The Brisbane Oratory-in-Formation Project

In mid 2011 an inspiration to work towards establishing the first Australian Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri was conceived. This desire nurtured in prayer has begun to bear fruit. There remains much development and maturation to take place, but by the grace and providence of God we have made a solid beginning.

Our emerging community has been called together by the Lord under the patronage of Our Lady, St. Philip Neri, Blessed John Henry Newman and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati.

We comprise Priests from three different Australian Dioceses and four Seminarians, who are introduced to you elsewhere on this website. The four of us as Priests are grateful for the support and encouragement of our own Bishops. Our Bishops have shown a remarkable generosity and a broad vision for the needs of the wider Church in Australia, rather than an exclusive focus on their own immediate need for Priests. Without the support of our individual Bishops an Australian Oratory would not be possible.

The Lord’s providence has led us to the Archdiocese of Brisbane as our home or ‘Domus’. A permanent ‘home’ with all that it implies is integral to an Oratorian vocation, apostolate and rule of life. We are very grateful to Archbishop Mark Coleridge for warmly welcoming and encouraging us. We thank him for his support, confidence and vision in giving this project for Priestly community life a chance to succeed.

 The Archbishop is yet to decide exactly where our home will be in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. One consideration is likely to be the traditional Oratorian apostolate that inspires and unites us together with a common vision and sense of purpose. We seek to further the mission of the Church and give glory to almighty God through a focus on the Solemn Celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, the ministry of the Confessional and the formation of young people in the fullness of the Catholic faith. As Priests we seek to live an Oratorian community life, not for our own benefit, but that we may be better able to serve God’s people.

In many ways we are dealing with a ‘two speed’ Oratory formation process. In the case of us as Priests we are not able to formally begin our Community in formation in Brisbane until mid 2015 at the earliest and perhaps not until early 2016. This is because of the nature of our present pastoral assignments and the difficulty in finding replacements for us. This is also why some of our names are not yet public, so as to assist our present pastoral effectiveness for as long as possible. At the same time, for our student, the Brisbane Oratory in formation has already begun. This is a key reason why the Archbishop agreed to a media release about this project so early.

We would also like to gratefully acknowledge the practical and prayerful support we have received from several long established Congregations of the Oratory from around the world. The Fathers of the London, Oxford and Toronto Oratories in particular have provided us with invaluable assistance and encouragement along the way. We sincerely thank them and look forward to the benefit of their continuing guidance and friendship. We are also grateful to Fr. Mario Aviles C.O. the Procurator General of the Congregation of the Oratory for his encouragement and support and to Fr. Uwe Michael Lang C.O of the London Oratory. Fr. Lang has been appointed the delegate of the Procurator General to help and guide this project to completion.

We invite you to please prayerfully support this new initiative for the Church in Australia. We will provide periodic updates on our progress through the ‘latest news’ button of this website. If you can assist with a donation this would be very much appreciated. Finally we would like to express our gratitude to the many Lay faithful who have already been extraordinarily generous in supporting us through fervent prayer and financial support. In Jesus name – Thank you.

Media Release:

Congregation of the Oratory in formation to be established within Brisbane by 2016

For the last two years, a new initiative for the Church in Australia has been quietly and slowly developing behind the scenes. It has now reached a significant early milestone with this first public announcement released today.

With the permission and support of Archbishop Mark Coleridge, a Congregation of the Oratory in formation is to be established within the Archdiocese of Brisbane by early 2016 and perhaps earlier during 2015.

The Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri is a “Society of Apostolic life” founded under the guidance of the Confederation of the Oratory (based in Rome) and with the permission of the local Ordinary. An Oratory provides an opportunity for priests to live their vocation in a more structured community than is typically experienced by diocesan priests, but with more flexibility than a religious order. Above all, it is a community of charity in the spirit of St. Philip Neri, the “joyful saint”.

A Congregation of the Oratory begins its life as an Oratory “community in formation” consisting of priests and perhaps seminarians. This formation phase lasts for at least three years. During this time, the maturing community is supported and guided by an Oratorian delegate appointed by the Procurator General of the Oratory in Rome. Other established Oratories may also provide support and assistance as requested. The formation process also takes place under the supervision of the local Ordinary who has invited the community into his Diocese. After at least three years and with the approval of the local Bishop and the Procurator General, the community may petition the Holy See to be canonically established as a fully fledged Congregation of the Oratory.

The Brisbane community in formation will comprise four experienced diocesan priests in good standing from different Australian Dioceses as well as two seminarians. These young men will begin their studies for the priesthood in an overseas Oratorian seminary in September this year.

The location of the Brisbane Oratory in formation and the ministries undertaken by the community are yet to be decided by the Archbishop. Further updates about the progress of this project , a first for the Church in Australia, will be provided in due course to keep everyone informed of developments.

Released by the Catholic Communications Office, Archdiocese of Brisbane (April 12, 2013)