Today is the feast of Our Lady, Mother and Queen, so it’s probably no coincidence that the website of Australia’s first Oratory of St Philip Neri was launched today. Our Lady, Help of Christians is the Oratory’s principle patron.
An Oratory of St Philip Neri is a small community of diocesan priests and seminarians, who follow a rule of life bound not by religious vows and obedience, but by the bond of charity. Every Oratory is autonomous, and priests belong to their particular community, not to the Oratory at large. Two of the most famous Oratory fathers are St Philip Neri and Bl John Henry Newman.
To establish the Oratory in Brisbane, a number of priests much leave their home diocese, and permanently move to Brisbane where they will live and work in community for the rest of their lives. It’s early days yet — the Oratory isn’t due to be formally established until 2015 — so the names of these priests haven’t been publicised. Still, there’s a lot of information on the website, and Fr Paul Chandler, parish priest of Banyo and Nundah in the Brisbane Archdiocese, is revealed as one of the Oratory’s founding members.
There’s also information about Shawn Murphy, the Oratory’s first seminarian, who just this week flew to Toronto to commence his studies. He’s an impressive fellow. Pray for him, and for all seminarians!