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Newsletter August 2017

In this month's newsletter, Fr Adrian shares with us in the Moderator's Message an exciting announcement on the establishment of the Secular Oratory for lay people. In the Reflection, Fr Wise shares with us his journey of 30 years as a priest. Keep your eyes peeled for the latest events happening at the Oratory. And have a look at some of the ways to be involved in the Oratory community through our lay associations.

Moderator's Message

On the evening of Saturday July 22nd, over 220 people came together at Portside Wharf for the Oratory Winter Ball.  The Adeney family provided string music for the beginning of the evening, and later, the band "Remedy" proved a popular choice, with many taking the opportunity to 'dance the night away.'  Other entertainment during the evening saw the much anticipated auction of hampers prepared by the Frassati men and the Flores Teresianes women, with the winning bid seeing the women come up trumps!  A $5,000 travel voucher was also won by a lucky ticket holder in the major raffle.  The night had been billed as the Oratory's premier social event of the year, but it also helped us reach our fundraising goal for 2017, to assist especially in the seminary formation costs for our four seminarians for the next year.  Thank-you to all who worked in any way to make the Ball the success that it was.  A special thank-you to the Norman Hotel, the event sponsor; The Catholic Leader, our media partner; and also the supporting sponsors: Sacristan Church Brass, Trinity Wealth Services, and Abe Hewitt Electrical.  Thanks too to the groups and local businesses who donated raffle and lucky door prizes: the Australian Sacred Music Association, the Bonnie Bakers, Café O-Mai, the Junction Hotel, and Snag 'n Brown.
Photos from the Ball, taken by the talented Gaby of Maria Rose Anna Photography, can be seen at the Oratory Facebook page.

Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Australia's first canonized saint, is also a patron saint of the Archdiocese of Brisbane.  The Oratory community wanted to mark this special day for our local Church, and so we had a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form in the evening of Saint Mary of the Cross  feast day, August 8th.  We were delighted to welcome our Auxiliary bishop, Bishop Ken Howell, who participated in the Mass in choro.  After the Mass, the clergy of the Archdiocese had been invited to dinner at the Oratory house.  In addition to Bishop Howell we welcomed Bishop Brian Finnigan, Auxiliary emeritus, and several other priests of the archdiocese, including Father Dan Ryan, the Dean of the Brisbane South Deanery to which our parish belongs.  The Oratory community and parishioners were also very pleased to welcome Father Paul Chandler back to Annerley for the August 8th Mass and dinner.  Father Paul, who has returned to the Brisbane Archdiocese after appointments in Armidale and Melbourne, is now stationed at Regents Park Parish.  We hope to make the August 8th celebrations an annual event.

A set of Stations of the Cross originating from Sandgate Parish were recently made available through the Archdiocese, and we availed ourselves of the offer.  With them we were able to upgrade the Stations in the Oratory house chapel.  The beautifully carved wooden Stations match very well with the existing wooden statues in our chapel, and are a fitting addition to the place where the Oratory community of priests and brothers gathers each evening for our community prayer (Evening Oratory).  We are grateful to the Archdiocese and to Sandgate Parish for making these Stations of the Cross available.

In 2009 Pope emeritus Benedict XVI made a way for former Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church in a corporate manner, maintaining elements of their Anglican patrimony to enrich the life of the Church.  Since then, three Personal Ordinariates have been established for this purpose, in Great Britain (2011), the U.S.A. (2012), and in Australia (2012).  To mark the fifth anniversary of the Australian Ordinariate and to celebrate its patronal feast of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, Solemn Sung Mass will be celebrated in Mary Immaculate Church, Annerley, on Thursday 31st August at 7:00pm, to which all are invited.  Mass will be celebrated by the Ordinary of the Australian Ordinariate, Monsignor Harry Entwistle, according to the Ordinariate Form, together with Monsignor Keith Newton, Ordinary of the U.K. Ordinariate, and Bishop Steven Lopes, Ordinary of the U.S. Ordinariate.  Archbishop Coleridge, Bishop Finnigan, and a Vatican official will also be in attendance.  Also, on Wednesday 30th August at 7:30pm, Professor Tracey Rowland will deliver a public lecture on "Ecumenism today and its future", at the Francis Rush Centre, 249 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane, to which all are also welcome.  We share with the Ordinariate a special connectedness to Blessed John Henry Newman, one of the heavenly patrons of the Brisbane Oratory in Formation.  Blessed John Henry saw the structure of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri as being best suited to allow him and his companions to remain together after coming into full communion with the Catholic Church from the Anglican Communion.  In so doing, it was Blessed John Henry who brought Saint Philip's Oratory into the English-speaking world, and our own Oratory community belongs to this group of flourishing and growing "Newmanite" Oratories amongst the Confederation of Oratories worldwide.

