Teenager one step away from becoming the first millennial saint

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Vatican City (AFP)

An Italian teenager of British descent who has dedicated his short life to spreading the faith online and helping the poor will be beatified by the Catholic Church on Saturday.

It only leaves him a miracle of becoming the world’s first holy millennium.

Carlo Acutis, a young Internet and computer madman who died of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 15, was placed on the path to holiness after the Vatican decided he had miraculously saved the world. life of another boy.

The Vatican claims it interceded from heaven in 2013 to treat a Brazilian boy with rare pancreatic disease.

He will be beatified in Assisi, the home of his idol Saint Francis, who dedicated his life to the poor. Some 3,000 people are expected to follow the ceremony on giant screens installed in five squares in the city in central Italy.

– ‘Computer Engineering’ –

Acutis, nicknamed “the cyberapostle of the Eucharist”, was born in London to Italian parents and moved to Milan with them in their youth.

“He was considered a computer genius… But what did he do? He did not use these media to discuss, to have fun, ”his mother Antonia Salzano said in an interview with Vatican News.

Instead, “his zeal for the Lord” prompted him to create a website on miracles, she said.

The millennial, whose body lies undamaged in Assisi, clad in a tracksuit and sneakers, also warned his contemporaries that the internet could be a curse as much as a blessing.

Pope Francis mentioned it last year, in a warning to young people that social networks could foment hatred.

“(Acutis) saw that a lot of young people, wanting to be different, really end up being like everyone else, chasing all that is powerful in front of them with the mechanisms of consumption and distraction,” Francis said.

“As a result, Carlo said, ‘everyone is born as an original, but a lot of people end up dying in photocopies”. Don’t let this happen to you! ” he said.

– Kind to the poor –

Acutis was religious from an early age, although his mother says her family rarely attended church.

When he wasn’t writing computer programs or playing football, Acutis was known in his neighborhood for his kindness to those living on the fringes of society.

“With his savings, he bought sleeping bags for the homeless and in the evening he brought them hot drinks,” his mother said this week, according to the Catholic news agency.

“He said it was better to have a pair of shoes less if that meant being able to do another good job,” she said.

He also volunteered at a soup kitchen in Milan. Bishop of Assisi Domenico Sorrentino said this month that a soup kitchen for the poor will be opened in honor of Acutis.

“When he died, at the funeral, the church was full of the poor. Everyone was wondering what they were doing there. Well, Carlo was secretly helping them, ”said Nicola Gori, who represented the case of Beatification of Acutis.

“The family knew it, because his mother was accompanying him, since he was only 15 years old. He gave them sleeping bags and food, which is why they wanted to attend the funeral, ”he added.

If Acutis were to later be credited with the second miracle necessary for holiness, supporters have suggested he could become the patron saint of the internet – although there is already one, 7th century scholar Isidore of Seville.

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