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Italian teen moves closer to becoming 'patron saint of the internet' as miracle recognized

Italian boy, who programmed his home computer to catalog miracles and died at 15, moves a step closer to becoming the Catholic Church's first millennial saint.

A London-born “computer genius” who died in Italy from leukemia at 15 is one step closer to becoming a saint, now that the Vatican has attributed a miracle to him.

Carlo Acutis, who died in Milan in 2006, was credited with healing a Brazilian boy who recovered from a rare illness after praying to him, asking him to communicate with God. Carlo will be beatified in Assisi, Italy, in October this year — the final step before sainthood.

Carlo Acutis in 2002.Family photo

Beatification — recognition by the church that a person has entered heaven and has the capacity to intercede on behalf of those who pray in his or her name — is the final step before sainthood.

The coronavirus pandemic delayed his beatification, which will take place in the fall in Assisi, Italy, where he is buried. Once a second miracle is approved by a council of scientists, he will become the patron saint of the internet.

Carlo's mother, Antonia Salzano, said that, in many ways, her son was a normal teenager who liked playing video games, but one who also had “a special spiritual life and gifts on the internet.”

Using the family’s small, old computer, Carlo taught himself how to program and built a website cataloging miracles around the world.

Carlo also supported classmates who were bullied and helped the homeless.

“When he contracted leukemia at age 15, his faith helped him to see his suffering differently,” Brenden Thompson, the CEO of Catholic Voices. said.

At Carlo's funeral, the church was “so flooded that many people had to remain outside,” his mother said. Catholics from around the world then petitioned the Vatican, calling for the teen to be named a saint.

Tech-savvy saint

The Catholic Church recognizes about 10,000 saints, according to the Pew Research Center — including the patron saints of animals, lost causes and children — but very few child saints.

According to Jay Breeden, the president of Catholic Faith Technologies, Carlo's canonization could be seen as Pope Francis “sending a message that there is a place for technology and the continued growth of our faith and development of the next generation of Catholics.”

Francis has called the internet a “gift from God” and encouraged the Vatican to use technology to reach its what the Vatican estimated last year were its 1.3 billion followers around the world.

During the lockdown, the pontiff has livestreamed Mass, including an Easter Mass he celebrated in front of an empty St. Peter’s Square.

“There is a technological revolution that has happened within the church, and so the church will never be the same again after this virus, much like the rest of the world,” Thompson said.

The tomb in Assisi where Carlo's body lies is already livestreaming — 24 hours a day.