In this month of August we have been inviting our supporters and friends to consider signing up for regular giving to the Oratory, especially through direct debit and credit card giving.  Such regular giving is a great help in reaching our yearly fundraising goals, and also allows us some measure of planning and budgeting.  We invite you to consider this suggestion.  Any gift, according to your means, is greatly appreciated.  Please go to the donations page at the Oratory website, or contact me for more information.  As a little thank-you and incentive, those who have signed up – or increased their regular gift – by the end of the coming week, will go in the draw to win a $200 gift card.  Your contributions assist first and foremost in the training of the Oratory's seminarians, but also help in the running of our house, and also support the Oratory's apostolates and ministries.  We are sincerely grateful to all our benefactors who so generously support us.  You are remembered in our prayers, and especially in the Mass that is offered every week by one of the Fathers.

We had previously advertised our next musical Oratorio to take place in October.  Unfortunately, that date has proven to be difficult, and we are currently trying to reschedule the event for November.  We'll advise the new date as soon as it is confirmed.

Saint Philip Neri, our founder, did not set out to create a new community of priests and brothers.  His first work was the evangelisation of his fellow Roman citizens, especially the young men of Rome, whom he knew would otherwise get up to mischief in the afternoon hours. Saint Philip established his oratory for the purpose of gathering others with himself. Through prayer, sermons, hymns and other music, Saint Philip sought to lead people to Christ. He instructed them on Christian morality, the lives of the saints, and the history of the Church. In our day, the "secular oratory" is the name given to the faithful who attach themselves in some way to a particular Congregation of the Oratory.  In fact, the Congregation of priests and brothers in a particular place exists precisely to serve the secular oratory.  The secular oratory involves two main elements: prayer and instruction.  These are a prelude to almsgiving and evangelisation, which together with the exercises of the secular oratory make up the fundamental elements of the lay apostolate.

We are pleased to announce that we will soon be commencing a Men's Secular Oratory and a Women's Secular Oratory.  Our plan, to make a start, is that each group will meet on a different night, once a month, for prayer and instruction.  Having a men's group and a women's group is intended to facilitate the attendance of those with families,  since both parents don't have to attend on the same night.  These secular oratories are aimed at all who are 18 years of age and over, and will run alongside the other groups that already form part of our secular oratory: Frassati Youth, the Frassati Fraternity, and Flores Teresianes. The women's and men's secular oratories will start at 7:30pm in Mary Immaculate church, and run for one hour.  The starting dates of both secular oratories will be announced shortly.

The minimum time period that a community hoping to be established as a Congregation of the Oratory must spend in formation is three years. May 2018 will see us complete those three years, and so in the time after that, we will begin the process of petitioning the Holy See for establishment as a Congregation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri.  The Oratory Community has recently added a Hail Mary at the end of Evening Oratory to pray that the Holy See will grant our establishment.  We invite you to join us in this prayer.

Please pray for Brothers Conor and Matthew who this week return to the Toronto Oratory for their final "year" there, during which they will complete their philosophy degrees.  We look forward to their return to Brisbane in May, in time for Saint Philip's day.  Brothers Shawn and Tyson are home with us for a little longer, before they head to Oxford to commence their four years of theology studies.  It has been a great blessing for the whole of our community to be home together these past months.  Please keep all the Brothers in your prayers as they continue their priestly formation, and please pray as well for Oratorian vocations, to our own community and to others.

Please join us on September 10th as we celebrate Father Andrew's 30th jubilee of priestly ordination.  Ad multos annos!  Details follow later in this newsletter.

Father Adrian Sharp
0427 109 054 


Fr Wise shares with us his experience of being a priest for 30 years
On September 5th I will celebrate my 30th Anniversary of ordination as a priest of Jesus Christ. I was ordained in St Mary’s Cathedral, Sale, on 5th September 1987. On reflecting back on 30 years of priestly ministry, I am firstly moved with an immense sense of gratitude to Almighty God for His goodness, blessings and faithfulness to me through all the ups and downs of these many years. 

It is such a humbling privilege to be personally called by Jesus Christ to serve Him as His priest and as a teacher and shepherd of His people. It is indeed a wonderful life as a priest, so varied and interesting with no single day completely like another. I never know where the Lord will take me or who he will bring into my life in a new or deeper way at the beginning of a typical day as a Parish Priest. Moreover, I never dreamed several years ago that the Lord Jesus would bring me to Brisbane to be a foundation member of a new and remarkable community of priests and seminarians in the Brisbane Oratory; Nor that I would come to know so many wonderful and inspiring lay people through the Oratory and Annerley Ekibin Parish.

Being a priest means being busy with Christ’s work of self-giving and loving service of others in bringing His saving Gospel to them in Word and Sacrament. It is also about being supported, encouraged and inspired by the lay faithful whom the Lord brings into a priest’s life through holy providence. I can certainly bear witness to this in my own priestly life, including very much here in Brisbane. For this, I give joyful thanks to God.

To any young man who senses Jesus’ call to the priesthood I would say – Do not be afraid! – Say a courageous ‘Yes’. You will never regret it if the Lord is indeed calling you. (The Seminary is where you will definitively come to know this). It is in saying yes to His holy will that you will find your true happiness and deepest joy. In radically giving your whole life to Christ forever, you will become a faithful instrument in His hands for the salvation of souls and to help build up all that is truly good in the world. What a great and undeserved honour it is to be called to be a co-worker with Jesus Christ in this way.

