St Charles’ Borromeo – Feast Day 4th November
Charles Borromeo was born into a wealthy family in Rocca d’Arona in northern Italy on 2nd October 1538. He was a bright boy of 12 when he entered into clergy and in 1559, he received a degree of laws from the University of Padua. In the same year, his uncle was elected Pope Pius IV. Pope Pius IV asked Charles to Rome to help in administering the affairs of the Church.
Charles was made a cardinal to go with his position as personal assistant to the Pope. In 1563 Charles was ordained a priest and consecrated archbishop of Milan, but he continued to live in Rome and work with his uncle. He was given responsibility in Rome for the Church reform and he brought about proper religious instructions in the parishes, saw that the elaborate worship rituals were toned down and built a new seminary for the proper training of the clergy.
From 1566 Charles directed the Church in Milan because he was no longr needed in Rome after the death of his uncle in 1565. Over the years he was a remarkably effective bishop and his popularity with the people disturbed the Milanese senate. At one point an assassin was hired to kill him but failed.
When the plague of 1576-1578 struck Milan, Charles spent much of his time nursing the sick and almost all of the people of Milan respected Charles’s courage and tireless concern. He died on 3rd November 1584 and was canonized in 1610.
Remembrance Day 11th November
Remembrance Day was first observed in 1919 throughout the British Commonwealth. It was originally called “Armistice Day” to commemorate armistice agreement that ended the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m.—on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
Advent Sunday 3rd December
Advent starts the season for preparing for the coming of the Messiah and the celebration of Christmas with the birth of Jesus Christ. Advent always commences on the fourth Sunday before Christmas or the closest Sunday to St Andrew’s Day which falls on November 30th each year and ending on Christmas Day – thus lasting 4 weeks. Advent can start on any day from November 27th to December 3rd.
Epiphany 6th January
Western Churches celebrate Epiphany with a feast that commemorates the visit of the Magi (Three Kings, or Three Wise Men) to baby Jesus, signifying Jesus’s physical revealing to the Gentiles
Ash Wednesday, Lent, Lent Activities and Holy Week
Wednesday 14th February – Monday 1st April
Ashes were worn by people in the Old Testament to show their repentance (Jonah 3). We also wear ashes on Ash Wednesday as a sign of our repentance and grief for our sins. The ashes are a public sign of our intent to die to our world desires and live in Christ. As our foreheads are being marked, the priest says: “Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return”. (Genesis 3:19). The ashes come from the blessed palms used in the Palm Sunday celebration of the previous year. Ash Wednesday is the first day of the season of Lent.
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and is the period of 40 days that comes before Easter. It is a time of reflection and
spiritual renewal in preparation for Good Friday and Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.
40 is a significant number in the Bible: In Genesis, rain fell for 40 days and nights in the great flood.
The Israelites spent 40 years in the wilderness before entering the promised land.
Moses fasted for 40 days before receiving the Ten Commandments.
Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness before starting his ministry.
During Lent: Catholics fast from (give up) meat on Fridays and some meals on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Almsgiving (giving to the poor) is particularly encouraged.
The Stations of the Cross are prayed in our churches.
Palm Sunday 24th March – Matthew 21:1-11
Maundy Thursday 28th March Mark 14:12-50 and John 13
Good Friday 29th March Mark 15
Holy Saturday 30th March Romans 6:3-11
Easter Sunday 31st March Luke 24
Stations of the Cross
Prayerful meditation through the Stations of the Cross is especially common during Lent and on Fridays throughout the year, in commemoration of Christ’s Crucifixion on Good Friday. The devotion may be done individually or in a group.
Ascension Day 9th May
Ascension Day is the 40th day of Easter occurring 39 days after Easter Sunday. It commemorates Jesus Christ’s ascension into heaven and marks the 40th day after Jesus Christ’s resurrection.
Pentecost 19th May
It commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and other disciples following the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ and it marks the beginning of the Christian church’s mission to the world.