ADAMS: Future saints among us

November 10, 2020

On Oct. 10, Pope Francis celebrated the beatification of Carlo Acutis.

Carlo was a very talented Italian teenager who had a great devotion to the Eucharist and was a young computer programmer who created a program that documented and categorized all of the Eucharistic miracles throughout the world. Carlo developed leukemia and offered up his suffering for Pope Benedict XVI and the universal Church. He died on Oct. 12, 2006, at the age of 15. He is the first millennial to receive beatification.

It was his devotion to the Eucharist that set him apart. His beatification brought up an important discussion question between my daughter and me regarding the possibility of more modern-day saints and could future saints be living among us now. I informed her that all of us should be working toward sainthood while on Earth.

Saints often have major life events that change them. It could be sickness, accident, a vision, career change, living situation or martyrdom. These incidents catalyze their road to sainthood and strengthen their commitment or call, but it’s not the only thing. Carlo was a typical teen, skilled on the internet, hanging out with friends, playing video games, had a huge sweet tooth, and who, even before his diagnosis, had a devout love for Christ, which inspired him to share that love with others in his daily actions.

One of the most critical stages toward sainthood is examining whether the candidate has lived a life of heroic virtue while on the Earth. Carlo had an extreme love for the Eucharist at an early age, which inspired his mother, who, before this time, had not attended Mass, to explore and deepen her knowledge of the faith.

As a teen, he looked out for his friends and was concerned about their home life and their souls. He stood up against bullies at school and defended the weak and forgotten. He continued to inspire all those around him.

Using his computer skills and the internet, he inspired those worldwide by compiling and sharing all the known Eucharistic miracles. It was by his example in choosing to live out his faith, giving himself to God, and modeling that love to all that showed this heroic virtue. He took an ordinary life and made it extraordinary by his actions. Who are the people in your life who you see take the ordinary and make it extraordinary by their devotion and actions as disciples of Christ?

Because of my ministry role, I am very blessed to see many of these future saints. As an advisor to the Archdiocesan Youth Council, I am extremely impressed by these young people and their daily devotion to living out their faith in prayer and in their actions and choices.

It’s not easy in today’s society, especially for teens, to practice heroic virtue, but these young people try each day despite friends, social media and society/cultural trends that can sometimes work against them.

In the words of Pope Francis to the youth during a Confirmation Mass in April 2013, “Pay attention, my young friends: to go against the current; this is good for the heart, but we need courage to swim against the tide. Jesus gives us this courage!” These young people swim against the tide each day in their walk.

I also see future saints in the people who guided me as a new youth minister in Galveston, the mom of three who volunteered in several ministries using her time and talent to serve Christ as catechist, fundraiser, decorator, finance council and throughout her community; the neighboring DRE and youth minister; the senior women of our weekly Bible study who gave me advice before marriage, during marriage and parenthood. In the wonderful coworkers who supported ministry and two pastors who guided me.

I see it in the priests who go out of their way to serve the youth and their parishioners even during a pandemic. The Archdiocesan and parish staffs who show a true vocation in carrying out the Church’s mission, despite challenges and changes. The husband and wife at my parish who live out their faith by inspiring their girls and others through their service and devotion not only to their parish but the Archdiocese and their daughters’ schools.

These people’s actions are rooted in their love for Christ and the Church, not for money, fame or glory. And like young Carlo, they see themselves as ordinary people trying to live the best life possible as followers of Christ. Your challenge is to look at the people in your life that you see as future saints and how you can model their example in your own life to help build the kingdom of God here on Earth. 

Randy Adams, executive director of Camp Kappe, and associate director of Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization.