The Ambrosian City
I've fallen behind in reporting about last week's Italian trip. On my return journey to Linate airport, I was able to spend four hours in Milan, a city that I had never visited before. In some ways, it's the Italian equivalent of London: modern, bustling, cosmopolitan, wealthy but also full of charm and history. This is, after all, the city of St Ambrose. I only had time to visit the Duomo. The gothic fantasia on the outside is a stark contrast to the dark and austere interior. In the crypt is the shrine of the great reforming Archbishop, St Charles Borromeo.
I was reminded that St Edmund Campion, St Ralph Sherwin and companions stayed with St Charles on their journey from Rome to England in 1580. The Archbishop wrote to the Rector of the English College, Rome, about how impressed he had been by their learning and discourse.
Another saintly Archbishop was Blessed Ildefonso Schuster (Archbishop 1929-54), who was a Benedictine and a most distinguished liturgist (some readers will be familiar with his 5 volume work on The Sacramentary).
On the way back to the station I popped into church where I found an interesting and very simple example of the veneration of relics. A triangular stand holds a small circular reliquary with a relic of Blessed John XXIII. A candle burns in front of it. I have a few similar small relics - so this provided with an idea for the future. Note the marble altar frontal with St Joseph: