Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Brooklyn Oratory

I was surprised to see that there is an Oratory located in Brooklyn.  I do not know anything about it but I was thinking the Oratory model could be quite helpful to the Church today. 

"The Brooklyn Oratory

Saint Philip Neri, a 16th century layman, was a native of Florence who lived nearly sixty years in Rome. Always devout, out-going, funny and friendly, Saint Philip often invited friends to his one-room apartment for shared prayer, Bible study and singing. They also began engaging in acts of charity and mercy such as visiting the sick in hospitals, helping pilgrims who had come to Rome, and teaching children the basics of the Catholic faith.  These informal gatherings became so popular they had to be moved to successively larger rooms. In time, these quarters began to be described as Oratories, that is, places where prayers were led, the name being derived from the Latin “orare,” to pray.

Permanence is an Oratory's hallmark.
The lay men and women who gathered there were rightly called Oratorians, or pray-ers. The success of the Oratory naturally caused it to evolve into a more organized structure. Saint Philip was ordained a priest at age 36 and then several other bright young followers were ordained. They were formally given a church in Rome called the Chiesa Nuova, or New Church, which still stands near the Piazza Navona.

The priests and lay brothers who came to pray, live and eat together were designated a formal congregation - the Oratory - by Pope Gregory XIII in 1575. Their "work" was to assist the first, primary group of Oratorians, the laity. The Oratory priests and brothers were and are different from all other religious communities (e.g. Jesuits and Franciscans) in that they take no vows and remain together fully bound only by charity. Oratorian priests and brothers are therefore members of a Pontifical Congregation who live and work within a diocese free to serve where there is a need and a job. Oratories can be found the world over: in England, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Poland, Mexico, South America, Canada, and the United States. The Brooklyn Oratory was established by Pope St. John Paul II  in 1988."

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