By Emilie Ng
FOUR Brisbane Oratory in Formation members gathered in Annerley with Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge on Ash Wednesday for a blessing of their new temporary residence, Casa San Girolamo.
House residents Fr Adrian Sharp and Fr Paul Chandler invited Archbishop Coleridge to dine with them and two other community members who have not yet begun living in Brisbane.
The Oratory announced Fr Andrew Wise, of Sale diocese, Victoria, as the third Oratory priest who will relocate to Brisbane when the Oratory formally begins. The name of the fourth priest cannot yet be disclosed.
The occasion marked the beginning of Lent and of “quiet celebration” for Australia’s first Oratory community.
The community’s house was named after the Church of San Girolamo (St Jerome in Italian) where founder St Philip of Neri first lived while in Rome.
It is said he first began the community in this church.
“Being the first home of the community while awaiting its formal beginning, it is appropriate that it carry this name,” Fr Chandler said.
He said the blessing of Casa San Girolamo was “very encouraging” for the Oratory members and for all those praying for the community.
“The Holy Spirit is prompting us to move forward, so it was very encouraging to have the Archbishop and our four priests together,” Fr Chandler said.
As Australia’s first Oratory community, Fr Chandler said Casa San Girolamo was “a house for all Australians”.
Along with priests from around the country joining the new community, Fr Chandler said a Secular Oratory, a community for lay Catholics inspired by St Philip, was also in formation.
Frassati Australia, a ministry for Catholic men of which Fr Chandler is chaplain, will eventually become the basis for the Secular Oratory.
“It seems that God has been preparing a Secular Oratory even before the priestly Oratory began,” he said.
The regular Monday-night events run by Frassati Australia would eventually become regular features of the Secular Oratory, Fr Chandler said.
The Brisbane Oratory in Formation will hold a fundraising dinner on May 24 to raise money for the education and formation of its priestly students.