Blessed Carlo lived his life in an extraordinary way
Photo: Eucharistic Miracles Display at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rapid City, June 10.
By Shawna Hanson
“Jesus promised, ‘I will be with you until the end of time.’ He promised it, and he kept his promise.” Such was the faith of a young Italian boy, Carlo Acutis, born in London in 1991, but raised in Turin, Italy. Carlo was born into a well-to-do, secular Italian family. His parents rarely went to Mass. His mother admits that she was in church only for her first Communion, confirmation, and wedding. However, Carlo was drawn to Christ and his church from an early age. Even when he was quite small, he would ask to be taken to church. And he asked many other questions as well. His persistence and deep desire to be close to God not only led him, but also his family, into a close relationship with Christ.
After receiving his first Communion at the age of 7, he never missed daily Mass. In addition, he made it a practice to stop before the tabernacle before or after Mass and spend some time in quiet prayer and adoration. He also developed a close relationship with Mary and was steadfast in praying the rosary daily and going to confession frequently.
Carlo lived all of this in the midst of a very typical lifestyle of school, soccer, and video games. Carlo was gifted with computers, with a depth of understanding about programming that went beyond his years. But he also enjoyed them as millions of other teens today do — as a tool to be used for schoolwork and as a platform for games. Although Carlo led a typical life, he did so in an extraordinary way.
He was committed to growing in self-discipline and virtue and limited his video gaming to one hour per week, although he admitted that he wanted to play much more often. He had a great fondness for sweets and struggled to stay at a healthy weight. He used these simple things as opportunities to master the art of self-control, and the virtue of temperance. He used to say, “What’s the use of winning 1,000 battles if you can’t beat your own passions?” He was known for his kindness, defending those at school being bullied and serving often at a local homeless shelter. He used his first savings to buy a sleeping bag for one homeless man that he often saw on his way to Mass. He perceived the dignity of all human beings and strived to see them as God sees them. He said, “We are born as originals, but many live as photocopies.” In order to live as the originals we were created to be Carlo would say, “our goal must be the infinite and not the finite. The infinity is our homeland. We are always expected in Heaven.” And how do we get there? Our compass must be the Word of God coupled with the sacraments and prayer. In particular, Carlo placed the Sacrament of the Eucharist at the center of his life and called it “my highway to Heaven.”
At the age of 11, Carlo asked his parents to take him to the sites of all the Eucharistic Miracles which had occurred over the centuries in Southern Europe. He spent four years traveling, photographing, and researching these eucharistic miracles. He then compiled his pictures and writing on a website that he created. Upon his death from leukemia, Carlo’s Eucharistic Miracles Display became the property of the Vatican. His images are offered within a “virtual museum” on the website: and can be downloaded and printed as well. His mother says of his work, “Carlo was a seed, or rather, he planted a seed with this exposition of eucharistic miracles,” to help the world believe. Carlo died on October 12, 2006. He requested that he be buried in Assisi Italy because of his admiration for St. Francis.
In 2018, he was declared venerable and in 2020, Pope Francis declared him blessed. Blessed Carlo is a patron of the National Eucharistic Revival — www.eucharistic revival.org — and a worthy role model for all young people, an ordinary teenager of our times who chose to live in an extraordinary way in and with Christ.