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September 2, 2009
New order in archdiocese follows in steps of St. Charles Borromeo
By John Gleason
“By John Gleason
In the 1980s a group of priests in Italy asked the vicar of Rome, Cardinal Ugo Poletti, if they could form a priestly association to form young men for the missionary priesthood. On Sept. 14, 1985, the new association called the Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo was formed with a grand total of seven priests and 10 seminarians.
Today the Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo is made up of more than 100 priests and 25 seminarians who serve the Church around the world. Recently, the order has come to include a presence in the Archdiocese of Denver.
On July 6, Father Michael Carvill, F.S.C.B., and Father Accursio Ciaccio, F.S.C.B., assumed duties as pastor and parochial vicar respectively at Nativity of our Lord Parish in Broomfield. Father Carvill said he is excited to be in northern Colorado and to share the charism of his order.
“The order was born in the context of the Catholic lay movement, Communion and Liberation,” he explained. “Of all the definitions I’ve heard of it over the years, the one I like the best is, ‘It’s an instance of the church alive; Catholicism actively lived by its members.’”
The Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo already had missions in Boston, Mass., and Washington, D.C., but was looking to open a new mission in the United States when they received an invitation from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
“The archbishop’s invitation was very warm and heartfelt,” Father Carvill said. “My superiors entered into discussion with people in the archdiocese and that led to myself and Father Ciaccio being sent here.”
Founded in the 1950s, the lay movement Communion and Liberation spread quickly across Italy and eventually through Europe. Many members, including Father Carvill, felt called to the missionary vocation.
“The mission has to be understood in the context of Pope John Paul II’s call for a re-evangelization,” he said. “We’re missionaries in the sense that we respond to the pope’s invitation. And that is why there are now missionaries in Broomfield. Today, we are spread across the world with 100 priests in our society now in Siberia, Africa, Europe, North and South America. Worldwide it is small, but it is a growing movement.”
Father Carvill encountered Communion and Liberation while working as a computer programmer in Brussels, Belgium. This was the first step in a journey that led to his ordination in 1990.
“I encountered the vigor and strength of the Catholic life,’ he said. “I was entirely drawn to the movement and having considered the priestly vocation in the past and really being ultimately convinced that this is what I was called to I found my way to fulfill that vocation in the Fraternity of St. Charles Borromeo.”
St. Charles Borromeo was born Oct. 2, 1538. The nephew of Pope Pius IV, Charles served as secretary of state and administrator to the see of Milan. He was responsible for the establishment of seminaries, colleges and communities for the education of candidates for holy orders. Following decrees at the Council of Trent, which suggested simplifying church interiors, Borromeo cleared cathedrals of ornate tombs, rich ornaments, banners, and arms. Some of these reforms were met with opposition from several religious groups, particularly the order known as Humiliati (Brothers of Humility). Some members of that society formed a conspiracy against his life, and a shot was fired at him in the archiepiscopal chapel. His survival was considered miraculous. He is the patron saint of learning and the arts.
Although having been pastor at Nativity for a short time, Father Carvill is looking forward to working with the people in his community. He calls the parish extraordinarily beautiful.
“The community of faith is a very healthy and strong one, I’m very edified by what I see here and the previous pastor left an administration that’s in impeccable order,” he said. “Recently, I was speaking with a fellow priest from another diocese describing the situation and the parish and he said I had pretty much a dream situation.”