Monday, November 8, 2010
BARCELONA, Spain: Barcelona's Church of the Holy Family is not only the masterpiece of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926), it's also a catechesis on the life of Christ, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope praised the work of Gaudí today before praying the midday Angelus together with those gathered at the church, and after he presided at the Holy Family's dedication Mass, during which he declared the church a minor basilica.
He noted how "the genius" of Gaudí, "filled with devotion to the Holy Family of Nazareth," and "inspired by the ardour of his Christian faith, succeeded in raising this sanctuary as a hymn of praise to God carved in stone."
"A praise of God," the Pontiff added, "which, as with the birth of Christ, has had as its protagonists the most humble and simple of people."
Benedict XVI said that through Gaudí used his craft to "bring the Gospel to everyone."
"For this reason," the Pope explained, "he conceived of the three porticos of the exterior of the church as a catechesis on the life of Jesus Christ, as a great rosary, which is the prayer of ordinary people, a prayer in which are contemplated the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries of our Lord."
The Holy Father also noted the charitable works of the architect, who "designed and financed from his own savings the creation of a school for the children of the workers and of the poorest families of the neighborhood, which was at that time a outlying suburb of Barcelona."
Reflecting on the family, the Pontiff called it the "hope of humanity."
He noted that Christ, "under the watchful care of Joseph and Mary, in the silence of the home of Nazareth, taught us without words of the dignity and the primordial value of marriage and the family."
Benedict XVI said that it is in the family where "life finds its welcome from conception to natural death."
"[Christ] has taught us also that the entire Church, by hearing and putting his word into practice, becomes his family," the Pope added. "And he has exhorted us to be a seed of fraternity which, sown in every heart, nourishes hope."
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
St. Charles Borromeo
Born: 2 October 1538
Died: 4 November 1584
Feast Day: November 4
Patron Saint of: catechists, seminarians
Charles was the son of Count Gilbert Borromeo and Margaret Medici, sister of Pope Pius IV. He was born at the family castle of Arona on Lake Maggiore, Italy, on 2 October 1538. He received the clerical tonsure when he was twelve and was sent to the Benedictine abbey of SS. Gratian and Felinus at Arona for his education.
In 1559 his uncle was elected Pope Pius IV and the following year, named him his Secretary of State and created him a cardinal and administrator of the see of Milan. He served as Pius' legate on numerous diplomatic missions and in 1562, was instrumental in having Pius reconvene the Council of Trent, which had been suspended in 1552. Charles played a leading role in guiding and in fashioning the decrees of the third and last group of sessions. He refused the headship of the Borromeo family on the death of Count Frederick Borromeo, was ordained a priest in 1563, and was consecrated bishop of Milan the same year. Before being allowed to take possession of his see, he oversaw the catechism, missal, and breviary called for by the Council of Trent. When he finally did arrive at Milan (which had been without a resident bishop for eighty years) in 1556, he instituted radical reforms despite great opposition, with such effectiveness that it became a model see. He put into effect measures to improve the morals and manners of the clergy and laity, raised the effectiveness of the diocesan operation, established seminaries for the education of the clergy, founded a Confraternity of Christian Doctrine for the religious instruction of children and encouraged the Jesuits in his see. He increased the systems to the poor and the needy, was most generous in his help to the English college at Douai, and during his bishopric held eleven diocesan synods and six provincial councils. He founded a society of secular priests, Oblates of St. Ambrose (now Oblates of St. Charles) in 1578, and was active in preaching, resisting the inroads of Protestantism, and bringing back lapsed Catholics to the Church. He encountered opposition from many sources in his efforts to reform people and institutions.
He died at Milan on the night of 3-4 November 1584, and was canonized in 1610. He was one of the towering figures of the Catholic Reformation, a patron of learning and the arts, and though he achieved a position of great power, he used it with humility, personal sanctity, and unselfishness to reform the Church of the evils and abuses so prevalent among the clergy and the nobles of the times.Prayer to St. Charles Borromeo