Follow usTwitterFacebook

Latest

15 Sep 2016 News No comments

Pregnant woman loses baby after violent attack

The woman was subject to a racial attack in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire An unborn baby has died after a pregnant woman was attacked by a man in a supermarket ca…

Read more

20 Nov 2015 News Vatican No comments

Vatican Mount Christmas Tree already: Watch Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk16J0215uM Though it's still November but the Vatican have her Christmas Tree already, blowing the holidays spirit around to…

Read more

18 Aug 2016 News No comments

Bishop heading to Vatican will miss ‘beautiful people and culture’ of Dallas

  Bishop Kevin Farrell, head of the new office for marriage and family life, say the subjects are key for the future of society The importance of the voc…

Read more

20 May 2015 Vatican No comments

Monday Meeting of Curia Leaders was devoted to Jubilee Year plans

When Pope Francis met on May 18th, 2015 with top officials of the Roman Curia, the meeting was devoted to plans for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Vatican Insider r…

Read more

22 Oct 2015 News Vatican No comments

Synod finds strong support for Church teaching in communion debate

Despite pastoral challenges posed by divorced-and-civilly-remarried Catholics, many synod fathers are in favor of current Church teaching and practice according…

Read more

24 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (14)

Can a bishop prohibit receiving Communion on the tongue?

 Full Question Recently I was attending Mass in another diocese, and when I approached the extraordinary minister of the Eucharist to receive on the tongue…

Read more

31 May 2016 Vatican No comments

Pope urges Catholics and Orthodox Christians to join in prayer for Syrian children

The joint Day of Prayer for Peace, sponsored by Aid to the Church in Need, is one of several initiatives to promote peace in the troubled country Pope Francis …

Read more

16 Jun 2016 Articles No comments

Forcing Families to Attend Mass

When inquirers call into Catholic Answers, they sometimes share concerns about practices going on in their parish. Those concerns often center around the Mass a…

Read more

12 Sep 2016 News No comments

Macedonians gather at St Teresa’s birthplace to celebrate canonisation

The event came at the end of a week of festivities organised by Macedonia's parliament Hundreds of people have gathered in the main square of Macedonia’s capit…

Read more
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
«
»

500 years on, St Philip Neri is still bringing people together in prayer

  • Written by:
  • 1 Reply

Five hundred years ago today, on July 21 1515, St Philip Neri, the founder of the Oratorians was born in Florence. It is an anniversary that is dear to my heart, because a key reason I moved to London was to be near the London Oratory and be in a position to assist at Mass there. When the London Oratory was first opened in 1884, the Brompton Road location was thought to be removed from the centre of town, an idea that surely makes St Philip chuckle in Heaven today!

St Philip spent 60 years in the Eternal City, and is known as the Apostle of Rome. He would spend whole nights in deep prayer in the Catacombs and during the day he would visit the sick in hospital. St Philip is often called the founder of a religious order, but this is not true, because The Oratorians are not a religious order at all. They are a group of secular priests living in a community under a rule. But each Oratorian does not lead the life of a secular priest – they are not moved from church to church by their bishop. A man who feels called to be an Oratorian enters a particular Oratory with the intention of remaining there all his life. But each priest is not bound to the Congregation of the Oratory by a vow or promise, and is free at any time to leave and join a religious order. What is the bond that binds them? They are united by a bond of love, which is fitting because their founder is the patron saint of joy. Every house of the Oratory governs itself and is independent of the others.

The very beginning of the Congregation of the Oratory was in around 1552 when St Philip would gather groups of young laymen for prayer, discussion and reading. Over time, these meetings were moved from St Philip’s private quarters to “an oratory” (which simply means a place of prayer). In the first instance, they found a place in the church of San Girolamo. The Congregation grew from these very prayer meetings, and one of St Philip’s favourite expressions was, “give me ten truly detached men and I do not despair of converting the world with them.”

For modern Catholics, the Oratory signifies loyalty to Rome, while having remarkably reverent liturgies. Nowadays attending the Oratory (perhaps in the Oxford Oratory or in the Brompton Oratory) has become synonymous with a desire to worship in a pre-Vatican II way. But down through the years, I’ve known Catholics of all stripes who love to pray there because there is a time of silence before and after Mass, which allows the brain to become quiet, freeing it from noisy distractions that might divert our attention from raising our hearts and minds to God. The odd time I have seen a celebrity a few pews away, but never have I seen someone interrupt them when they are praying. The Oratory is a selfie-free zone.

The heart of St Philip’s apostolate, bringing people together in prayer in “an oratory”, is still beating strong and is a source of spiritual lifeblood to the many who attend the Oratories all over the world. St Philip was canonised in 1622 on the same day as St Teresa of Avila, St Ignatius and St Isidore. The joke that went round Rome was, “today they canonised three Spaniards and one saint”.









wpsd_autopost:
1

1 comment

  1. J. E. S. Bradshaw Reply

    I wish you hadn’t left out the lovely Birmingham Oratory.

Leave a Reply

  1. most read post
  2. Most Commented
  3. Choose Categories