The Brisbane Oratory in Formation



Church of Mary Immaculate, Annerley, Queensland, Australia

And now for something slightly different.

Some may be surprised that the Congregation of the Oratory of St Philip Neri never made it to the Botany Bay penal settlement ever since that day when Captain (later Governor, later Admiral) Arthur Phillip first came ashore in 1788 very shortly before Jean François de Galaup, Comte de Lapérouse of the French Royal Navy did exactly the same thing. Well, that’s all changed now.

Since 2011 efforts have been made by a small group of secular clergy to establish an oratory in Australia and there is one such in formation now in the Archdiocese of Brisbane. They have the required four members to establish an oratory and there are also four young men in the St Philip Neri Seminary of the Toronto Oratory (not all that far from johnhenry’s stately pile in Ontario, I fully suspect). Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Queensland, did the needful and welcomed these secular clergy, who were mostly from outside the Brisbane archdiocese. (So far so good.)

The Toronto Oratory itself is not all that ancient (established 1979 after transferring from Montreal) and the story of its foundation mirrors that of the Brisbane Oratory in Formation. Which we’re all about to see the story of:

Archbishop Coleridge has given the fathers care of the Church of Mary Immaculate in Annerley, on the Ipswich Road a few miles south of the old city of Brisbane across the river and not all that far from the Gabba, which any cricket enthusiasts here would know about. It is therefore an old area, more working class than not historically, but now apparently on the sure path to “gentrification”. This is probably a result of all those young people moving in. You know, the ones the Bishop of Rome on youtube says have “restlessness” as their defining feature? (A condition, I suggest, more likely due to their maxed-out credit cards, Holy Father. Ahem.)

At Mary Immaculate the fathers seem to be quite focused on the Extraordinary Form (this story is getting better!). However, in two other neighbouring parishes also committed to their care they are acutely sensitive to the NO needs of Christ’s faithful there (excellent, couldn’t get any better than this!).

Our sincere prayers for God our Father’s abundant blessings on the  Oratorian aspirants in Brisbane, that the fathers and brothers will obtain the years of stability required for their oratory to be pontifically fully recognised.





About GC

Poor sinner.
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6 Responses to The Brisbane Oratory in Formation

  1. GC says:

    As for the four young Australian Oratorian seminarians at the Toronto Oratory our prayers are needed also:

    What youthful restlessness, Holy Father.

    And this would make a community of eight at the Brisbane Oratory, which is a considerable rate of growth. I understand that there are many new oratories in formation around the world – growth all round, very recently in San Francisco with the welcome given there by Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

    The Brisbane Oratorians were able to gain occupancy of the convent in Annerley from the three remaining Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart (an Australian congregation ) still there until recently, but who have now moved out. These sisters are apparently “spring chickens”, comparatively speaking. Well it’s all relative, isn’t it. I understand that this particular congregation of women are sometimes partial to calling themselves “Josephites for Justice” these days or something to that effect. How lovely.


  2. kathleen says:

    What a truly wonderful, uplifting post + great videos, GC. Most encouraging coming, as they do, in the wake of so much bad news blowing in the winds from Rome. 😉

    “What youthful restlessness, Holy Father.”

    Haha! Yes, indeed. A holy, well-focused “restlessness” from young men of integrity and firm convictions, who are not afraid to call themselves ‘Catholic’. Would the HF approve, I wonder?


  3. GC says:

    Thanks, kathleen, dear friend. You are always so incorrigibly encouraging toward the team and so many commenters here! 🙂

    Yes, they were heartening videos, weren’t they. What surprised me most was the young who are still joining the traditional religious communities rather than the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ outfits, which we know are in serious decline. In fact it looks like the growing traditional orders and religious associations are even moving into the old digs of the inevitably dying modernist ones.

    I was so surprised to discover also that there have been very many new Oratories established over the last few decades. I found myself wondering why?

    One answer may be that, with the decline in ordinations in the West and the consequent phenomena of lonely single priest presbyteries and the amalgamation of parishes, an Oratory set-up would provide a healthy and holy community life for a group of secular priests and please the bishop also as these priests would be able to look after all the other churches in the amalgamations. Everyone’s a winner! And the liturgies, both EF and NO, would be so much more decent too.

    Didn’t hear much about all that in the videos, though!


  4. kathleen says:

    Thank you, our dear GC, for you bring such delight (even to toads 😉 ) when you, with your unique talents and wit, appear on these pages.

    To tell you the truth, it does not “surprise” me to see that it is the young who are attracted to the traditional religious life and the group that is raising the vocation statistics in Australia and all over the world. The “Spirit of Vatican 2 outfits“, as you so amusingly call them, are banal, boring and unattractive to the young (especially young men), and yes, are now in a spiralling decline being mostly filled with nothing more than elderly women. No young people. Hardly a man under 70 in sight.
    Then one turns to look at the FSSP, the ICKSP, and here, thanks to you, at the Oratorians, plus other vibrant growing orders that hold and preach Catholic Tradition, and your heart soars with hope for the future of the Church.
    (Just hope we won’t get Pope Francis coming after them with his ‘axe’ to cut down those tiresome “ultra-Conservatives” he loathes so much!! 😯 The sorry state of the once flourishing traditional order of the Franciscans of the Immaculate (FI) is a heart-breaking example of his work of destruction!)


  5. Emilie says:

    If you wanted to feel like you were inside the Oratory, The Catholic Leader newspaper created a short documentary when they were officially initiated into the Archdiocese.


  6. GC says:

    Thank you, Emilie. I believe you were one of the camera crew from the Brisbane Catholic Leader that got the whole video together for us all. Quite a few readers here have enjoyed watching the fruit of your work.

    I see Father Adrian Sharp, one of the priests of the Brisbane Oratory, has paid us a visit on CP&S too. Father, I hope we got all the information right here and again many of us here will be praying for the stability and further growth of your community being formed there now.


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