For the last two years, a new initiative for the Church in Australia has been quietly and slowly developing behind the scenes. It has now reached a significant early milestone with this first public announcement released today.
With the permission and support of Archbishop Mark Coleridge, a Congregation of the Oratory in formation is to be established within the Archdiocese of Brisbane by early 2016 and perhaps earlier during 2015.
The Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri is a “Society of Apostolic life” founded under the guidance of the Confederation of the Oratory (based in Rome) and with the permission of the local Ordinary. An Oratory provides an opportunity for priests to live their vocation in a more structured community than is typically experienced by diocesan priests, but with more flexibility than a religious order. Above all, it is a community of charity in the spirit of St. Philip Neri, the “joyful saint”.
A Congregation of the Oratory begins its life as an Oratory “community in formation” consisting of priests and perhaps seminarians. This formation phase lasts for at least three years. During this time, the maturing community is supported and guided by an Oratorian delegate appointed by the Procurator General of the Oratory in Rome. Other established Oratories may also provide support and assistance as requested. The formation process also takes place under the supervision of the local Ordinary who has invited the community into his Diocese. After at least three years and with the approval of the local Bishop and the Procurator General, the community may petition the Holy See to be canonically established as a fully fledged Congregation of the Oratory.
The Brisbane community in formation will comprise four experienced diocesan priests in good standing from different Australian Dioceses as well as two seminarians. These young men will begin their studies for the priesthood in an overseas Oratorian seminary in September this year.
The location of the Brisbane Oratory in formation and the ministries undertaken by the community are yet to be decided by the Archbishop. Further updates about the progress of this project , a first for the Church in Australia, will be provided in due course to keep everyone informed of developments.
Released by the Catholic Communications Office
April 12, 2013