In this month's newsletter, Fr Adrian shares with us in the Moderator's Message an update of current happenings in the community. In the Reflection, Br Shawn gives us an update about the brothers' formation in Oxford. We have many events including the Marian Musical Oratorio which we invite you to attend.
Since our last newsletter in August (hasn’t this year flown by?!), things have become a little quieter in the Oratory house, with all the Brothers returning to their studies overseas. Brothers Conor and Matthew are back for the final stretch in Toronto, and Brothers Shawn and Tyson have started their theology studies in Oxford. This is not to suggest that the Brothers were noisy, and we certainly look forward to their return in the middle of next year! Please check our website (http://brisbane-oratory.org/) for news and photos of the Brothers’ progress.
Speaking of the website, Brother Tyson has been busy giving it a bit of a face-lift. The landing page now has the latest news, including photos, and the side-bar gives quick access to the information that people are commonly looking for. We hope you like the new look! Please take a look if you haven’t visited the website for a while, and don’t forget to subscribe to receive email updates from us.
As a man joins an Oratorian community, he passes through various stages leading to full membership in the community. The first three years consist of the first probation (one year) and then the second probation (two years), during which the novice is formed in zeal for virtue and also formed to become adapted to the family life of the Oratory community. As well as becoming imbued in the mind and spirit of the Oratory, his suitability is also tested. At the end of these three years, if the novice has given a good account of himself in the life of the community, and has the intention of remaining forever, then the community takes a secret ballot and decides by absolute majority whether the man is to be fully aggregated into the community or dismissed. Brother Tyson completed his second probation at the beginning of September, and so the vote was taken and he has been aggregated to our community. Congratulations, Brother Tyson! After the completion of a further three years after aggregation (when one completes the sexennium, six years since entering), a member is given full voting rights in the community, with the ability to elect others, and is eligible to be elected to all offices in the community.
The Secular Oratory was the origin of the Oratory itself, and it was the reason that Saint Philip’s Congregation of the Oratory came into being. The Secular Oratory is that association of the lay faithful to whom the work of the Oratory Fathers and Brothers is directed. There can be various sections of the Secular Oratory, “either according to different categories of persons or different categories of work” (Oratory Constitutions, 119). The Men’s Oratory began last month, and this week the Women’s Oratory begins on Tuesday 7th November at 7:30pm, starting in Mary Immaculate Church. These groups will alternate monthly, and you can check the dates for the forthcoming gatherings on the website.
We warmly invite you to the next Oratorio, Tuesday 14th November at 7:30pm in Mary Immaculate Church, which will feature sacred music in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is a free event, and all are welcome. Please bring your friends! Our Advent Oratorio will be a special collaboration with the Artes Christi group from Sydney. The evening will commence with the usual 5:30pm Mass on Saturday 16th December, for those who wish to attend. The service of lessons and carols will start at 6:30pm, with Bishop Jarrett, Bishop emeritus of Lismore, in attendance. The Oratorio will be followed by dinner and a dance in the hall. Please mark your diary.
The community has begun planning for 2018 and we’ll keep you posted as things are finalized. Two dates to put on your calendar for next year: On Monday 9 July 2018 during the 7:00pm Mass, Archbishop Coleridge will institute as Acolytes our Brothers Tyson, Conor and Matthew. Also, on Wednesday 8th August 2018, we will have Solemn High Mass at 5:30pm in honour of Australia’s own Saint Mary of the Cross (MacKillop), patroness of our Archdiocese. We will once again invite the clergy of the Archdiocese to dinner at the Oratory house that evening.
At the moment we have a couple of serious enquirers to the Oratory. Please keep these men in your prayers, and please pray for Oratorian vocations. If we do have more members join in 2018, we will most certainly need to spend some money to create more bedrooms, which is a wonderful problem to have! This is a good opportunity to thank our committed and regular benefactors who allow us to meet our financial commitments. If you are not already signed up with a regular contribution to the Oratory, may I invite you to do so? Please contact me for more information, or visit the Donations page on the website.
Father Adrian Sharp
Br Shawn gives us an update about what he and Br Tyson are doing in Oxford
It is now around just a month since Br Tyson and I landed in Oxford to complete our formation for the Oratorian priesthood. We came here for two purposes: to complete our theology studies for the priesthood at Blackfriars, the Dominican House of Studies for the English Province, and to live and work in another Oratory to continue our Oratorian formation for the Brisbane Oratory.
One of the great aspects of this kind of life is that we live a full religious and parish life while doing our studies. Our days combine a mix of prayer, study, work and pastoral activities. Each weekday we have mental prayer in the morning and evening, our meals are mostly in common, with evening meal being a ‘formal meal’ in that it is a non-talking meal with readings and serving, much like in a monastery. In between these activities, Br Tyson and I busy ourselves with our studies or other responsibilities that we have. I am assistant sacristan and assist the parish priest in his visits to the local primary school, while Br Tyson assists with the Scouts.
One of the highlights so far has been the 40 Hours devotion for which St Philip had a great affinity. It involves exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for 40 hours (derived from the 40 hours of Jesus’ body in the tomb). The church was beautifully lit up with candles and adorned with flowers, while people spent time with the Lord throughout the day and night of the devotion.
Our Lady of Oxford, Mother of Mercy is a special patroness of the city and Oratory. Her image is in the chapel dedicated to her at the back of the church. Often, I ask her assistance for my progression towards the priesthood, and for all the Brisbane Oratory’s parishioners and benefactors. May she protect us!
You can see more photos and news from the brothers in Oxford on our website.
Tuesday 14th of November at 7:30pm Mary Immaculate Church
An evening of beautiful sacred music with a Marian theme. Amongst several instrumental and choral works, the principal feature will be Hayden’s powerful and moving Salve Regina. Directed by Mr Warwick Adeney, director of music of the Brisbane Oratory (and concertmaster of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra), the music will be provided by the Oratory Choir and Schola. There is no charge for admission. More information is available on our website and you can also visit the event page on Facebook. We welcome you to invite your friends and family.
Monthly at Mary Immaculate Church
Men’s and Women’s Secular Oratory are evening sessions of prayer, formation and fellowship for adults. The one hour sessions include a brief reading from a spiritual work or scripture, a short talk on the reading, and time for silent prayer. This is then followed by a discussion, to help us apply to our lives what we have gathered from the reading and prayer.
Women's Oratory Tuesday November 7th at 7:30pm
Men's Oratory Thursday 14th of December at 7:30pm
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.
12th of November
26th of November
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 the Brisbane Oratory, to help young men and women live authentically the Catholic faith. Evenings begin with Mass at 7:00pm. Upcoming topics are as follows:
Nov 5th - The Structure of the Mass and Sacred Tradition
Nov 20th - Keeping the Commandments with the Spirit of the Beatitudes
Oct 2nd - Fatima: The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East
Dec 4th - End of Year Frassati BBQ
"A man ought never to think he has done any good, or rest contented with any degree of perfection he may have attained, because Christ has given us the type of our perfection, in putting before us the perfection of the Eternal Father. Be ye perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect." - Saint Philip Neri
Thank you for supporting the Brisbane Oratory in Formation