Catholic Church

Teenager Carlo Acutis, ‘patron of the internet,’ to be first millennial saint

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Teenager Carlo Acutis, ‘patron of the internet,’ to be first millennial saint

NEW SAINT. Carlo Acutis, who died at the age of 15 in 2006, is dubbed as the 'patron saint of the internet.'

(1st UPDATE) Carlo Acutis, who died of leukemia in 2006, built a website documenting Eucharistic miracles, helped the poor, and also ‘loved the Philippines’

MANILA, Philippines – Italian teenager Carlo Acutis, who died of leukemia at the age of 15, will be declared a Catholic saint after a miracle was attributed to his intercession, the Vatican confirmed on Thursday, May 23.

Teenager Carlo Acutis, ‘patron of the internet,’ to be first millennial saint

Acutis will be canonized, or included in the Catholic Church’s canon or roster of saints, along with three others, according to the Vatican announcement in Italian.

Acutis, a young computer programmer who died on October 12, 2006, is touted as a saint for the 21st century. He has also been dubbed “the first millennial saint,” one who even watched Pokémon and used the PlayStation.

The teenager is best known for his extraordinary acts of kindness, including the time he bought a sleeping bag for a homeless man, his deep prayer life, and his effort to build a website documenting Eucharistic miracles around the world. The website, which is still online, is accessible in at least 18 languages, including Filipino. 

He called the Eucharist, or what Catholics believe to be the real body and blood of Christ which is offered at Mass, as the “highway to heaven.”

‘Carlo loved the Philippines’ 

Acutis has a huge following in predominantly Catholic Philippines, which received the faith as a Spanish colony and is now struggling to keep the faith young and relevant at a time of secularism.

A Filipino Facebook group with 11,000 followers is dedicated to Acutis, and is called “Friends of Blessed Carlo Acutis Philippines.” In November 2023, the University of Santo Tomas hosted the pilgrim relic of Acutis in an effort to bring the faith closer to Filipino youth.

Acutis’ mother, Antonia Salzona Acutis, addressed her son’s devotees in the Philippines in a video uploaded by Friends of Blessed Carlo Acutis Philippines.

“Carlo loved very much the Philippines because it’s a very Catholic country, where the faith is very big. It’s full of saints,” Mrs. Acutis said. “Carlo loved the Philippines also because when he was small, he had a friend, Loren Jean, she was from the Philippines and she was one of his best friends. So he had a special predilection to the Philippines.”

“Carlo was a child who lived an ordinary life, but because he opened the door of his heart to Jesus, his ordinary life became extraordinary,” his mother said.

The Carlo Acutis miracle

In the Catholic Church, a saint is considered an intercessor in heaven and a model of faith on earth.

Sainthood is a complicated process that takes years or even centuries. It involves investigations into a candidate’s life – including his or her virtues and vices – and the element of the supernatural: Ordinarily, miracles need to be attributed to his or her intercession.

Such a miracle needs to defy the explanations of science, which means the stringent examinations by scientists – usually medical doctors in the case of “miraculous” cures – play an important role.

It takes one miracle to be declared “blessed” in a ceremony called beatification – one major step away from sainthood. Once a candidate is beatified, it takes another miracle to be declared a saint.

In the case of Acutis, according to the Vatican, the miracle that led to his sainthood involves a Costa Rican woman.

A woman named Liliana prayed at Acutis’ tomb in Assisi, Italy, on July 8, 2022, and left a letter of petition. In the letter, Liliana sought prayers for her daughter Valeria, who fell from her bicycle in Florence, where she was studying, on July 2, 2022.

Valeria “had suffered severe head trauma, and required craniotomy surgery and the removal of the right occipital bone to reduce pressure on her brain, with what her doctors said was a very low chance of survival,” reported Vatican News.

Liliana’s secretary prayed immediately to Acutis, then on July 8, 2022, Liliana herself visited Acutis’ tomb in Assisi. 

“That same day, the hospital informed her that Valeria had begun to breath spontaneously. The next day, she began to move and partially regain her speech. On July 18, 2022, a CAT scan proved that her hemorrhaging had disappeared, and on August 11, 2022, Valeria was moved to rehabilitation therapy,” Vatican News said.

Valeria “made quick progress and, on September 2, 2022, Valeria and Liliana made another pilgrimage to Assisi to thank Blessed Carlo for his intercession,” it added.

The Vatican will soon announce the date of Acutis’ canonization after the Pope convenes a consistory or a meeting with cardinals. –

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email