St. Philip's Oratory in Toronto.A hundred and fifty years ago, in the fall of 1846, two recent converts from Anglicanism, John Henry Newman and Ambrose St. John, went to Rome to study for the Catholic priesthood. One problem facing them was whether to become secular diocesan priests or join an order. Newman was not impressed by what he saw of the great orders like the Jesuits and the Dominicans; the supposedly strict Dominicans of Florence turned out to be "manufacturers of scented water" with "very choice wines in their cellar."
Newman in Birmingham
Before they had left England, however, Dr. Wiseman--later Archbishop of Westminster--had advised them to become Oratorians. On the day after Christmas, they visited the Oratory in Rome, and they liked what they saw. They found that the oratory idea was sufficiently flexible to allow for a number of possibilities--evangelization, education, and further theological studies among them.
So Newman established in Birmingham the first English Oratory; he celebrated his first Mass there on New Year's Day New Year's Day, among ancient peoples the first day of the year frequently corresponded to the vernal or autumnal equinox, or to the summer or winter solstice. In the Middle Ages it was celebrated among Christians usually on Mar. 25. , 1848. The example he took was his own patron, St. Philip Neri St. Philip Romolo Neri (Italian: Filippo de Neri; also known as Apostle of Rome; July 21, 1515 – May 27, 1595), was an Italian churchman, noted for founding a society of secular priests called the "Congregation of the Oratory". , a man of the Renaissance, "an age as traitorous to the interests of Catholicism as any that preceded it, or can follow it." Philip met the attractions of paganism and luxury not with protests and warnings "but by means of the great counter-fascination of purity and truth." "He preferred to yield to the stream," Newman said, "and direct the current, which he could not stop, of science, literature, art, and fashion, and to sweeten sweet·en
v. sweet·ened, sweet·en·ing, sweet·ens
1. To make sweet or sweeter by adding sugar, honey, saccharin, or another sweet substance.
2. To make more pleasant or agreeable. and to sanctify sanc·ti·fy
tr.v. sanc·ti·fied, sanc·ti·fy·ing, sanc·ti·fies
1. To set apart for sacred use; consecrate.
2. To make holy; purify.
3. what God had made very good and man had spoilt."
Saint Philip Saint Philip, São Filipe, or San Felipe may refer to:
Philip Neri died in 1595; to commemorate the 400th anniversary of his death, Father Daniel Utrecht of the Toronto Oratory translated from the German an excellent biography of the saint written by Father Paul Turks of the Aachen Oratory in 1986. Father Turks wrote in his foreword that to understand the Oratory one must focus on example rather than rule, more on Philip's personality than on the constitution or structure of the Oratory. It does not seem strange, he added, that with the passing of an epoch we again meet St. Philip: "Church history numbers him among the greatest figures of ecclesiastical renewal at the beginning of modern times. His was a reform without clamour clam·our
n. & v. Chiefly British
Variant of clamor.
clamour or US clamor
1. a loud protest
2. and revolution. It took place through the return to the basic sources of Christianity: to the living Word of God and to the first apostolic community--the one surrounding the Lord Jesus Himself."
Philip was born in Florence in 1515. He went to Rome in 1532 or 1533--and never left it thereafter. He began his life there as a solitary hermit hermit [Gr.,=desert], one who lives in solitude, especially from ascetic motives. Hermits are known in many cultures. Permanent solitude was common in ancient Christian asceticism; St. Anthony of Egypt and St. Simeon Stylites were noted hermits. in the middle of the city, so devoted to prayer and spirituality that he regarded most of his books as distractions and sold them. At Pentecost 1544, a strange thing happened to him in the catacombs of St. Sebastian: he saw a ball of fire enter his mouth and then felt his chest expand over his heart. The feeling of fire was so strong that he threw himself on the ground and cried out, "Enough, Lord, enough! I cannot take any more!" For the rest of his life, inner heat, quite literally, warmed his entire body. A doctor found that his chest was indeed enlarged and his ribs were protruding pro·trude
v. pro·trud·ed, pro·trud·ing, pro·trudes
To push or thrust outward.
To jut out; project. See Synonyms at bulge. ; after his death, the cause was discovered--his ribs were broken and the bones separated from the cartilage, so that it was possible for the beating of his heart to have room to expand and contract. It was the means by which God prevented his heart from destroying itself on the hard ribs with its violent beating.
