What’s an Oratory?


Q: What’s an Oratory?

A: The Oratory is an Institute in the Church that allows “secular” (parish) priests to live in community under a rule of life. It provides a supportive rule of life for priests who desire a greater commitment to prayer in common.

Q: Tell me more about Oratories…
The most famous Oratorian Father for English-speakers is Blessed John Henry Newman, who brought the Oratory to England in 1848. Today there are 85 Oratories with 500 Oratorians in 19 countries.

Q:  Do Oratory priests remain at one parish or are they moved about?
A:  Oratorian Fathers commit themselves to stability and remain in their community for the rest of their lives.

Q: Who is commissioning the San Francisco Oratory of St. Philip Neri?
A: San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

Q: How am I (Fr. Joseph) involved?
A: With the blessing of Archbishop Cordileone once the funds for the Oratory have been pledged, one other priest, two brothers and I will be able to found the Oratory

Q: When will the Oratory begin in San Francisco? 
A: That depends on several factors, such as priests’ availability and parish availability. We hope to begin either this summer (July 2014) or next summer (July 2015).

Q: How much does Archbishop Cordileone ask to be pledged for financial stability over the initial 3 years in order to okay the foundation of the Oratory?
A: $220,000, in order to cover living expenses for three of the four founding Oratorians.  The salary of the pastor of the Oratorians will be covered by the archdiocese.

Q:  When will I be asked to fulfill my pledge?
A:  Not before September 2014, and perhaps not before September 2015, depending on how soon we can establish the Oratory.

Q:  How will funds be managed?
A:  The Archbishop will establish a Foundation and Board of Trustees to receive and oversee disbursement of funds. Some of our benefactors will be asked to serve on this oversight board.

Q:  How will the funds be spent?
A:  Funds will be used to cover living expenses of the Oratorian Fathers until the community becomes self-sustaining. One will immediately receive the pastor’s salary, and all will share living expenses. As we establish ourselves in the City, we will find means to support the entire community. Although the community may not need much support (we intend to live evangelical simplicity), the Archbishop wanted to make sure we had promises of financial support in case of need.

Q: When is the deadline for pledges to be received?
March 1st


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