A young Italian man born in 1991 who is set to be beatified can be an example to Irish youth to be individuals and not fall into depression and drugs, according to the bishop of Waterford and Lismore.
Bishop Phonise Cullinan told this paper that computer programmer Carlo Acutis was “obviously in love with God and in love with others and so cheerful”.
“So many of our young people are going around with long faces and how many of them are caught in depression and drug addiction? It’s chronic and here we have a young man who’s telling us there is no need for all of this, Jesus loves you and just go for it and love him back.”
It was announced over the weekend that Carlo would be beatified on October 10.
He was born in 1991 and died of leukemia aged 15.
The fact Carlo would have been the same age as many youths in their 20s now, Bishop Phonsie says, is something “that can speak to young people right now”.
“He’s just a wonderful young man. One of the quotes from him that really struck me, in English it’s ‘we are born unique, but so many of us die photocopies’, isn’t that so true?
“How many people just mimic the trend and never really become themselves? Rather than using their freedom to be the people that God wants them to be and use all their God-given gifts they tend to follow the crowd, wherever the crowd is going, which is usually in the wrong direction.
Bishop Phonsie said that “we all need role models in life no matter who we are, whether we’re conscience of it or not we’re constantly being influenced by those around us”.
These role models, if the influence is good, he said a person’s “actions will tend to be good, and the opposite is also true”.
“In every Christian’s life there are people whom we emulate, even if you take something as simple as picking a name for Confirmation, you tend to pick a name of a saint that you have some affinity with, some connection to and being inspired by that particular saint.
He added: “[Carlo] was such a ‘normal’ young lad but at the same time so individual an some of the things that he has said are so profound.”
The beatification will take place in Assisi at 4pm at the Basilica of St Francis.
Carlo was born in London to Italian parents who soon returned to Milan. He attended daily Mass, frequently praying the Rosary and making weekly confessions.
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