By Janice Fritz-Ryken
“All people are born as originals but many die as photocopies.”— Blessed Carlo Acutis
The Eucharistic Miracles of the World Exhibit was originally the brainchild of a young man deeply devoted to the holy Eucharist who died of leukemia before reaching adulthood, but not before using technology to make sure people of his generation knew about the miracles of Christ’s Body and Blood.
That young man, Carlo Acutis, was born May 3, 1991, to Italian parents working in England at the time of his birth. Raised in Italy, Carlo was an ordinary teenager with a special love for Jesus.
He played soccer, enjoyed practical jokes, and had a love of all things computers, especially playing computer games.
Though his parents were not originally very religious, Carlo became devoted to the Eucharist from the day he made his first Holy Communion, and he insisted on attending daily Mass for daily Communion.
One of his favorite places was Assisi, and Carlo went there often. In the tradition of St. Francis of Assisi, he used his money to buy sleeping bags, which he distributed to the homeless living on the streets.
His devotion to the Eucharist led Carlo to become fascinated by the many stories of eucharistic miracles that have taken place through the centuries. Using his computer skills to document the miracles, Carlo spent four years cataloging them and developing a website to share these stories with the world.
While battling leukemia, Carlo offered his suffering up for the pope and the Catholic Church. After he died in 2006 at the age of 15, Carlo’s eucharistic miracles website project was made into a traveling exhibit. It has been displayed in countless parishes and dioceses and has received praise throughout Europe and the United States.
On Oct. 10, 2020, Carlo was beatified at a special Mass in the city of Assisi, putting him just one step away from sainthood. His famous quote, “All people are born as originals but many die as photocopies,” is inspiring to teens around the globe. Nicknamed the “Cyber-apostle of the Eucharist,” Blessed Carlo Acutis is being hailed as the “First Millennial Saint.”
Pope Francis called Carlo a good role model for young people today as well as a model of holiness in the digital age. The Holy Father suggested that Carlo’s use of the computer resembles the efforts of the first disciples, who traveled on foot to bring the Good News of Christ to people.
“Carlo was well-aware that the whole apparatus of communications, advertising, and social networking can be used to lull us, to make us addicted to consumerism and buying the latest thing on the market, obsessed with our free time, caught up in negativity,” Pope Francis wrote after Carlo’s’ death.
“Yet instead, he used the new communication technology to transmit the Gospel, to communicate values and beauty,” the Holy Father noted.