St. Charles Borromeo

saintc10Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo, patron saint of seminarians and catechists. Charles also happens to be my favorite saint.

Saint Charles Borromeo was born on October 2, 1534 in the Castle of Arona to Giberto Borromeo and Margaret de Medici. When Charles was 12 years old, he received the tonsure and was sent to study at the archabbey of SS. Gratian and Felinus in Milan.

In 1559, Charles’ uncle, Cardinal Gian-Angelo de Medici, was elected in conclave as Pope Pius IV. During the early stages of the Pontificate of Pius IV, Charles was named the Vatican Secretary of State, Archbishop of Milan, and Protector of the orders of St. Francis, the Carmelites, the Knights of Malta, and the Knights of the Holy Cross of Christ.

In 1562, Charles played an instrumental role in convincing Pius IV to have the Council of Trent reconvened because of the great need for reform in the Church. When the Council ended in 1563, the Reformer, as he would come to be known, oversaw the compilation of the Catechism, the missal, and the breviary. In 1556, Charles finally moved back to Milan, taking the helm of the Archdiocese, and overseeing many drastic reforms. These reforms made the Archdiocese of Milan a model for the rest of the Church.

Throughout his time as Archbishop, Borromeo instituted reforms in the fields of the morals and ethics of clergy and established seminaries to educate future priests. In 1578, Charles founded the Oblates of St. Ambrose, which was later changed to the Oblates of St. Charles. Throughout his time as a Cardinal Archbishop, Charles called for multiple synods, preached the Gospel fervently, opposed the gains of Protestantism, and brought many former Catholics back to the Church.

Charles Borromeo died on November 3, 1584 in Milan. He was canonized a saint by Pope Paul V on November 4, 1610 and is the patron of catechists, seminarians, spiritual directors, bishops, and catechumens.

St. Charles Borromeo introduced to the Church multiple reforms that were desperately needed to combat the growing tide of Protestantism. For the modern world, Charles can teach us to always remain faithful to our values and to always act in a moral, ethical way. Charles can also teach us to always persevere in carrying out actions that we believe are ethical because he instituted so many reforms for the Church, something that was opposed by so many.

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Prayer of St. Charles Borromeo

Almighty God, you have generously made known to human beings the mysteries of your life through Jesus Christ your son, in the Holy Spirit.

Enlighten my mind to know these mysteries which your Church treasures and teaches.

Move my heart to love them and my will to live in accord with them.

Give me the ability to teach this faith to others without pride, without ostentation, and without personal gain.

Let me realize that I am simply your instrument for bringing others to the knowledge of the wonderful things you have done for all your creatures.

Help me to be faithful to this task that you have entrusted to me.


Memorial of St. Charles Borromeo, Collect for Mass:

Preserve in the midst of your people, we ask, O Lord, the spirit with which you filled the Bishop Saint Charles Borromeo, that your Church may be constantly renewed and, by conforming herself to the likeness of Christ, may show his face to the world. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Today, the church celebrates the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As we go through the day, let us remember to thank Mary for her yes to the Lord and ask her to continue to guide us in the ways of her Son.

Birth of Mary by Ghirlandaio

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Magnificat (Source: Liturgy of the Hours)

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Divine Mercy Sunday

On the Second Sunday of Easter, the Catholic Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday, when we remember the Lord’s merciful love and compassion to all his faithful. Below is some information on this Feast of Mercy:

The Feast of the Divine Mercy or Divine Mercy Sunday falls on the Octave of Easter (the Sunday immediately following Easter). It is dedicated to the devotion to the Divine Mercy promoted by St. Faustina (Faustyna Kowalska), and is based upon an entry in St. Faustina’s diary stating that anyone who participates in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and receives the sacraments of Confession and the Holy Eucharist on this day is assured by Our Lord of full remission of sins, including the remission of all temporal punishment due to our sins.

According to the notebooks of Sister Faustina, Jesus made the following statements about this day:

“On that day the very depths of My tender mercy are open. I pour out a whole ocean of graces upon those souls who approach the fount of My mercy. The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment. On that day all the divine floodgates through which grace flow are opened. Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet. My mercy is so great that no mind, be it of man or of angel, will be able to fathom it throughout all eternity.” (Diary of Sr. Faustina, 699)

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