Certainly, as I reflect over 30 years of priesthood I also recognise a sharing in the Cross of Jesus that has been there in the times of difficulty and fatigue, but the Lord’s mercy and the new life of His resurrection have always been present deep down as well. The Lord can truly bring a greater good out of every situation, if we only have faith and never give up clinging to Him with a profound hope, trust and confidence. God is indeed good and I give Him heartfelt thanks for his help, kindness, and mercy to me in the times of struggle over all these years in His service.

Finally, for this short reflection, I want to give profound thanks and praise to God the Father for the immense joy and privilege of offering the saving sacrifice of His Son in the Holy Mass, nearly every day for 30 years. Here is contained all the treasure of Heaven, the gift of Jesus Christ Himself, God and man, offered and received to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity and with love for us beyond all telling. This is the Lord’s own body and blood, soul and divinity given as the bread of eternal life to nourish, strengthen and comfort His people on their journey home to the Father. It has been an enormous gift to act “in the person of Christ” in offering Mass each day and in celebrating the other sacraments. This has all been to give glory of almighty God and for the sanctification and healing of His beloved people. Deo Gratias! I look forward with joyful trust to the years still ahead for me in Jesus’ service as His priest, to serve the people for whom He offered His life on the cross and rose again to everlasting glory. A glory He desires in His great love to share with all of us.


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Fr Wise's 30th Jubilee Mass and Brunch

Sunday 10th of September at 9:00am at Mary Immaculate Church

On Sunday, September 10th Fr Wise will offer the 9:00am Mary Immaculate Missa Cantata in thanksgiving for the gift of serving as a Priest of Jesus Christ for thirty years. Afterwards everyone is invited to celebrate over a special Brunch in the Marymac Centre. Please mark your diaries. We hope there will be many Parishioners and Oratory supporters who will be able to celebrate this special occasion with Fr Wise on this day.

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Thursday 14th of September at 7:30pm at Mary Immaculate Church

Solemn High Mass and a Procession will be held for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which commemorates the recovery of the cross on which Christ was crucified by Emperor Heralius in 629 from the hands of the Chosroas, the King of the Persians. It is a day we particularly celebrate the triumph of the cross, the instrument of our redemption.


2nd and 4th Sundays 4:00pm at Mary Immaculate Church

Vespers is evening prayer from the official prayer book of the Church and is primarily a prayer of thanksgiving for the day of salvation just passed. The Second Vatican Council encouraged priests to make Vespers available on Sundays and encouraged the laity to join them. It consists of chants mainly from the psalter and generally takes 30mins. Join us and let us sanctify the Lord's Day together.
  • 27th of August
  • 10th of September
  • 24th of September

Verso L'Alto

Mondays at 7:00pm Mary Immaculate Church and Hall

Verso L'Alto are evenings with talks and the occasional steak night hosted by Frassati Australia, under the direction of Fr Scot, to help young men and women live authentically the Catholic faith. Evenings begin with Mass at 7:00pm. Upcoming topics are as follows:
  • Sept 4th How Well Do You Know the Basics?
  • Sept 11th Steak Night at the Junction
  • Sept 18th Secular Humanism and the City of God
  • Sept 25th French Revolution & Antecedents of Secularism
  • Oct 2nd Fatima: Russia's Errors and the Great Sign

Lay Associations

This section of our newsletter showcases some of the ways you can be involved in the Oratory community. Watch this space for information on the Secular Oratory in the future. For more information on any of these groups please contact us.

Frassati Australia

Frassati Australia is an association of young Catholics, assisting especially younger Catholic men to authentically live the Catholic faith. Inspired by Bl Pier Giorgio Frassati and under the spiritual leadership of the Brisbane Oratory.

Flores Teresianes

Flores Teresianes are a group of young single and married women, eighteen and older, who want to help each other grow in virtue and grow closer to God, especially by embracing the gift of spiritual motherhood. For more information contact

Frassati Youth Group

Inspiring holiness and virtue in high school-aged youth, in partnership with Frassati Australia and the Brisbane Oratory. The youth group meets Friday each Fortnight at St Elizabeth's School for dinner, talks, games, prayer and fun! 

Oratory Music

Oratory Music covers all those invovled with providing music at the Brisbane Oratory. Including our Schola Cantorum of Saint Philip Neri, the Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Mixed Choir, and the Saint Benedict Children's Choir.

Altar Servers

Our Altar Servers have the honour of serving Mass and other liturgical events at the Oratory and even in the wider Brisbane Community, such as assisting at Corpus Christi. If there are any boys or young men who would like to be involved please contact us.

Legion of Mary

The Legion Of Mary is a lay Catholic organisation whose members are giving service to the church, and seek the sanctification of it’s members by prayer and active apostolic work in union with Mary.
"We have no time to go to sleep here, for paradise was not made for sluggards."
- Saint Philip Neri
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