The Catholic Church Is About to Canonize Its First Gamer Saint – IGN

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Well, it was bound to happen eventually: the Catholic Church is preparing to canonize the first-ever gamer saint.

Earlier today, the Vatican announced it would canonize Carlo Acutis, an Italian teenager who will be the first millenial saint of the Catholic Church. Acutis died from leukemia in 2006 at the age of 15.

Acutis was born in 1991 in London, and moved to Milan, Italy with his family not long after. He grew up in the Catholic faith, frequently volunteering with homeless individuals, cleaning up litter in his neighborhood, working at his local church, and otherwise performing acts of kindness.

Alongside other hobbies and interests, Acutis apparently enjoyed video games and was known to play Halo, Mario, and Pokemon. His mother claims that while he purchased a PlayStation when he was eight, he limited himself to just one hour of gaming a week due to concerns about addiction. Acutis was adept with technology, and has been referred to as “God’s influencer” due to his work documenting various Catholic miracles on a website he designed.

A tapestry featuring a portrait of Carlo Acutis is hang at the St. Francis Basilica during the beatification ceremony of Carlo Acutis, on October 10, 2020 in Assisi, Italy. Photo Credit: Vatican Pool/Getty Images
A tapestry featuring a portrait of Carlo Acutis is hang at the St. Francis Basilica during the beatification ceremony of Carlo Acutis, on October 10, 2020 in Assisi, Italy. Photo Credit: Vatican Pool/Getty Images

Acutis has been undergoing the multiple steps of the canonization process for the last several years. Canonization can often take years or even decades, typically requiring at least two miracles be attributed to the candidate alongside further evidence of a life of faith. But Acutis’ cause has been taken up by many in part due to his relatability and popularity with younger Catholics.

The cause for his canonization was opened in 2012, just six years after his death (a five-year wait period is required). He was decreed “Venerable” in 2018, and beatified (declared “Blessed”) just two years later in 2020, when the Catholic Church recognized one miracle attributed to him. Allegedly, a Brazilian boy with a severe birth defect who was unable to consume food normally was healed after his mother prayed for Acutis’ intercession. A second miracle, involving a Costa Rican girl who supposedly was healed from a head trauma after her mother prayed at Acutis’ tomb, has since been attributed to him.

With both miracles recognized by the Church, Acutis is set to be canonized, and will most likely be named a saint in 2025.

Notably, Acutis is the very first millenial Catholic saint, and the first ever saint (that we know of) to have played video games. This is in part due to the difficulty of canonization and the length of time it usually takes, resulting in most being canonized tens or even hundreds of years posthumously. In this case, Acutis’ youth and recognizability among younger Catholics may be helpful to the Church in its ongoing efforts to connect with younger individuals and digital natives.

Rebekah Valentine is a senior reporter for IGN. Got a story tip? Send it to rvalentine@ign.com.

Image Credit: Vatican Pool/Getty Images



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