AUSTRALIA’S first Oratory community has raised more than $100,000 in donations to fund its four seminarians and running costs for the next year.
The Brisbane Oratory in Formation is in its second year and is the first Congregation of the Oratory of St Philip Neri in Australia.
Archbishop Mark Coleridge established the Australian community on May 26, 2015, the feast day of the Oratory’s founder St Philip Neri, and has since grown to a community of seven men including four seminarians.
The Australian community includes moderator Fr Adrian Sharp, Fr Andrew Wise, and Fr Scot Armstrong, while the seminarians studying for the Oratory are Brisbane men Br Conor Power and Br Matthew Buckley, Br Shawn Murphy and Br Tyson King.
The community welcomed more than 220 people to its annual Oratory Winter Ball fundraiser on July 22, which helped the Oratory reach its annual goal to raise $100,000.
Fr Sharp said the funds raised at the annual ball and other fundraising initiatives would cover the finances required for seminary expenses and associated costs for the coming year.
“We are very grateful for this tremendous show of support,” he said.
“The Oratory community thanks all those who so generously support it, especially for the training of its seminarians.”
Br Murphy and Br King will head to Oxford to begin their theology studies at Blackfriars and live in the Oxford Oratory community, while Br Power and Br Buckley will return to Toronto at the end of next month to complete their philosophy degrees.
The Brisbane Oratory is required to spend two years in formation before it can petition to the Pope a request to found a congregation in Australia.
Throughout history Oratory congregations have attracted well-known Catholics, including Oxford scholar Cardinal John Henry Newman.