The glass that has allowed pilgrims to view Blessed Carlo Acutis has been permanently covered on Monday as the official multi-week celebration of the Italian teen’s beatification in Assisi comes to an end.
Bishop Marcello Semeraro, the new prefect for the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints, offered Mass to mark the closing of his tomb on the evening of Oct. 19.
Though covered, Acutis’ tomb will remain in the Church of St. Mary Major’s Sanctuary of Spoliation in Assisi, where visitors will be able to pray before the tomb for years to come.
Thousands of people have already visited the final resting place of the young computer programmer and gamer, according to the Diocese of Assisi. The diocese announced last week its decision to extend the period of public veneration which began on Oct. 1 until Oct. 19.
Photos released after the opening of Acutis’ tomb on Oct. 1 caused some confusion online as to whether he might have been found to be incorrupt, which led the bishop of Assisi, Domenico Sorrentino, to clarify that the boy’s body, though intact, “was found in the normal state of transformation typical of the cadaveric condition.”
Pilgrims who stood in line outside the church in the weeks before and after Acutis’ Oct. 10 beatification were able to see a young person on the path to sainthood who lies in repose in jeans and a pair of Nike tennis shoes.
Sorrentino said in his homily at a Mass at the tomb Oct. 17 that Acutis, like St. Francis of Assisi, was “capable of speaking the language of young people, which is the language of originality, of authenticity.”
“Carlo and Francis want to speak to young people in their language to say that they are joyful, happy, original, but on the right path, which is the way of Jesus. We must therefore ensure that this language of theirs reaches young people,” he added.
In a Mass at the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Acutis became the first millennial to be beatified.
Growing up in Milan in the 1990s and early 2000s, he played video games and taught himself C++ and other computer programming languages. But many have testified that the center of the teen’s life was his strong devotion to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
From a young age, Acutis expressed a special love for God, even though his parents weren’t especially devout. As he grew older, he started attending daily Mass, often making Holy Hours before or after Mass, and went to confession weekly.
He built websites to inform others about Eucharistic miracles and Marian apparitions around the world. On his site, he told people, “the more often we receive the Eucharist, the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven.”
Acutis died of leukemia in 2006 at the age of 15. He offered his sufferings for Pope Benedict XVI and for the Church, saying: “I offer all the suffering I will have to suffer for the Lord, for the pope, and the Church.”