Thousands sang and applauded as Italian teen Carlo Acutis was beatified in a town dear to him and to many Christians around the world: Assisi.
During the Oct. 10 beatification Mass, Italian Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the papal legate for the Basilicas of St. Francis and St. Mary of the Angels in Assisi, read Pope Francis’ apostolic letter proclaiming Acutis “blessed,” the step before canonization.
“With our apostolic authority, we grant that the venerable servant of God, Carlo Acutis, layman, who, with the enthusiasm of youth, cultivated a friendship with our Lord Jesus, placing the Eucharist and the witness of charity at the center of his life, henceforth shall be called blessed,” the pope decreed.
After the reading of the apostolic letter, the newly beatified teen’s parents, Andrea Acutis and Antonia Salzano, processed toward the altar carrying a reliquary containing their son’s heart.
The reliquary was engraved with one of the teen’s well-known quotes: “The Eucharist is my highway to heaven.”
Pilgrims flocked both to the Basilica of St. Francis for the beatification Mass as well as to the Shrine of the Renunciation at the Church of St. Mary Major, where the newly beatified teen’s remains were on display for veneration.
Known as the site where a young St. Francis renounced his father’s inheritance and embraced poverty, the shrine—like the city of Assisi and St. Francis himself—held a special place in Acutis’ heart.
The teen loved St. Francis “very much,” his mother, Antonia Salzano, told Catholic News Service Oct. 9. St. Francis “was a very Eucharistic soul who used to attend Mass twice a day,” and her son sought to imitate that same Eucharistic devotion throughout his brief life.
The liturgy was held inside the Basilica of St. Francis, but measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 meant that most of those attending sat outside on seats set 3 feet apart, watching on big screens.
Many young men and women came to Assisi for the beatification. For many of them, the fact that a normal teen could be beatified was a source of hope and inspiration.
A Vietnamese archbishop urged young people to imitate Blessed Carlo Acutis by establishing close links with God and other people on social media.
Ucanews.com reported that about 500 young people attended a special meeting, “Access the Internet With Carlo,” Oct. 10 at Tan Phuoc Church, the day Blessed Carlo was beatified in Assisi. The event was sponsored by Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese’s youth ministry committee.
Archbishop Joseph Nguyen Nang told them Blessed Carlo, a 15-year-old who died of leukemia in 2006, was a programmer who used social media to unite many people and spread Christian values.
Archbishop Nang said God is the first programmer who has a plan for human beings, inviting them to pursue eternal happiness.
“We should access the internet and do what the blessed teen did so that we can become holy,” Archbishop Nang told the congregation. He encouraged them to go on the internet and develop links with God, who is their light and life, and establish links with other people.
The prelate said many young people have qualifications and achievements in their careers, but they are confined to loneliness and depression because they have no links with other people. Reach out to people who live in poverty and suffer from distress, he said.
“The more we give, the happier we are. Happiness is to open our hearts to others and sacrifice ourselves for others,” he said.
“We should communicate hope, truth and mutual trust with other people on social media as a way to become holy.” —CNS