Oratory News

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
Tickets
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

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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.

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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

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

Easter Season at the Oratory

The Novena to St. Philip Neri begins May 17 and continues to May 26th his Feast Day.  Join us in praying the novena.
The Easter Triduum culminated in the lighting of the new fire.  Fr. Joel Warden, c.o., Pastor of the Oratory Parish presided at the liturgy, assisted by the other priests  and brother of the Oratory, lay ministers, the Oratory Choir and hundreds of the faithful.

View the Video as the New Fire is lit on Duffield Street in front fo the Oratory Church

View the Video as We Struggle to Keep the Easter Candle Lit in the Wind!

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Gathered in the darkness of the tomb, we lit the Easter fire on Duffield Street in front of the Oratory Church. This fire, which cast away the darkness of Holy Saturday night, reminds us of how the love of the Risen Jesus drives from believers the darkness of evil, hatred and sin.

 

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With the assembly surrounding the Congregation’s priests and brother, the Catechumen who had prepared for Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist and the Candidates for full reception into the Catholic faith gathered with their elder brothers and sisters in faith as they made their final spiritual preparations for the sacraments.

    Newman Hall Liturgy

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.

See Fr. Anthony’s homily on Easter at Ask An Oratorian.

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Blessed Joseph Vaz Canonized January 14, 2015

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.

Little Oratory – Fostering the Prayer of St. Philip

Monthly Little Oratory

The Little Oratory, also know as the Secular Oratory, supports the spiritual development of our community in the Oratorian tradition and the spirit of our Holy Founder St. Philip Neri.
Little Oratory gathers the first Thursday each month from September through June.  We gather in the Oratory Church of St. Boniface from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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

Our Format

Hymn
Lectionary readings from the coming Sunday
Silent meditation
Faith sharing
Non-scriptural spiritual reading
Silent Meditation
Vocal Prayers
Hymn

Why the Little Oratory?

Following the early practice of St. Philip and his companions, these gatherings help to foster the joy and presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and our community through song,  prayer, meditation and reflection. We embrace the model that helped to birth the transformation of Rome, reforming hearts, lives, communities and the Church across that city in a time of tumult and turmoil.
This is an excellent opportunity to enter more deeply into the presence of the Lord and invite the action of the Holy Spirit to swell our hearts with love and joy.   We are called to be transformed in our minds and hearts, thus transforming the world in which we live. This is one way by which we can participate in the redemption and sanctification of the world.