The inaugural Vallicella Dinner for the Brisbane Oratory in Formation was an amazing success. Just over 170 people gathered at the Stamford Hotel on the solemnity of our principal patron, Our Lady Help of Christians, to have a night of good food, fine wine and great fellowship combined with an excellent talk by Matthew Arnold about Our Lady of Good Success. Much fun was had with the live and silent auctions as well as the raffle. The ‘drawcards’ for the live auction were a zucchetto from the Holy Father, Pope Francis, from Cardinal George Pell and from the newly-consecrated Bishop Robert Byrne, Auxiliary of Birmingham, England; the first Oratorian bishop in that country for 140 years. Three of the priests of the Brisbane Oratory, Frs Chandler, Sharp and Wise, were also interviewed about the Oratory and its charisms and apostolates. As a result, much valuable information was provided to the gathered supporters of this new venture for the Church in Brisbane and in Australia.
While final figures are not available, it seems that sufficient funds were raised to support two seminarians for a year at Toronto Oratory, where our first student, Br Shawn Murphy, is coming to the end of his first year of formation. Three young men from different parts of Australia are interested in joining Br Shawn in formation towards being priests of the Brisbane Oratory. We give thanks to God and our heavenly patrons as well as to the many loyal supporters who pray for us and support financially.