Tuesday, November 3, 2009

For All the Saints: Charles Borromeo

Wednesday we celebrate the memorial of St. Charles Borromeo. I know little about this 16th-century Italian saint. His mother was a Medici. His uncle was the Pope. He jump-started the Council of Trent. That's about it. What matters to me most about St. Charles is a fraternity of priests founded in 1985, born of an invitation from Pope John Paul II and closely associated with the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation. They call themselves the Fraternity of St. Charles (Borromeo). You can visit their Web site here. There is probably no more beautiful introduction to the Fraternity than this Web page about their missions to Siberia and elsewhere.

Communion and Liberation (CL) is one of the reasons I am a Catholic. Like many things good about Catholicism, I learned about CL through Ferde. Don't ask me why Ferde became my Virgil, my own personal guide to hell, purgatory, and paradise. One day in early 2008, before I was an "official" Catholic, I think, Ferde invited me to the meeting of a local group (a "School of Community") of CL, at the rectory, headed by Father Barnes. I went. I stayed.

What is CL? I am still figuring that out. You'll find no lectures about it here for now. The essence of it, for me, is a certain effort to see one's life clearly and in a new way, with faith as the point of departure, within the fellowship of a community. I suggest visiting the CL Web site. Like St. Mary Star of the Sea in Beverly, Massachusetts, I am truly happy to take part in it.