During his entire life, however, Philip avoided anything which might indicate that he had received supernatural gifts. He once said, "All those who seek visions and ecstasies have no idea what they are seeking." He deliberately humiliated hu·mil·i·ate
tr.v. hu·mil·i·at·ed, hu·mil·i·at·ing, hu·mil·i·ates
To lower the pride, dignity, or self-respect of. See Synonyms at degrade. himself; he became a fool for Christ. His coarse white mantle The White Mantle are the main human enemy in the Prophecies campaign of the MMORPG Guild Wars. The White Mantle are a powerful religious order, formed by Saul D'Alessio. They are the ruling body in Kryta. During the Charr invasion, Kryta was about to fall to the Charr as Ascalon did. and large white shoes made him look like a clown; among many eccentric actions, he once had his hair cut in church while Mass was going on. When he heard someone say, "Look at the crazy old man," he was pleased: no one should consider him a saint.
After he was ordained or·dain
tr.v. or·dained, or·dain·ing, or·dains
a. To invest with ministerial or priestly authority; confer holy orders on.
b. To authorize as a rabbi.
2. a priest in 1551, he preferred to say Mass around noon; before that, he was in the confessional. Philip's method of leading men back to God was not by preaching fire and brimstone fire and brimstone
1. The punishment of hell.
2. Homiletic rhetoric describing or warning of the punishment of hell.
Noun 1. but through the confessional, to which he attracted people through his kindness.
To his room in San Girolamo, a small church in the middle of Rome, people began coming for spiritual reading and discussion. When he moved to a larger room, he called it an "Oratory." It soon became a fashionable meeting place; Philip drew people like a magnet. Some of them, such as his early disciples Tarugi and Baronius, were on their way to positions of eminence. Tarugi became an archbishop and a Cardinal; Baronius became one of the most distinguished of Church historians, also a Cardinal. But many simple people frequented the Oratory as well--a shoemaker, a Sicilian who became a sweeper in St. Peter's St. Peter's or similar terms may mean:
"If you wish to be perfectly obeyed, Philip once said, "give few commands." He was not one for laying down rules. As his community developed, Cardinal Charles Borromeo For the Indian sprinter, see .
Saint Charles Borromeo (Italian: Carlo Borromeo; Latinized as Carolus Borromeus) (October 2, 1538 – November 3, 1584) was an Italian saint and cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. tried to turn it into a congregation, but Philip would have none of it: one great saint confronted and opposed another. The Oratory was canonically erected by a Bull of Gregory XIII on July 15, 1575, as a congregation of secular priests and clerics. It took some years, however, for the Constitutions to be drawn up and approved; they enshrined into law the absence of vows, the democratic nature of the Oratory community, and the character of a family which it possesses. Frederick Faber, founder of the Brompton Oratory in London, England, wrote that what Philip bequeathed to his congregation "was not so much a Rule, as a Spirit."
Philip himself once wrote that three qualities were needed by God's instruments: fire, faith, and iron, "iron to shape our wills and to establish us in holy obedience to Him." The "fire" and "faith" were more important than the iron; on the day of his death, Frederick Borromeo wrote, "The saint was all on fire with charity."
By 1587, his ascetic practices had taken their toll; Tarugi referred to him as "like a mummy, without flesh, and is only skin and bone." But his eyes were bright, his smile reflected his inner happiness, and his words touched the heart. After 1590 he once again held the "oratory" in his room: he proposed a theme of the spiritual life, each one present gave his opinion, and Philip would speak a few words in summary and conclusion. Cardinals came to confess to him; yet `he treated the poorest man as if he were a great lord." Before his death on May 26th, 1595, he began to weep: "I have never done anything good..."
Few of his contemporaries would have agreed with him; they gave him the label which has stuck to him ever since, that of the Apostle of Rome. On March 12, 1622, he was canonized can·on·ize
tr.v. can·on·ized, can·on·iz·ing, can·on·iz·es
1. To declare (a deceased person) to be a saint and entitled to be fully honored as such.
2. To include in the biblical canon.
3. along with Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila Noun 1. Teresa of Avila - Spanish mystic and religious reformer; author of religious classics and a Christian saint (1515-1582)
Saint Teresa of Avila , and Isidore the Farmer. With their customary wit, the Romans said that Pope Gregory XV Pope Gregory XV (January 9, 1554 – July 8, 1623), born Alessandro Ludovisi, was pope from 1621, succeeding Paul V on February 9, 1621. Biography
He was born in Bologna to Count Pompeo Ludovisi and Camilla Bianchini, one of seven surviving siblings. had canonized "four Spaniards and a Saint."
