Thursday, July 18, 2024

Pope clears way for ‘God’s influencer’ to become a saint

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A London-born teenager – whose proficiency at spreading the teachings of the Catholic church online led to him being called “God’s influencer” – is set to become a saint.

Carlo Acutis died in 2006, at the age of 15, meaning he would be the first millennial – a person born in the early 1980s to late 1990s – to be canonised.

It follows Pope Francis attributing a second miracle to him.

It involved the healing of university student in Florence who had bleeding on the brain after suffering head trauma.

Carlo Acutis had been beatified – the first step towards sainthood – in 2020, after he was attributed with his first miracle – healing a Brazilian child of a congenital disease affecting his pancreas.

The second miracle was approved by the Pope following a meeting with the Vatican’s saint-making department.

It is not yet known when he will be canonised.

Carlo Acutis died in Monza, in Italy, after being diagnosed with leukaemia, having spent much of his childhood in the country.

His body was moved to Assisi a year after his death, and it currently resides on full display alongside other relics linked to him.

As well as designing websites for his parish and school, he became known for launching a website seeking to document every reported Eucharistic miracle, which was launched days before his death.

Mr Acutis’ nickname, God’s influencer, has been attributed to him after his death due to this work.

His website has now been translated into several different languages, and used as the basis for an exhibition which has travelled around the world.

His life is also remembered in the UK, where in 2020, the Archbishop of Birmingham established the Parish of Blessed Carlo Acutis incorporating churches in Wolverhampton and Wombourne.

And there is a statue of the soon-to-be-saint in Carfin Grotto, a Roman Catholic shrine in Motherwell.

Miracles are typically investigated and assessed over a period of several months, with a person being eligible for sainthood after they have two to their name.

For something to be deemed a miracle, it typically requires an act seen to be beyond what is possible in nature – such as through the sudden healing of a person deemed to be near-death.

The most recent person to be canonised was Maria Antonia de Paz y Figueroa, also known as Mama Antula, an 18th Century religious sister who became Argentina’s first female saint.

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