Even though I attended a college seminary named for him, I did not know a great deal about St. Charles Borromeo. I have learned much more recently thanks to a book “Charles Borromeo: Selected Orations, Homilies and Writings,” (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2017) which has selected writings of the saint.
I consulted the book recently because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) trauma that is affecting the whole world. St. Charles was the archbishop of Milan when the plague hit the city in 1576. Many of the issues he and his people faced sound familiar to us because of recent events.
The saint did not suspend Masses but did suggest they be celebrated outdoors, especially at crossroads where people could attend in a kind of rough “social distancing” protocol. That reminds me of the reports of drive-through confessions in parishes around the country amid our present crisis.