In the letter which Pope John Paul II Pope John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Italian: Giovanni Paolo II, Polish: Jan Paweł II) born wrote to commemorate the fourth centenary of the death of St. Philip, he said "The lovable character of the `saint of joy' still retains in our own day that irresistible attraction which in his own time drew those who wished to know and to experience the authentic sources of Christian happiness. Running through the life of St. Philip again, one finds oneself surprised and indeed fascinated by the cheerful and relaxed way by which he drew souls to religion, adapting himself to each individual with a brotherly openness and patience." Somewhat against Philip's will, the Oratory concept spread beyond Rome. Tarugi was responsible for a foundation in Naples, and by the time Philip died, there were houses in five other Italian cities. In 1611, only a few years after Philip's death, Cardinal de Berulle founded the famous "Oratory of Jesus," which was to play a very important role in France for the next two centuries; it soon numbered 70 houses. The 17th century saw the erection of may other Oratories in Europe, as well as in places as distant from each other as Mexico and Goa. The first oratory in the United States was founded in Rock Hill, South Carolina Rock Hill is the largest city in York County, South Carolina, and a satellite city of Charlotte, North Carolina. The population was 49,765 at the 2000 census. According to 2006 estimates, the city has a population of 61,620 , making it the fourth largest city in South Carolina. , in 1934.
Father Utrecht, the translator of Father Turk's biography, is a member of the first Canadian Oratory; All Saints' Day All Saints' Day, feast of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, and day on which churches glorify God for all God's saints, known and unknown. It is celebrated on Nov. 1 in the West, since Pope Gregory IV ordered its church-wide observance in 837. , 1995, was the 20th anniversary of its foundation. It began in Montreal, but on the recommendation of an official visitor it moved to Toronto four years later. And there it has flourished.
The Catholic New Times is a Toronto paper of the type which plays down the significance of Vatican documents and plays up "progressive causes," usually concerned with social justice. In its issue for last December 3rd it carried an impressive two-page centre spread, replete with drawings, portraits of Philip Neri and Cardinal Newman, and a photograph of Father Jonathan Robinson, of an institution it could only consider an anomaly--The Toronto Oratory. The writer of the article, Mary Francis Coady, reported on a conversation she had with the Oratory's founder, Father Robinson, on what made the Oratory tick. She was frankly puzzled. Here was "an unabashedly un·a·bashed
1. Not disconcerted or embarrassed; poised.
2. Not concealed or disguised; obvious: unabashed disgust. clerical group whose way of operating stands at the very centre of Catholic controversy. Yet they carry on in a low profile manner, serene and affable, disciplined and devout, in what some observers call a 1950s timewarp."
Still she went on to list one achievement after another -- a flourishing parish, Holy Family, with five English masses and a Latin one every weekend; active parish groups, and a food bank; growth from four members to 15; a flourishing seminary and a recent request from the Archdiocese to take over a neighbouring parish, St. Vincent de Paul Vin·cent de Paul , Saint 1581-1660.
French ecclesiastic who founded the Congregation of the Mission (1625) and the Daughters of Charity (1633). .
"From all appearances," Miss Coady writes, "the Oratorians have created an oasis of calm and stability within a church that is otherwise in crisis." On a steamy Sunday in July, she went to Solemn Vespers vespers (vĕs`pərz) [Lat.,=evening], in the Christian Church, principal evening office. In the Roman rite, vespers have consisted since the 6th cent. of a few prayers, five psalms, a lesson, the Magnificat, and an antiphon. and Benediction benediction [Lat.,=blessing], solemn blessing usually administered in the name of God by a priest or a minister. The temple worship at Jerusalem had fixed forms of benedictions, and Christians have always given them an important place in ceremony, especially at the at Holy Family, and wondered whether there was another church in the country which could draw even a modest number not only for benediction but for vespers on a hot Sunday afternoon. She ended her article by saying, "I respect their effort in a grudging and mystified mys·ti·fy
tr.v. mys·ti·fied, mys·ti·fy·ing, mys·ti·fies
1. To confuse or puzzle mentally. See Synonyms at puzzle.
2. To make obscure or mysterious. way. But I don't understand it."
In an article in The Lay Witness last Fall (Sep/Oct, 1995), Father Juvenal Merriell of the Toronto Oratory is quoted as saying that the centre of Newman's thought "is that Christianity is a religion with content. It teaches a truth about something that happened, namely that the Son of God became man and salvation is offered to us in Him and through Him. And that great dogmatic fact, and he was very insistent on the importance of dogma, is what we always have to keep at the heart of our religion or else it just degenerates into feeling and froth." Those who come to the Oratory will in fact often find deep feeling there, in keeping with the spirit of the Oratory's 16th-century founder--but never froth.