How Our Friendship With Carlo Acutis Was Born
Carlo Acutis takes Luca and his family "by the hand" in a difficult moment
These days, in the parish of the priests of the Fraternity of Saint Charles Borromeo here in Boston, the exhibition on the Eucharistic miracles made by Blessed Carlo Acutis is on display. During the past year we have been very devoted to Carlo because of my illness and we have prayed to him daily to intercede for my recovery. Yesterday we were together with two of our friends, Anna and Mattia, and we were wondering how this devotion was born.
Carlo was beatified on October 10, 2020, and I remember seeing some articles about the story of his life. I had read some of them but I hadn't paid particular attention. Ten days after his beatification, I received the diagnosis of my disease, acute lymphoblastic leukemia. I don't remember exactly how we started praying to Carlo, so I went to look for the words “Carlo Acutis” in my Whatsapp messages. Surprisingly, I found the first trace of it in a message dated October 20, 2020. At 11 am on that day I was diagnosed, and at 4:30 pm my friend Cecco from Italy wrote to me that he had prayed the rosary together with other friends and asked for the intercession of Carlo Acutis and Fr. Giussani.
I found the second trace of Carlo on my phone in a message from Mattia the next day, in which he said, “I am praying to Carlo Acutis for you.” On the following day, another friend from Italy, Beppe, wrote to me, “I started praying to Carlo Acutis so that he can accompany you in this difficult moment.”
On October 23, my sister Polly wrote on the family chat, “We are praying to Carlo Acutis.” On the same day (3 days after my diagnosis…and I only realize it now!!!) Giorgio, who at the time I didn't even know, but who then became a great friend and companion of prayer at the daily rosary on Zoom, was in Assisi and was praying for me at the tomb of Carlo. On October 27, my wife, Valentina, talked with Antonia, Carlo's mother, who would later send us a relic. Four days later, my friend Tia's sister was in Assisi and was praying for me at Carlo's tomb.
Meanwhile, Cecco and other friends had started saying a rosary on Zoom every evening at 9:30 pm, Italian time. By word of mouth, on November 2, there were 240 people connected for the rosary, and my dear friend Donata wrote to me, “Luca, we must add the prayer for Carlo Acutis, otherwise he will not feel directly addressed.” In the following days other friends wrote to me that they were praying to Carlo Acutis, and what’s most impressive is that all these friends who wrote to me about Carlo had absolutely nothing in common, none of them knew each other directly.
This is how our devotion for Carlo was born. From November 3, 2020, every evening for about 9 months and then every week for another 6 months we prayed the rosary on Zoom and asked for intercession from Carlo and Fr. Giussani.
While going through these messages with Anna and Mattia, Anna told me, “It is not you who chose Carlo, it is he who chose you.” And it is really true, because in a simple and discreet way Carlo entered our life through the testimony and prayer of many friends devoted to him. On our end, we were not fanatics at all – I hardly knew who he was. Only now, more than a year later, I recognize that after everything, it was Carlo who came forward, took us by the hand, and accompanied us all this time.
Luca, Boston, MA