Earlier this year, the great and good project of establishing an Oratory in Brisbane – first mooted for Australia, we learn, in 2011 – was made public with the blessing of Archbishop Mark Coleridge. Fr Paul Chandler, a priest of that archdiocese, together with two other priests (who wish to remain anonymous for the time being, at the request of their respective bishops), and a seminarian, Shawn Murphy, who has just begun his studies for the priesthood with the Oratorians in Toronto, are working toward establishing this new Oratorian community in 2015 or 2016. God bless their endeavours!
Now these nascent Oratorians have a website for the Brisbane Oratory in Formation: on their behalf, I ask you to above all pray for them, but also please consider donating funds for their many needs, particularly the education of their seminarian (further details may be accessed via the relevant section of their website).
As readers may realize, I am (all unworthy) a devotee of St Philip Neri, Founder of the Congregation of the Oratory, and third Apostle of Rome. Indeed, a reproduction painting of him looks down on me as I type... would that I would heed his advice to the same extent as I beseech his prayers. It was a special pleasure to me to visit his glorious relics at the Chiesa Nuova on my various visits to the Eternal City; may he intercede by his merits and suffrages for the Brisbane Oratory in Formation: "Look down from heaven and see, and visit this new vineyard: and perfect the same, which thy right hand hath planted" (Ps 79:15b-16a).
I am minded to repeat one of Newman's hymns in his honour:
St. Philip in his School (A Song.)
This is the Saint of gentleness and kindness,Cheerful in penance, and in precept winning;Patiently healing of their pride and blindness,Souls that are sinning.
This is the Saint, who, when the world allures us,Cries her false wares, and opes her magic coffers,Points to a better city, and secures usWith richer offers.
Love is his bond, he knows no other fetter,Asks not our all, but takes whate’er we spare him,Willing to draw us on from good to better,As we can bear him.
When he comes near to teach us and to bless us,Prayer is so sweet, that hours are but a minute;Mirth is so pure, though freely it possess us,Sin is not in it.
Thus he conducts by holy paths and pleasant,Innocent souls, and sinful souls forgiven,Towards the bright palace where our God is present,Throned in high heaven.
These future Oratorians of course seek the patronage of Our Lady Help of Christians above all under God. And may Bl John Henry Newman and Bl Pier Giorgio Frassati, the other well-chosen patrons of the future Brisbane Oratory, add their prayers to those of St Philip, that in God's time things now hoped for may come to be.