Gregorio Borgia / AP
Teen computer gamers and programmers from Italy, who dedicated the last years of their lives to the church until their deaths in 2006, were beatified over the weekend, making it the first millennium on the road to the Catholic shrine.
A portrait of Carlo Akutis, who died of leukemia at the age of 15, was unveiled during the beatification ceremony at the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. In it he is wearing a red polo shirt and his curly hair is surrounded by a faint halo of light.
Akutis has been called the “patron saint of the Internet.” He created a website for cataloging miracles and operated sites for local Catholic organizations.
“Carlo uses the Internet in the service of the Gospel to reach as many people as possible,” said Cardinal Agostino Valini, the papal legate of the basilicas of Assisi, during his sermon.
Valini kissed the boy’s masked boy, Andrea Akutis and Antonia Salzano, after reading the proclamation issued by Pope Francis.
“He was considered a computer genius,” his mother told Vatican News. “But what did he do? He didn’t use it [computers] to chat or have fun. “
She told an Italian newspaper that from the age of three, her son would want to visit churches the family had visited in Milan.
“He had a natural predisposition to the sacred,” she said.
Akutis was born in 1991 in London and moved with his parents to Milan. As a teenager, he was diagnosed with leukemia, after which he offered his suffering to the then Pope Benedict XVI and the church, the Catholic Agency reported. He asked to be buried in Assisi because of his love for St. Francis of Assisi.
He was canonized in 2013 and made “Revered” in 2018. With his beatification, he was designated “Blessed,” according to the CNA.
The next step is holiness, which requires two miracles tested by the Church. However, the pope can give up the second miracles.
The first miracle of Akutis was proclaimed in 2013, when the Vatican said that he interceded from heaven to save the life of a Brazilian suffering from a rare disease of the pancreas.
Although it is rare for someone so young to become a saint, two Portuguese shepherd children living in the early 1900s who reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary were canonized in 2017.