500th Anniversary of the Birth of St. Philip Neri

Philip Romolo Neri , Apostle of Rome and Patron Saint of Joy
was born in Florence July 21, 1515 and died May 26, 1595.

The Brooklyn Oratory travelled to Florence to join in an international week of events celebrating St. Philip in the city of his Birth.

Coordinated through the Florence Oratory, Members of Pontifical Congregations from across the globe and our lay Oratorians joined together for prayer, music and lectures in a spirit of familial joy.

We were blessed to stay in a guest house run by the Sisters of St. Philip!
Exterior of the Convent and Guesthouse.

Despite the extreme heat, it was all smiles as we arrived fo Mass at the Oratory Parish Church.
Both the spirit and image of St. Philip Neri were with us throughout the week.
Fr.s. Michael, Mark and Joel with S. Philip in the Sacristy before Mass.
In the Duomo before Mass.
Mass procession in  Florence’s majestic Duomo.
A choir of Polish girls sang with beautiful voices.
With our English Oratorian fellow pilgrims.
As the various Houses of the Congregation of the Oratory celebrate his quincentenary this year,  we are pleased to share with you ways that the Brooklyn Oratory is  commemorating St. Philip.


June 13, 2015 – 8:00 p.m.
A concert with Pro Musicis

Discovering the Piano Trio
Works by: Debussy, Beethoven and Dvorak
Marking the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Philip Neri and the 50th anniversary of Pro Musicis we welcome to the Oratory Church of St. Boniface Artists:
Edward Arron, cello
Jon Klibinoff, piano
Jesse Mills, violin
Contact Fr. Joel Warden, c.o.  at joel.warden@oratory-church.org 
or 718-875-2096, ext. 103
$50 Gold Circle     $25 General admission

$20 Seniors              $10 Students

 May 26, 2015 – Pope Francis on S. Philip’s Feast Day

Noting the influence of St. Philip Neri on the church of Rome where he lived and worked for sixty years,  Pope Francis writes that as a result of St. Philip’s zeal winning and saving  souls  “was restored as a priority in the Church’s activity, and it was newly understood that pastors must stay with their people to guide them and sustain them in their faith. Philip was a guide for many people, announcing the Gospel and dispensing the Sacraments. In particular, he dedicated himself with great passion to the ministry of Confession, up to the evening of his last day on earth. His concern was that of constantly following the spiritual growth of his disciples, accompanying them in the bitterness of life and opening up to Christian hope. … His spiritual paternity shines through all his work, characterised by trust in people, by his rejection of gloomy and sombre tones, by his spirit of festivity and joy, by his conviction that grace does not restrain nature but instead heals, strengthens and perfects it”.
The Pope sites Philip as “a shining model of the permanent mission of the Church in the world. The perspective of his approach to others, bearing witness to all the love and mercy of the Lord, can constitute a valid example for bishops, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful. From the very first years of his presence in Rome, he undertook an apostolate of personal relations and friendship, as the ideal route to opening up to the encounter with Jesus and the Gospel. … He loved spontaneity, shunned artifice, chose the most enjoyable methods to educate in Christian virtues, and at the same time offered a healthy discipline that implied the exercise of will to welcome Christ in the fabric of one’s life. His profound conviction was that the path to sanctity was based on the grace of an encounter with the Lord, accessible to any person … who welcomes him with the wonder of children”.

 May 26, 2015  – St. Philip’s Day Dinner at the Oratory

Bishop Elect James Massa who will be consecrated an auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Brooklyn joined the community along several friends of the house for Dinner on St. Philip’s Feast.




May 14, 2015 – Feast of the Ascension – Oratory Story Slam
Over 50 members of the lay and pontifical congregation gathered in Newman Hall after the evening Mass for a casual dinner and a joy-filled evening of stories of St. Philip and how he has shaped and sustained us in our life of faith.
 November 30, 2014 –  Letter from the Procurator General


Via di Parione, 33                                                                   00186      ROMA

To the Very Rev. Provosts and to the Rev. Confreres of the Congregations of the Oratory; and to the Rev. Superiors of Institutes inspired by the Oratory.


As well as being a duty of my office, it is with great joy of soul that I must draw your attention to the Jubilee Year of the Quincentenary of the birth of our holy Father St Philip Neri, which will open in the City on the 25th May, 2015, and close on the 26th May, 2016. It will be providential opportunity for a profound rediscovery of the singular figure of the Apostle of Rome. St John Paul II, during the Congresso Generale of the Holy Year of 2000, described St Philip as the bearer of a great heritage for the whole Church, and [the pope] hoped that “revisiting the sources of St Philip’s spirituality and of his entire work would inspire in each Congregation a renewed awareness of the validity and relevance of St Philip’s “missionary method”, and that this would make an important contribution to the task of the New Evangelisation. He said that path of St Philip constituted “a pastoral route that is always valid, because it is inscribed in the perennial Christian experience!” . During the Congresso Generale of 2006, Pope Benedict XVI, echoing his predecessor’s words, affirmed that “this method, which was employed by St Philip in his own time with great apostolic inventiveness, aids young people and adults to discover the beauty of divine love. Indeed, through St Philp’s mysterious presence Christ takes hold of us in order to make us His own and assimilate us to Himself. This is the marvel that energises the Christian mystery – a truth to be accepted in its entirety, without compromise, and avoiding any facile accommodation of the spirit of the world. Only thus is it possible to understand and transmit adequately to others the offer of freedom, charity and joy so dear to St Philip Neri, in accordance with the synthesis enshrined in the tradition of the Oratory: ‘in veritate liberi, in caritate servi, in omnibus læti”’.

In keeping with Philipine simplicity, the Quincentenary will be characterised by sober and dignified events, intended above all to encourage our Oratories and our life, which is often caught up in that whirlwind of activity so characteristic of our own times.

The Procura Generale, together with the Permanent Deputation, has already begun organising [these events] in collaboration with His Eminence the Card. Archbishop of Florence (being the diocese in which our Saint was born), as well as with the Italian Government Ministry for Culture, with the management of the Vallicelliana Library and with other bodies.

In collaboration with Dr Alberto Bianco, General Archivist of the Confederation, it is intended that a commemorative event be prepared for October, 2015, in Rome, which will include an international study symposium entitled “A modern saint: St Philip Neri (1515-1595) five hundred years after his birth”, made possible through the collaboration of the Vallicelliana Library and the Roman Oratory; it will also include an exhibition entitled “The development of an image and the birth of an iconography: St Philip Neri in the printed collections of the Archive of the Roman Oratory”. This exhibition will take place in the Borromini Refectory at the Vallicella, and it will feature the famous Guido Reni portrait of St Philip with the Madonna and Child, which is to undergo restoration.

Besides these initiatives, the Jubilee Year will witness solemn liturgical celebrations both at the Chiesa Nuova in Rome and in Florence, as well as concerts of instrumental and vocal music, the traditional Visit to the Seven Churches, and days of recollection for priests and laity.

In anticipation of these festive events, dearest brethren and friends, be assured of my prayers at the altar of St Philip in the Vallicella, and I bid you my fondest regards. I am sure that the Quincentenary of the birth of our holy Father will be a precious opportunity for contact with the real roots of the Oratorian experience to the benefit of our Congregations and in renewed commitment to heeding the admonition given by the venerable Cesare Baronius to the first Fathers of the Oratory, and to us who follow them: Attendite ad petram ubi excisi estis – look to the rock from which you have been hewn” (Is.51:1).

Rome, 30th November, 2014, First Sunday of Advent.

Very Rev. Mario A. Avilés, C.O. Procurator General