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Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

Sea of Galilee at Sunrise

Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

A Young Saint-to-Be

Does technology give you headaches?  Does your computer act up? Luckily we have a new expert to call on for help. As of May 24, Blessed Carlo Acutis is closer to being canonized. A second miracle through his intercession has occurred, so Pope Francis approved his canonization. Because Carlo died when he was just fifteen years old, he will be the first millennial saint. He is the patron of youth and computer programmers.

                  So how did Carlo attain holiness in such a short time and when neither of his parents were religious? After he was born in London in 1991, the family moved to Italy. He was in the care of nannies, one of whom shared the Catholic faith with him. At a daycare children bullied him and took his toys. When a nanny tried to teach him to defend himself, he said, “Jesus would not be happy if I lost my temper.”

                  In the summer he lived with his grandparents. After each spending each day at the beach, he prayed the Rosary with older women at the church. He started school in 1997. On his walk there each morning as he passed home caretakers, he greeted them by name. At age twelve, he became a catechist. Graduating from the Catholic grade school, he went on to a Jesuit high school.

                  An average student, Carlo had a tutor who began going to church with him. He studied computer science on his own and taught himself to play the saxophone. A typical teenager, he enjoyed movies and video games. But uniquely, he sacrificed sweets and films, tried to practice poverty, and volunteered to help the homeless and poor. In the evening he brought a beggar in the park food from his grandmother and gave him pocket money for coffee. He donated games he received on his birthday to children who had none.

                  Carlo cared for the world. He picked up litter on his hikes and removed rubbish from the ocean. He had pets —cats, dogs, and fish—but also asked his parents to take in stray animals.

                  At school he defended classmates who were bullied, especially those with disabilities, and girls that boys harassed. He supported friends whose parents were divorcing or separating and invited them to his home. When two classmates were fighting he helped them reconcile.

                  Carlo’s faith brought both his parents back to the Church and led them and others to go to daily Mass. By speaking about the faith, he influenced a servant from India, as well as the servant’s friend and mother to be baptized. He was nicknamed “God’s influencer.”

Websites

Carlo was skillful in using the computer and Internet and helped others who had problems with them. He created a website for his parish and another to promote volunteering. His most outstanding work was cataloguing Eucharistic miracles. Carlo saw this as a way to use media to evangelize.

Death

On October 1, 2006, Carlo had a sore throat and was diagnosed with leukemia. He offered his sufferings for the pope and the Church. Eleven days later he had a cerebral hemorrhage and died. Because of his love for St. Francis, he asked to be buried in Assisi. His body lies in a glass tomb there, clothed in jeans and Nike sneakers.

                  His work inspired a traveling photo exhibition of 158 Eucharistic miracle sites. This has appeared all over the world.

Wise Words from Carlo

• “We are all born originals, but many of us die as photocopies.”

• “Let us prepare ourselves to experience something extraordinary in the eternal life.”

• “By standing before the Eucharistic Christ, we become holy.”

• “Continuously ask your guardian angel for help. Your guardian angel has to become your best friend.”

• “The Eucharist is the highway to heaven.”

• “Our soul is like a hot air balloon. If by chance there is a mortal sin, the soul falls to the ground. Confession is like the fire underneath the balloon enabling the soul to rise again. . . It is important to go to confession often.”

• “There are queues in front of a concert, in front of a football match, but I don’t see these queues in front of the Blessed Sacrament.”

Dominic

Dominic is on the other end of the age spectrum and probably won’t be canonized; he’s one of those ordinary saints. This precious member of our Notre Dame Village family went home to God last week. He was a proud marine, one of the older marines who led the young guys into Vietnam. He earned purple hearts. If you met him sitting in his wheelchair, he would tip his cap to you and greet you with a smile. If the weather was nice, you would see him outside basking in the sun.

The VA nurse who cared for Dominic told me that they wished all their patients were like Dominic. As I played the piano, he came and talked to me, sharing his wisdom. I was the recipient of Dominic’s kindness after I told him that as a kid I had the piano music for Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” A few days later, a Sister handed me a 26-page book of that music, compliments of Dominic, who had ordered it from the Internet.

This is from Dominic’s obituary:

“Dominic was a proud Marine until the day he died. He drew strength from his service and from his upbringing, which allowed him to maintain incredible strength and stoicism until the very end.

Dominic was also an avid reader and historian, and was remarkably intelligent, often captivating his loved ones with facts and anecdotes on subjects ranging from World War II to the Guardians of Traffic. But Dominic’s favorite stories to tell were those about his family, especially those regarding his parents and Italian heritage, how he met and fell in love with his beloved wife, Eunice, and cherished experiences he had with his children and grandchildren.”

We will miss Dominic at our patriotic sing-along this year. I’ll be thinking of him as we sing the last stanza of the “U.S. Marine Corps Hymn”:  “If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven’s scenes, /  They will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.”

For your enjoyment, here is a rousing rendition of “When the Saints Go Marching In” from a Billy Graham revival.

•  Who is your favorite saint? What do you like about him or her?

•  Who do you know that is an ordinary saint like Dominic?

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