Located in the heart of the small Principality of Monaco, St. Charles Parish serves a big international community which includes people of 32 different nationalities who speak a variety of languages. The English speaking chaplaincy of St. Charles Catholic Church was expanded in 2009 and has since become a vibrant prayer community gathering together each Sunday at noon to celebrate the Eucharist. This liturgy is the only Catholic mass celebrated in English on the Riviera and it draws people from many of the towns and villages surrounding Monaco, and as far away as Nice and the border towns of the Italian Riviera.
Prince Charles III, in 1879, ordered the construction of a place of worship in the new tourist district of Monte Carlo to meet the spiritual needs of a population that was becoming more numerous. According to the wishes of the Prince, the new church was dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo, whose family had been united to the Princely Grimaldi family. A connection between the two noble families still exists today.
The cornerstone of St. Charles was laid and blessed by Bishop Charles Theuret on November 11, 1879. The church was completed and opened for worship on Easter Monday, March 26, 1883, then was elevated to a parish church March 15, 1887. The church was officially dedicated November 9, 1912 by Bishop Jean-Charles Arnal of Curel, second Bishop of Monaco. During the centenary year in 1983, Prince Rainier III undertook the major restoration work inside the church. Severely degraded by the sea air and pollution, the facades and the tower were completely renovated in 2003. This church building is considered one of the true jewels of Monaco and is frequently visited by members of all faiths as a refuge of peace and prayerful tranquility. Additionally, many come to marvel at the sacred artwork and the architectural beauty of the church, which has become a tourist attraction in its own right. This year the parish is celebrating the centenary of the official dedication with a variety of activities and events.
Since April 6, 1950, at the request of Prince Rainier III, the administration of St. Charles Parish was entrusted to the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, The Charism of the Oblates is to Live Jesus according to the Spiritual Directory, developed by St. Francis de Sales, whose end and means are union with the Will of God. The mission of the Congregation is to grow as a religious community in loving union with God and with each other, to share their charism with the People of God, and affirm them in "living Jesus" as the needs of the Church dictate. As Christian humanists, the Oblates believe in the dignity, worth and responsible liberty of each person and they strive to approach each person in a gentle and humble way while fostering peace and justice in the world community.
All are welcome to attend the English mass for prayer and lively Christian song, led by our wonderful choir and accompanied by our historic 17th century organ, each Sunday at Noon. The parish also has French mass each day at 08h30 &18h30 and each Sunday at 08h30, 10h30 & 18h30.
St. Charles offers catechism classes in English for children of all ages. Children can enroll for sacramental preparation in the following courses: confession, communion, profession of faith, and confirmation.
There is also a general catechism class for children ages 6 years old to 12 years old. This Catechism class covers a variety of topics and focuses on learning and having fun in a wholesome environment. Lessons focus on teaching basic Christian values, such as respect, responsibility, self-control, honesty, compassion, thankfulness, perseverance, humility, loyalty, and faith in God. All lessons will be followed by craft projects or social activities that reinforce the lesson. Students in this class are not preparing for sacraments. Children of all denominations are welcome in this class.
All English catechism classes meet on Tuesday’s, once or twice a month, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
For further information, call the parish office or e-mail Father Marc at: firstname.lastname@example.org