One of my many beloved duties at Catholic Exchange includes talking about great Catholic books and writers on radio and TV, in both Catholic and secular markets. However, the most recent figure I got to discuss was Bl. Carlo Acutis, whose 30th birthday we celebrated this month with many Catholic stations hosting me to answer questions about the Millennial Saint.
Bl. Carlo died in 2006 at the age of 15. So why did so many people want to talk about this Italian teenager who passed away over a decade ago?
Even though he died before he even reached adulthood, Bl Carlo left behind a great legacy of Catholic evangelization. His own life was filled with a profound love of the Eucharist, which he had embraced at the young age of 7, even asking to be confirmed early.
He spoke of his time in Eucharistic adoration as if he was talking to his best friend. He was like a 21st century St. Therese, born in love with Christ, and it made his family, friends, and total strangers want to share in that same love. And that would be enough to call him a saint.
But Carlo was unlike any other saint in previous generations: he was a self-proclaimed geek who loved learning all about computers and the internet and how it could spread the faith. He used his love of computers and design to build up incredible websites full of information (with printable museum quality posters!) about Eucharistic miracles all around the world. He even set out to visit each of the famous places he researched. Unfortunately, leukemia would take him before he could complete this. But his work is far from over.
I love Bl Carlo. He and I are not too far apart in age, and I see so much of my generation in him. But he rose about our generational cynicism, consumerism, and nihilism to really embrace the love he found in faith.
In this past year, amidst the lockdowns, Bl. Carlo’s work was displayed in parishes across the world to remind people of the importance of the Eucharist. His work on the internet was used over a decade after his untimely death and that is why I think he is a fine patron saint to adopt in my little litany: the patron saint of new media evangelization.
The internet is ephemeral to most of us. The pictures of cats and clickbait headlines go by and it’s hard to remember social media scandals from two weeks ago. But Bl Carlo shows us that it can be much, much more. While he was just one person, a mere child, his work will endure for generations, much like ancient saints who adopted new technologies in order to spread the Gospel to all who would hear.
I am not Bl. Carlo, although I would like to be, but Catholic Exchange works to express the charism of this blessed Italian teen. We want the internet to be used as the means to evangelize, in our own little way to make saints in our lifetime for future generations. And our little way does indeed reach many people! Along with the hundreds of thousands of readers and listeners we serve, we’re also a resource for parishes and dioceses who need our work and insights to help their parishioners in their spiritual life. And, like Bl. Carlo, we are seeing the challenges and need to adapt to the constant changes of our mission field.
And the great thing is that we do this with minimal staff and budget. Through our friends at Sophia Institute Press and the generosity of our donors, we can still meet our readers needs while looking to the future. But to plan for our future also means I have to ask for support from those who have the means and this is why I’m reaching out to you today.
Our supporters have helped us adapt to so many changes since CE launched decades ago and, through the help of both saints and supporters, we will continue to adapt to the new challenges of things like social media censorship, apocalyptic mass attendance, and social discord. But we will only be able to begin that long work through your support today. So, if you have been influenced or blessed by the work of Catholic Exchange, can you help us today with a donation of $10, $24 or even $100. If you can also help us by committing to a monthly donation, you’ll allow us to truly consider our future efforts.
I know the last year has been difficult and not all can give, but I would be grateful if you could add us to your prayer intentions. In fact, please pray for us whether you can donate or not, and I especially recommend Bl. Carlo as a prayer companion.
For all of you who pray for us and support us financially, I cannot thank you enough for allowing us the blessing of working in our small way to bring the truths of our faith across the globe to millions of people a year.