Today, October 12, the day of the Liturgical Memorial of Blessed Carlo Acutis, Mayra Novelo offers this fictitious interview made by her girl catechumens in Genoa, Italy, to get to know this young man better, known as the Cyber-Apostle of the Eucharist.
* * *
Fifth-year girls, who receive catechesis in Saint Mary Immaculate’s Basilica of Genoa, Italy, did a fictitious interview with Carlos Acutis, today a Blessed.
It can be difficult to talk to children about Jesus, but it’s important to have them know who He is and how much He loves them. He Himself asked us this when He said: “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the Kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16). A good way to bring them to the Lord is to show them the life of Saints.
Therefore, at the beginning of the catechetical year, we “interviewed” Carlo Acutis, a youth that, like them, used the PC, the social networks, and smartphones. He died at 15 of leukemia in 2006 – the first millennial proclaimed Blessed, on October 10, 2020.
The story of this young Blessed filled the girls with curiosity and so, through questions that they themselves formulated, we were able to immerse ourselves in very interesting aspects of Carlo’s short but intense life. Being unable to talk with him directly, we approached people who knew him personally: his mother, his parish priest, the Postulator of his Cause, and the doctors that treated him, who told us many interesting things about him. So our girls discovered what was special about this youth who lived only 15 years.
Here are the girls’ questions, with the answers the young Blessed would have given, which present the message linked to the spirituality lived by Carlo.
What was it like to know Jesus intensely? How did you come to believe so much in Jesus? Who gave you the reason to receive the Eucharist daily? How did you remember to go to Church?
I discovered God in the celebration of the Mass, so I understood that it was important to go to Mass every day. I listened to and read carefully the Gospel, which for me became increasingly the compass of my life. I committed myself to go every day to meet with Jesus in the Eucharist, as I believed firmly in God’s presence in the Tabernacle of churches. I felt that Jesus in the Eucharist was my best friend and I tried to stay close to Him every day. I used to say to my family and friends that one “goes straight to Heaven if one approaches the Eucharist every day.”
To hear the bells or to have a church close by always awakened in me the desire to be with Jesus. I was very attentive and helpful to those suffering because I saw Jesus in them. Often, at night, my mother took me to the streets of Milan, where the homeless slept, to give them sleeping bags.
My greatest desire was to make Jesus known to others, so I also designed a virtual exhibition of Eucharistic miracles, which have taken place in different parts of the world. Thanks to my parents, after my death, the exhibition was able to go around the world, and could also be visited in your city of Genoa, in Saint Martha’s church.
Question on His Sickness
How did you find out you were sick? How did you live your sickness? How did your family react when you were diagnosed? Were you happy to go to Heaven?
My sickness was galloping. I died after three days and I had just celebrated my 15th birthday. Initially, it seemed to be the flu, but then the doctors discovered it was leukemia. When I was given the diagnosis, I accepted it with great serenity, trying never to complain. As you can see in a video I left, I tried to be serene and I told myself: “I’m sick, I’m going to die.” I was happy thinking that I would go to Heaven and I would meet Jesus; my mother also heard me say, while she took care of me by my bed: “I offer all the sufferings I am enduring Lord for the Pope and the Church, and so that I can go straight to Heaven.” To the doctors that took care of me and who tried to alleviate my most intense pains, I repeated: “there are people that are suffering much more than I am.”
After hearing the many examples of Carlo Acutis’ virtues, the girls wondered if he was a normal youth.
How were you with your classmates? Were you afraid to talk about Jesus because they might make fun of you? Were you a spoilt child? Was it good for you to live like this?
As can be seen in all the photographs and videos of me, I was a normal and simple boy. As a child, I played like everyone else; I liked to plunge into the sea; I enjoyed using the computer and surfing the Internet and, above all, I thought it could be a tool to get many people to know Jesus. I also had many friends. As people know, who met me in the church as well as in the school, I was neither afraid nor ashamed to talk about Jesus, and I wasn’t afraid that they might make fun of me because I loved the Eucharist.
This brief story of holiness is part of the great journey and mission of the Saints. Carlo Acutis’ personal journey invites us to let ourselves be transformed little by little by God’s grace; to give God and others the best of ourselves. This reality is manifested in the following conclusions of the girl catechumens:
“The interview marked me,” says Caroline, “I realized how important it is to go to Mass, especially on Sundays, and to go to Communion.” “I was very sad that he died so young,” explains Pamela, “but with his life, Carlo left his family happiness and serenity.” “I didn’t know anything about Carlo Acutis’ life, and when we began this interview I was curious,” adds Teresa, “now I have learned how important it is to follow the way God has for each one.” Maria Luigia says: Carlo Acutis’ story has left me the message that Jesus really exists and that the Eucharist is very important!”
“With this interview, I was encouraged to go to Mass always,” explains Annalisa, “I must tell others about Carlo Acutis’ life, and I understood that friendship with Jesus is something that I cannot keep to myself.” “We have done something beautifl because I have understood that for God each one of us is unique; it’s wonderful to be a friend of Jesus,” says Eugenia. “When we saw all the videos about Carlo Acutis, I understood that Jesus is always with us and I also saw the importance of helping needy people, as Carlo Acutis did, who also shared his snacks with the poor,” explains Virginia. “Carlo was happy to go to Mass: this impresses me!“, concludes Benedetta.
Translation by Virginia M. Forrester