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Oratory takes step forward

Brisbane Oratory members Fr Adrian Sharp and Fr Paul Chandler outside the Oratory community’s house.

Oratory progress: Brisbane Oratory members Fr Adrian Sharp (left) and Fr Paul Chandler outside the Oratory community’s house. Photo: Emilie Ng

COMMUNITY life has begun for the Brisbane Oratory as two of its local members settled into their new residence at Annerley Ekibin parish earlier this month.

Oratory community member Fr Adrian Sharp, former parish priest of Browns Plains, officially began work as parish priest of Annerley Ekibin in the new year.

Fellow member Fr Paul Chandler, formerly parish priest of Banyo-Nundah , joins him as priest in residence.

These changes mark the beginning of the common life for the Brisbane Oratory.

Although both priests are now in residence at the Annerley Ekibin parish, Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge is yet to make a final decision as to the Oratory’s permanent residence.

Fr Chandler said these initial stages of community life were “small steps” towards becoming formally integrated into the archdiocese.

All that is missing now is for seminarian Shawn Murphy, who will complete his studies over the next six years in the Toronto Oratory, and two more priests who cannot yet be identified, to join their community brothers.

“We now have a physical place, and people who are watching the project unfold can see that we’re moving towards somewhere,” Fr Sharp said.

“Our two priests have somewhere to visit, and our seminarian has a home.”

The common life for Fr Sharp and Fr Chandler includes a traditional evening Oratory, a form of silent prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, litanies to Our Lady and founder of the Congregation of the Oratory St Philip Neri, and a formal community dinner.

According to canon law, an oratory is known as a Society of Apostolic Life, and members live what Fr Sharp called “a democratic life”.

“The general sense of how Oratories should be depends on the location and its members who add flavour to the lifestyle,” he said.

Fr Sharp said various members could include “local customs” and their own chaplaincy work to share within the community.

This would include Fr Chandler’s work with young men’s apostolate Frassati Ministries, and Fr Sharp’s work as chaplain for home-schooling groups and at the regional tribunal, among other ministries and apostolates.

Fr Sharp said any major decisions about the Oratorian framework were made in consultation between himself, Fr Chandler and their two other members by teleconference.

He said the project had given him the impetus to write more on his personal blog, A Secular Priest.

The Oratory hopes to send another young man to the Toronto seminary in September.

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