Monday, May 09, 2016

A New Oratory in Bournemouth

It seems as though England is going to have yet another Oratory, this time in Bournemouth, yes another pastoral initiative in the diocese of Portsmouth
From the parish website - A new Oratory in-formation is being inaugurated at Sacred Heart Church in Bournemouth on the 8th of September of this year (2016).
Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth has invited Fr Dominic Jacob CO (co-founder of the Oxford Oratory) and Fr Peter Edwards and Fr David Hutton, generously released by the Archbishop of Southwark for this project, to begin an Oratorian Community of St Philip Neri as part of a major evangelisation drive for the diocese.
Fr Peter, Fr Dominic and Fr David will begin their ministry on the feast of Our Lady’s Birthday, at the church which is situated in the heart of Bournemouth, surrounded by students living in university accommodation, many international language schools, diverse ethnic communities, and the homelessness, beside long-standing residents, all within an active town center known its hospitality industry, business and commerce.
In accordance with the charism of their Patron, St Philip Neri, the Oratory in-formation will be devoted to offering sacramental support through daily Mass and confessions, Eucharistic Adoration and formation in the spiritual life, alongside pastoral care of students, the growing number of homeless, others in need, all who make up the local population, and the thousands who pass the doors of Sacred Heart each year.
Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth states: “The Diocese has areas of real deprivation and poverty. There are immigrants and foreign nationals from Eastern Europe and overseas, as well as university and college students living far away from home. This is a pastoral situation that is urgent. It impels action.”
Bishop Philip goes on to say, “We need to engage with those who have not yet met the Lord Jesus in Person nor taken to heart the salvation and eternal life He offers. More than ever we need today to be confident and clear in witnessing to the Person of Jesus Christ and the truths of the Catholic faith, in order to help people find the Way to authentic humanism and happiness. This is why I am delighted by this new project beginning at Sacred Heart parish.”
St Philip Neri, Apostle of Rome and Saint of Joy, continues to inspire secular priests today to form communities, without vows, living together in the bond of charity, with the Oratorian charism of prayer, preaching and celebration of the Sacraments, not least in the confessional.
St Philip’s primary apostolate of forming young people in the life of prayer and pastoral care, particularly for the sick and needy, also attracts many by excellence in liturgy and music, through catechesis, and in the New Evangelization through culture and the arts.
This latest Community of St Philip Neri is a Society of Apostolic Life under the direction of the Oratorian Confederation’s Procurator General in Rome for whom the Oxford Oratory and York Oratory-in-Formation have been the formative inspiration.
More information about the Oratory-in-Formation for Sacred Heart Church will be forthcoming in the parish newsletter and on the parish website.
Parishioners and friends of Sacred Heart church are asked to please keep Fr Peter, Fr Dominic and Fr David in their prayers as they prepare for this wonderful apostolate.


Cathy said...

Excellent news. Sacred Heart has been wonderfully transformed since the arrival last year of Fr John Lavers. Will he be part of the new Oratory or will he be moving on to another parish?

Unknown said...

An Oratory in Formation was recently established at the University Church in Cardiff

Et Expecto said...

Excellent news and following so quickly on a similar development in Cardiff.

The Oratory (in formation) in York is doing very well, having attracted three novices since it was established.

I wonder ehere the next will be!

Fr Ray Blake said...

LO, I missed the Cardiff one, thanks for the information

RichardT said...

Like St Walburge's, Preston, this is another formerly Jesuit big town centre church that seemed to have lost its way and has now found new hope in different hands.

(It's over ten years when I used to go there, so no reflection on recent incumbents)

Sixupman said...

In Manchester there was an Oratory in formation at The Holy Name, but for church legal reasons had to move to St. Chad's, Cheetham Hill Road, where it flourishes. However, it was better placed at The Holy Name being almost part of the university, where the student body were exposed to orthodox Catholicism of a broad spectrum including the TLM. The Holy Name has reverted to the Jesuits, who had tried to sel, and did part of, it. I think the table altar has reappeared.

Reference to St Walburge's: I was unaware it had been a Jesuit church, as there remains a major Jesuit church in the town centre. The Lancaster Diocese attempted to sell the iconic St. Walburge's, without success. The previous bishops rejected approach from a Traditional order, because of its "financial effect" it would have upon adjacent parishes (?). The present bishop is more enlightened.

Another iconic church in Warrington has been similarly saved.

Needs must appears to be the reason for a compromise with the Traditional orders, but not to a degree where a church might be offered to SSPX though!

JARay said...

All of this is excellent news. Thanks be to God.

The Rad Trad said...

