On behalf of the Fathers of the Oratory, I would like to offer you a warm welcome to our new website. It is our hope that it will be a means to keep in touch with our friends, near and far, and to connect with those who are interested in our ministries or attracted to the joyful spirit of our founder St. Philip Neri. As a resource not only for information but also as a place to share our personal reflections through blog posts and podcasts of homilies, bible studies and group discussions, we pray that it will be a source of spiritual nourishment and ongoing formation for those who visit here regularly.
It is a special blessing for us to receive St. Philip’s spirit also from the hands of Blessed John Henry Newman. Newman understood that spirit; he knew that in our relations with God and with each other, we must try to leave behind all that is wrong, false and pretentious, so that, in all simplicity, heart can speak to heart. May God bless us through the intercession of these holy patrons as we seek to bear witness to Christ and the Gospel in a spirit of true joy.
You may say that this is but a small company of volunteers compared with the disciplined forces of the religious bodies which sustain the church with so much strength and splendor; and you are right. But, although it may be a small band, it is still a reinforcement, and sometimes a small reinforcement arriving at the critical moment of the battle is worth the whole strength of the army by enabling it to gain a complete victory. . . .
Behold the model of the sons of St Philip who, in imitation of their Saviour, do what they do in the service of God spontaneously and of their own free will, and can say with Him, “Voluntarie sacrificabo tibi” , out of zeal for the glory of God, for the salvation of souls, and for their own greater perfection. … The beauty of our Congregation lies in our subjects not being imprisoned, or bound by the chains of rigorous laws, but by love, which is stronger than death itself. Its beauty is that its subjects always serve as volunteers, and serve at their own cost, like volunteer soldiers attached to an army, who if they behave with as much valour as the others in fighting the enemy, are held in higher esteem and acquire great fame. This, then, is the prerogative of our subjects, always to have the liberty of abandoning the Congregation, and yet not to abandon it through love and fidelity to our vocation. . . .
(from The Excellences of the Oratory)