Main Altar – Charles Borromeo

Charles Borromeo (Italian: Carlo Borromeo and latinized as Carolus Borromeus, October 2, 1538 – November 3, 1584) is an Italian saint and was a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He worked during the period of the Counter-Reformation and was responsible for significant reforms in the Catholic Church, including the founding of seminaries for the education of priests. Pius IV named Borromeo as protonotary apostolic (secretary of state), entrusted with both the public and the privy seal of the ecclesiastical state. He then named Borromeo to the post of Cardinal of Romagna and the March of Ancona, and supervisor of the Franciscans, Carmelites and Knights of Malta. At age 22, Borromeo was highly trusted at the papal court. Soon afterward, Pius IV raised him to the archbishopric of Milan. He established an academy of learned persons, the Academy of the Vatican Nights, and published their memoirs as the Noctes Vaticanæ. About the same time, Borromeo founded and endowed a college at Padua, today known as Almo Collegio Borromeo, which he dedicated to Saint Justina. Owing to his influence over Pius IV, he facilitated the final deliberations of the Council of Trent. He took a large share in the creation of the Tridentine Catechism (Catechismus Romanus). Subsequently he devoted himself wholly to the reformation of his diocese. He made numerous pastoral visits and restored dignity to divine service. In conformity with the decrees of the Council of Trent, which suggested simplifying church interiors, Borromeo cleared the cathedral of ornate tombs, rich ornaments, banners and arms. He extended his reforms to the collegiate churches, monasteries and even to the Confraternities of Penitents. He believed that abuses in the church arose from clergy ignorance. Among his most important actions, he established seminaries, colleges and communities for the education of candidates for holy orders. His emphasis on Catholic learning greatly increased the preparation of men for priesthood and benefited their congregations. Borromeo’s manifold labors and austerities appear to have shortened his life. He was seized with an intermittent fever and died in Milan at the age of 46. He was canonized in 1610, and his feast is celebrated on November 4.

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