Pope Francis blesses Carlo Acutis statue for orphanage in Egypt

By Courtney Mares for CNA

A lifesize statue of Blessed Carlo Acutis created by Matteo and Daniela Perathoner / Vatican Media

Vatican City, Mar 19, 2021 / 07:00 am (CNA).- Pope Francis has blessed a statue of Blessed Carlo Acutis which will be sent to an orphanage in Cairo, Egypt.

The pope received the family of Carlo Acutis in a private audience at the Apostolic Palace on March 18 after his general audience. Acutis’ parents, Andrea and Antonia, were present for the blessing of the statue of their recently beatified son, as were Carlo’s younger twin siblings, Francesca and Michele.

The lifesize statue of a young Carlo Acutis was created by Matteo and Daniela Perathoner, artists from northern Italy who specialize in hand-carved wooden crucifixes. It depicts the young blessed in a red polo shirt and tennis shoes with an image of the Eucharist radiating from his heart.

Blessed Carlo Acutis was a young Catholic from Italy with a passionate devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and an aptitude for computer programming.

From the ages of 12 to 14, he designed a website cataloging Eucharistic miracles around the world, which he launched in 2005. He died of leukemia a year later at the age of 15, offering his suffering for the pope and the Church.

Acutis became the first millennial to be beatified by the Catholic Church in October 2020. The live stream of his beatification Mass in Assisi went viral with hundreds of thousands of people watching online.

The statue of Acutis will be sent to the Oasis of the Pietà Orphanage, an initiative of the Bambino Gesù Association of Cairo, which also runs a women’s and children’s hospital in the Egyptian capital.

Pope Francis previously donated a copy of Michelangelo’s Pietà to this orphanage in June 2019, according to L’Osservatore Romano.

Msgr. Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, president of the Bambino Gesu Association of Cairo and the pope’s former second personal secretary, was also present at the private audience with the pope, as were the artists and Archbishop Domenico Sorrentino of Assisi, where Acutis’ tomb is located.

Pope Francis has said that the life of Blessed Carlo Acutis provides a witness for young people that true happiness is found when one puts God first.

The pope said on Oct. 11 that the “15-year-old boy in love with the Eucharist” did not “settle into comfortable inaction, but grasped the needs of his time because in the weakest he saw the face of Christ.”

“His witness indicates to today’s young people that true happiness is found by putting God first and serving Him in our brothers and sisters, especially the least,” he commented.

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