This weekend St. Charles Borromeo Parish is celebrating our patronal feast day, transferred to Sunday from November 4. This is permitted during the season of Ordinary Time so that more parishioners may participate in its observance.
Saint Charles Borromeo was born at Arona, in Lombardy, in northern Italy, on October 2, 1538, the second of two sons in a family of six. He had a lifelong speech impediment, perhaps stuttering. He received clerical tonsure at age 12. After having earned degrees in both civil and canon law in 1559, his uncle was elected Pope Pius IV. The next year the pope made him a cardinal and appointed him the administrator of the Diocese of Milan, even though he was not yet a priest. However because of a number of other papal appointments, he had to remain in Rome. When the pope decided to reconvene the Council of Trent, Charles worked hard to make this happen. The council reopened in 1562 and completed its work over the next two years. Charles was particularly active in drafting the Catechism, and in the reform of the liturgical books and church music. In 1563 he was ordained a priest and two months later, a bishop. Only after the death of Pius IV and the election of Saint Pius V could he actually reside in his diocese of Milan.
As a true pastor of his flock Charles tirelessly promoted Christian life by the reform of his diocese, the convocation of synods, and the promulgation of regulations intended to foster the Church’s mission. Concerned for the proper instruction of children, he founded the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. In 1570, during a famine, he procured supplies for the poor and himself fed about 3,000 people daily for three months. In 1576, when Milan was struck by the plague, he organized care for the sick, burial for the dead and daily food supplies for up to 70,000 people for almost two years. Weakened by frequent travel, lack of sleep, and the strain of work and worry, Charles fell ill while on his annual retreat in October 1584. He returned to Milan, received the last sacraments and died on November 3, 1584, at age 46.
At. St. Peter we are celebrating the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time. Today’s Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 63, is often used as the first psalm in Morning Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office. It expresses the sentiment with which believers should begin each day—looking forward to whatever God has in store. Note that today’s Second Reading and Gospel draw our attention to the life of the world to come and the union with God that we hope to experience when we pass from this world to the next. So, if we begin each day with a longing for union with God, we will be like the wise virgins in today’s Gospel, ready to meet the Bridegroom when he comes to welcome us into his heavenly wedding banquet.
We have entered the final weeks of the liturgical year. The biblical readings during this time teach about the end of earthly life, judgment, resurrection and heaven. In today’s Second Reading Saint Paul teaches about the resurrection of the dead on the last day. On that day the bodies of all who have died will be raised up to share in our eternal destiny. With this view in mind today’s Gospel invites us to imitate the five wise virgins in being ready to welcome Jesus, the Bridegroom, whenever he should come. Whether this means his final return in glory or his coming to us at the time of our death makes no difference. Our longing to be with him will fill us with joy, if our lamps are fueled with the oil of sanctifying grace, replenished by frequent reception of the sacraments, especially penance and the eucharist. Faith is the wisdom in whose light we keep a lifelong vigil for the coming of the Lord.
Pray the rosary again this week for the souls in purgatory and for people who have been away from the Church. Pray for all who have been elected to public office and, as always, pray for peace.
May God bless his people with peace.