It was announced today in Rome that our Holy Father Pope Francis has erected the Oratory-in-Formation in York as an independent Oratory of St Philip Neri. The decree of foundation is dated 9th November 2019, the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica.
The York Oratory is the second Oratory to be founded in England in the last month with news of the Manchester Oratory coming at the beginning of November. There are now five Oratories in England, at Birmingham, London, Oxford, Manchester and York. There are Oratories-in-Formation in Cardiff and Bournemouth.
This news comes only a little more than a month since Pope Francis canonised St John Henry Newman who brought the Oratory of St Philip from Rome to Birmingham and London in 1848.
The Oratory was founded by St Philip Neri in Rome in the sixteenth century. The main work of the Oratory is prayer (both personal prayer and public worship), daily popular preaching and the administration of the sacraments especially the sacrament of confession and the spiritual direction of individuals.
Oratories are typically small communities of priests and brothers who look after churches in towns and cities closely supported by committed laity who share a love of St Philip and his vision. There is a special concern for popular devotions and – especially in the English Oratories – a great care for music, art and architecture.
The York Oratory began on the initiative of the Bishop of Middlesbrough, Rt Rev Terence Drainey, who invited the Oxford Oratory to make a foundation in his diocese shortly after the beatification of St John Henry Newman by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010. Community life began at St Wilfrid’s Church in York on 28thOctober 2013 and the new community now has six members, Fr Richard Duffield, Fr Daniel Seward, Br Adam Fairbairn, Br Henry O’Connell, Fr Stephen Brown and Br David Chadwick.
In addition to St Wilfrid’s the Fathers of the York Oratory have care of the parish of St Joseph’s in Clifton and the Shrine of St Margaret Clitherow the well-known York martyr.
There will be a Musical Oratory of prayers, choral music, hymns and readings on Thursday, 28th November at 6pm in the York Oratory Church of St Wilfrid, Duncombe Place, York. This is in celebration of the Canonisation of St John Henry Newman and will now have something of the character of a celebration of the new foundation. There will be a Mass of Celebration with the presentation of the Papal Brief on a date to be confirmed next year.
Here is a link to the announcement (in Italian) on the website of the Oratorian Confederation.
There will be some familiar places and faces in this documentary about St John Henry from ShalomTV.
The Fathers and Brothers of the York Oratory-in-Formation are delighted to congratulate our brothers in Manchester on today's announcement from Rome. (Website in Italian. Fr Richard's translation follows.)
The Procurator of the Oratorian Confederation is delighted to announce that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has established the Oratory-in-Formation in Manchester as an independent Oratory by a decree dated 1 November, 2019, the Solemnity of All Saints.
The Manchester Oratory is the fourth independent community in the United Kingdom and began life at the Church of the Holy Name in Manchester in 1992.
Successive procurators have guided the community from its beginnings, helping it and supporting it in the spirit of St Philip Neri, so as to achieve the canonical approval of the Holy See. Particular mention must be made of our dear brother in St Philip, Fr Jerome Bertram of the Oxford Oratory who died only a few weeks ago. For many years he was the Procurator's Delegate for the community in formation in Manchester.
The apostolate of the new Congregation is the Church of St Chad (7th Century Apostle of Mercia) and chaplaincy work in a hospital, a prison and a school.
The brethren of the Manchester Oratory at its foundation are Fr Raymond Matus (moderator), Fr Christopher Hilton, Fr Richard Bailey, Br Gerard Connett and Br Fabian Trevithick.
Readers may be interested in this link to information about Oratories elsewhere in the world.
Fr Jerome Bertram
Born 10th May 1950
Ordained priest 14th July 1979
Clothed in the habit of St Philip on 29th October 1991
Fr Jerome died on 19th October 2019 in his seventieth year of which twenty-eight were spent in the Congregation.
Tuesday 5 November at 11am at the Oxford Oratory
A prayer to St John Henry Newman of the Oratory
Remember us in heaven, Saint John Henry.
Obtain for us the gifts you sought for your friends here below: the grace to follow the kindly light of faith; belief that is firm and true; a heart to speak to the heart of God; and a voice to give praise to the Holiest.
Obtain for us the courage to follow your teaching and example: in loyalty to Christ and the Church; in love for the Immaculate Mother of God and in compassion for the perplexed.
Obtain for us support all the day long of this troubled life till the shades lengthen and the evening comes and the busy world is hushed and the fever of life is over and our work is done. So that the Lord in His mercy may grant us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last; and that we may pass, with you, from shadows and images into the fullness of truth and love. We make this prayer through the same Christ, our Lord.
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