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Australia’s Oratory receives burst of youth

Seminarians for the Australian Oratory

Future priests: Br Peter Buckley, Br Shawn Murphy, Br Francis King and Br Conor Power in Toronto, where Australia’s Oratory seminarians are receiving priestly formation.

YOUNG Catholic seminarians have almost outnumbered the priests making their home in Australia’s first Oratory.

The Brisbane Oratory in Formation welcomed Brisbane men Matthew Buckley, now known as Br Peter, and Conor Power to the community in September.

Br Peter is a qualified civil engineer, and was a former member of the University of Queensland’s Newman Society and helped start the Queensland Chesterton Society.

Br Conor grew up in Spring Hill and discerned a vocation with the Dominican friars before entering the Oratory seminary.

Br Peter and Br Conor officially received their long black cassocks in September and joined the Brisbane Oratory’s two novices Br Francis King and Br Shawn Murphy in Toronto, Canada.

Seminarians make up half the numbers of men associated with Australia’s first Oratory, based in Brisbane.

Br Shawn said the seminarians were waiting for the blistering winter, forecasted through red and brown leaves on Canada’s autumnal leaves.

Seminarians intending on joining Australia’s Oratory are required to receive formation in an established Oratory.

Brisbane’s four novices will receive formation with their Toronto counterparts for at least three years.

Br Shawn, who is in his third year, said the liturgy welcoming the two new novices was a reminder of his call to join the Oratory.

“It was a joyful reminder of my own clothing in September a couple of years ago,” he said.

Br Francis said the new seminarians would spend their first year studying the Oratory and its spirituality, the life of its founder St Philip Neri and Blessed John Henry Newman.

“Since the Brisbane Oratory is to be the first in Australia it is important we are well formed in Oratorian life,” Br Francis said.

“This helps us to understand how to live out the spirit of the Oratory and St Philip.”

Prayer is an essential part of an Oratorian’s life.

“We have mental prayer twice a day for 30 minutes each time, as well as spiritual direction and confession twice a week,” Br Francis said.

“Living with the Oratorian Fathers here in Toronto also helps us to see how they carry out their mission of helping the laity to become saints.”

Last month the Toronto Oratory organised a traditional devotion where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed for 40 consecutive hours.

The devotion, a favourite of St Philip Neri, begins with Mass and ends with a Rosary and holy hour.

Br Shawn said Oratory members were “sons” of St Philip Neri, formed in his spirit rather than a rule, the method adopted by many religious congregations.

Brisbane Oratory seminarians rely on the support of regular donors to receive formation in Toronto and are not funded by a diocese.

The seminarians have requested prayers to continue their progress towards the priesthood.

Written by: Emilie Ng
Catholic Church Insurance

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