Join the Breukelein Institute for the Gaudium Awards
September 18 at the Yale Club
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.
PROCURA GENERALIS CONFOEDERATIONIS ORATORII
S. PHILIPPI NERII
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.
QUINCENTENARY OF THE BIRTH OF ST PHILIP NERI
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
Fr. Michael snapped a few pictures as he shepherded the crowds in Newman Hall, where, assisted by Carla Denali as minister of ceremonies, Fr. Anthony Andreassi, c.o. presided at a packed Mass. For the past several years, the over-filled church has required the addition of a Mass in Newman Hall. Over 160 of our friends and parishioner joined us for this beautiful celebration. Music was supported by keyboards, cello, oboe and violin.
Pope Francis celebrated Mass on January 14 on Galle Face Green, in Colombo, Sri Lanka, during which he canonized Saint Joseph Vaz (1651-1711) – an Oratorian priest and “Apostle to Sri Lanka” who preached the Gospel there during the time of Dutch Calvinist dominion over much of the island. Below, please find the full text and audio of the Holy Father’s homily in English.
“All the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God” (Is 52:10)
This is the magnificent prophecy which we heard in today’s first reading. Isaiah foretells the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all the ends of the earth. This prophecy has a special meaning for us, as we celebrate the canonization of a great missionary of the Gospel, Saint Joseph Vaz. Like countless other missionaries in the history of the Church, he responded to the Risen Lord’s command to make disciples of every nation (cf. Mt 28:19). By his words, but more importantly, by the example of his life, he led the people of this country to the faith which gives us “an inheritance among all God’s holy ones” (cf. Acts 20:32).
In Saint Joseph we see a powerful sign of God’s goodness and love for the people of Sri Lanka. But we also see in him a challenge to persevere in the paths of the Gospel, to grow in holiness ourselves, and to testify to the Gospel message of reconciliation to which he dedicated his life.
As a priest of the Oratory in his native Goa, Saint Joseph Vaz came to this country inspired by missionary zeal and a great love of its people. Because of religious persecution, he dressed as a beggar, performing his priestly duties in secret meetings of the faithful, often at night. His efforts provided spiritual and moral strength to the beleaguered Catholic population. He had a particular desire to serve the ill and suffering. His ministry to the sick was so appreciated by the king during a smallpox epidemic in Kandy that he was allowed greater freedom to minister. From Kandy, he could reach out to other parts of the island. He spent himself in missionary work and died, exhausted, at the age of fifty-nine, revered for his holiness.
Saint Joseph Vaz continues to be an example and a teacher for many reasons, but I would like to focus on three. First, he was an exemplary priest. Here today with us are many priests and religious, both men and women, who, like Joseph Vaz, are consecrated to the service of God and neighbour. I encourage each of you to look to Saint Joseph as a sure guide. He teaches us how to go out to the peripheries, to make Jesus Christ everywhere known and loved. He is also an example of patient suffering in the cause of the Gospel, an example of obedience to our superiors, an example of loving care for the Church of God (cf. Acts 20:28). Like ourselves, Saint Joseph Vaz lived in a period of rapid and profound transformation; Catholics were a minority, and often divided within; there was occasional hostility, even persecution, from without. And yet, because he was constantly united with the crucified Lord in prayer, he could become for all people a living icon of God’s mercy and reconciling love.
Second, Saint Joseph shows us the importance of transcending religious divisions in the service of peace. His undivided love for God opened him to love for his neighbour; he ministered to those in need, whoever and wherever they were. His example continues to inspire the Church in Sri Lanka today. She gladly and generously serves all members of society. She makes no distinction of race, creed, tribe, status or religion in the service she provides through her schools, hospitals, clinics, and many other charitable works. All she asks in return is the freedom to carry out this mission. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right. Each individual must be free, alone or in association with others, to seek the truth, and to openly express his or her religious convictions, free from intimidation and external compulsion. As the life of Saint Joseph Vaz teaches us, genuine worship of God bears fruit not in discrimination, hatred and violence, but in respect for the sacredness of life, respect for the dignity and freedom of others, and loving commitment to the welfare of all.
Finally, Saint Joseph gives us an example of missionary zeal. Though he came to Ceylon to minister to the Catholic community, in his evangelical charity he reached out to everyone. Leaving behind his home, his family, the comfort of his familiar surroundings, he responded to the call to go forth, to speak of Christ wherever he was led. Saint Joseph knew how to offer the truth and the beauty of the Gospel in a multi-religious context, with respect, dedication, perseverance and humility. This is also the way for the followers of Jesus today. We are called to go forth with the same zeal, the same courage, of Saint Joseph, but also with his sensitivity, his reverence for others, his desire to share with them that word of grace (cf. Acts 20:32) which has the power to build them up. We are called to be missionary disciples.
Dear brothers and sisters, I pray that, following the example of Saint Joseph Vaz, the Christians of this country may be confirmed in faith and make an ever greater contribution to peace, justice and reconciliation in Sri Lankan society. This is what Christ asks of you. This is what Saint Joseph teaches you. This is what the Church needs of you. I commend all of you to the prayers of our new saint, so that, in union with the Church throughout the world, you may sing a new song to the Lord and declare his glory to all the ends of the earth. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised (cf. Ps 96: 1-4)! Amen.
This is not a series and you are welcome to any and all of the sessions.
2017 remaining dates
April 6 May 4 June 1
Lectionary readings from the coming Sunday
Non-scriptural spiritual reading
News on erection of new oratories.