Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus! Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ!
This upcoming Friday is the Feast of St. Philip Neri, the founder of the Congregation of the Oratory. This will be the first time that we celebrate the Feast of St. Philip as a Congregation of the Oratory. Please try to join us for Mass at some point on this day, and please be sure to at least say a prayer for the new Oratory. There will be a Solemn Traditional Mass at 7:00 p.m. here at Old St. Mary’s that evening to celebrate with the entire Oratory. A social will follow in Fr. Felten Hall.
St. Philip was born in 1515, just two years before the start of the Protestant Reformation. Even in the midst of the greatest difficulties and tragedies, God always raises up the saints He needs to recall the world to faithfulness. St. Philip was born into a period of time when the faith was not highly valued or treasured. A materialism and sensuality pervaded society and culture. Through his simple work of exposing people to the good, the beautiful, and true, St. Philip was able to call many back to the practice of the Faith. He encouraged the practice of virtue, frequent reception of the Sacraments, and a deep prayer life. His work developed into the new Congregation of the Oratory, with the first constitutions being approved in 1575. Though St. Philip never intended to found a congregation, his mission was so successful that small communities did develop and continue to exist to this day.
Currently, there are eighty-seven Oratory Houses throughout the whole world. There are nine in the United States. Each is extraordinarily different and diverse, because the Oratory is the people and the place where the Congregation exists. What binds each Congregation together, however, is that inherent joy that was the spirit of the Founder. It is that thirst which each person knows and has; and which each of us has the right to know and have– the same deep relationship with God that St. Philip had. May each of us look to the example of St. Philip Neri, as someone who can introduce us, and draw us closer, to God.
My prayer is that St. Philip can lead our Parish into greater holiness, by giving us an urgent reminder of the need for our salvation. All that we do should be directed to God, just as all that St. Philip did had God as its source, motivation, and goal. May St. Philip lead and guide us in this effort as we strive to become the saints which God needs in the world today!