Acutis was born in London on May 3, 1991 to a wealthy Italian family with Irish and Polish roots. His baptism took place on May 18, 1991 in the church of Our Lady of Dolours, Chelsea. His parents, Andrea Acutis and Antonia Salzano, who were not especially religious, had worked in London and Germany, but finally settled in Milan in September 1991, not long after their first son’s birth. In 1995 when Carlo was four years old, his maternal grandfather died and was said to have appeared to him in a dream asking to be prayed for.

When the child showed a precocious interest in religious practice, his questions were answered by the family’s Polish baby-sitter. Three years later he requested to receive his First Communion at the unusually early age of seven. After consulting a bishop and providing instruction, the family arranged this at the convent of St. Ambrogio ad Nemus. Thereafter he made the effort, either before or after Mass, to reflect before the tabernacle. Acutis became a frequent communicant and would make a weekly confession. He is said to have had several models as guides for his life, especially Francis of Assisi, as well as Francisco and Jacinta Marto, Dominic Savio, Tarcisius, and Bernadette Soubirous.

He was educated in Milan at the Jesuit Institute Leone XIII high school. On the social side, Acutis would worry about friends of his whose parents were divorcing and would invite them to his home to support them. He defended disabled peers at school when bullies mocked them. Outside school, he did voluntary work with the homeless and destitute. He also liked films, comic editing and playing PlayStation. Although he greatly enjoyed travel, the town of Assisi remained a particular favorite.

Those around him considered him a “computer geek” because of his passion and skill with computers and the internet. Acutis applied himself to creating a website dedicated to cataloguing each reported Eucharistic miracle in the world. He completed this in 2005, having started compiling the catalogue at the age of eleven. He admired Giacomo Alberione’s initiatives to use the media to evangelize and proclaim the Gospel and aimed to do likewise with the website he had created. It was on the website that he said: “the more Eucharist we receive, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven”.

When he contracted leukemia, he offered his suffering both for Pope Benedict XVI and for the Catholic Church, saying; “I offer all the suffering I will have to undergo for the Lord, for the Pope, and the Church”. He had asked his parents to take him on pilgrimages to the sites of all the known Eucharistic miracles in the world, but his declining health prevented this from happening. The doctors treating his final illness had asked him if he was in great pain to which he responded that “there are people who suffer much more than me”. He died on October 12, 2006 at 6:45 AM from M3 fulminant leukemia. He was buried in Assisi in accordance with his wishes.

Legacy

Carlo’s mother, Antonia, is said to attribute to his intercession the fact that, at the age of 44, she gave birth to twins, born exactly four years to the day after his death. Following the Catholic Church’s recognition of a miracle in 2020, attributed to Carlo, Antonia told the press that her son had appeared to her in dreams saying that he will not only be beatified but also canonized a saint in the future.

In memory of Carlo, bishops Raffaello Martinelli and Angelo Comastri have helped to organize a travelling photo exhibition of all the Eucharistic miracle sites. It has since travelled to dozens of different countries across five continents.

Carlo’s resting place: Santa Maria Maggiore, Assisi

Beatification

The call for him to be beatified began not long after Acutis’ death. The campaign gained momentum in 2013 after he was named a Servant of God, the first stage on the path towards sainthood. The Lombardy Episcopal Conference approved the petition for the official canonization cause to proceed at a meeting in 2013. The opening of the diocesan investigation was held on February 15, 2013, with Cardinal Angelo Scola inaugurating the process, and concluding it on November 24, 2016. The formal introduction to the cause took place on May 13, 2013, and Acutis became titled a “Servant of God”. Pope Francis next confirmed his life as one of heroic virtue on July 5, 2018, and declared him Venerable. On November 14, 2019, the Vatican’s Medical Council of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints expressed a positive opinion about a miracle in Brazil attributed to Acutis’ intercession.

Luciana Vianna had taken her son, Mattheus, who was born with a pancreatic defect which made eating difficult, to a prayer service. Beforehand, Vianna had already prayed a novena asking for the teenager Acutis’ intercession. During the service, her son had simply asked that he should not “throw up as much”. Immediately following the service, Mattheus told his mother he felt healed and asked for solid food when he came home. Until then he had been on an all-liquid diet. After a detailed investigation, Pope Francis confirmed the miracle’s authenticity in a decree on February 21, 2020, leading to Acutis’ beatification.

Within a month of the decree, Italy experienced its first wave of COVID-19 cases, which caused the beatification ceremony to be postponed while the country was on lockdown. It was rescheduled for October 10, 2020 and was held in the Upper Church of the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Assisi, Italy, with Cardinal Agostino Vallini presiding on the pope’s behalf.

As of 2019, the postulator (is the person who guides a cause for beatification or canonization through the judicial processes) for Acutis’ cause is Nicola Gori. Since the beatification ceremony on October 10, 2020, silent crowds have been filing past the exposed relics of the blessed youth in the one time cathedral of Assisi, the church of Santa Maria Maggiore.

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