I wish the best to them. Fr Dominic is a fine priest and an excellent confession father. May God's blessings multiply upon them!

Richard Duncan said...

Dear Fr Ray

Your comment on Facebook hits the nail on the head. It's not just fidelity to "tradition", however that is understood, but the fact that Oratorians live together in community, which is behind the growth of the Oratory in England and the rest of the world.

It must be A&B's turn to have an Oratory next. I can think of one Church that would be just perfect.

Fr Richard Duncan CO

Unknown said...

I would wish for every Catholic to have an Oratory on their doorstep, particularly when it comes to provision of the Latin Mass.

However, my only concern is with our shortage of Priests nationwide, that more parishes will go without (this being a case in point, with at least one diocesan priest being effectively removed). Obviously this isn't such a problem in Cardiff, there being no movement as of yet.

Also the increase in vocations is a wonderful thing. Except - who pays for them to be trained? It is a concern if this will all fall on that one parish (rather than spread across the diocese). I bet Newman's original Oratory consisted of wealthy priests who were all self-sufficient. In any case, I'm sure God will provide.

AndrewWS said...

If you're going to have priests living together in parishes (as they did in the old days, hence all the big old presbyteries attached to rather small churches where lots of low masses were said every day) you need more priests.

The Oratorians are wonderful, and strike me as leading the ideal life - priests in community and society, but never isolated, and always with congenial company.

Francis said...

Apparently desk officers at the Oratorians' Global Intelligence Unit have been keeping an eye on Upper North Street, Brighton for quite a while. Photographs, floor plans, blueprints, quite a dossier.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Francis, what a good idea!

Unknown said...

Sixupman, the Jesuits in Preston had the place totally in their control until the late 1950s. Apart from St Walburges, they had St Ignatius, the Catholic College and the Church that they still have - St Wilfrids.

Et Expecto said...

In response to Matthew Doyle, the new Oratorian communities are incurring heavy costs training their new priests. In York one novice is training with the Dominicans in Oxford, and there are a further two who will, Deus Vult, be following on. The good news is that there is every expectation that the good people of York will put their hands into their pockets and come up with the money.

I can see Cardiff, where the new community will be serving the student community, being more problematical. Perhaps the Cardiff Oratorians will eventually take over some parish responsibilities.

Sue Sims said...

In Bournemouth too. Sacred Heart (the church the Oratorians are having in the town centre; Annunciation in Charminster; St Thomas More in Iford; and my own parish church, Corpus Christi in Boscombe - all Jesuit churches, though only Corpus Christi remains so.

TrueBlueToryBoy said...

Fr Duncan, please do consider setting up an oratory in Scotland. There's numerous big Churches in both Dundee and Edinburgh which would be perfect for an oratory!

David O'Neill said...

There are also big unaltered churches in Hexham & Newcastle especially St Michael's in Newcastle which has a large presbytery attached. In my youth we had a canon as PP & (usually) 3 or 4 curates so the presbytery is ideal for a community. The church is Grade 2* listed and totally unaltered inside with a magnificent high alter & reredos & a beautifully painted & decorated ceiling to the large sanctuary (which was large enough to accommodate an all male choir of men & boys of 40+). It is criminal that such a building built over 100 years ago by the donations of (mainly) poor Irish immigrants is being left to rot.

Richard Duncan said...

As well as a suitable church, any potential Oratory needs (i) a benevolent bishop and (ii) priests and seminarians who are prepared to live together and who are motivated by the right reasons, i.e. by a desire to do St Philip’s work in St Philip’s spirit in 21st century, and not simply as a result of a love for the Latin Mass.

Part of the problem in the past was the dearth of resources in English on the spirituality and traditions of the Oratory. Fortunately, this is not the case anymore. I particularly recommend:

(a) “How to make an Oratory” and “Traditions of the Oratory”, by Fr Jerome Bertram of the Oxford Oratory, both of which may be ordered from

(b) “In No Strange Land: The Embodied Mysticism of St Philip Neri” by Fr Jonathan Robinson of the Toronto Oratory, which is available from Amazon.

“The Idea of the Oratory” by Fr Raleigh Addington of the London Oratory is also excellent, but is out of print and is not easily available.

Anyone studying these works will be able to discern whether the Oratory is for them and will, if it is, be able to consider the viability of particular projects. A Scottish Oratory would be wonderful, but although I’m sure the English Oratorian community would be happy to help and advise, I think it would stand a better chance of getting off the ground if the initiative came from Scottish priests and seminarians, and had the active encouragement of a Scottish bishop, than if the initiative came from south of the border.

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