Rorate Caeli

New oratory community in San Francisco

Oratories, societies and priestly fraternities come and go, depending on the whim of the local bishop.  There are several examples, particularly in the U.S. and Canada, of priests in such organizations that have been restricted, persecuted or even thrown out of dioceses when too many young adults flocked to communities that favored traditional Latin Masses.

His Excellency Salvatore Joseph Cordileone, archbishop of San Francisco, California, on the other hand, has been one of the most friendly archbishops in the world toward traditional and traditional-leaning Catholics. He has celebrated numerous pontifical High Masses and even travels for FSSP ordinations.

One year ago we posted a report that Archbishop Cordileone personally requested a parish in San Francisco offer the traditional Latin Mass on a regular basis. This was a huge accomplishment considering just a few years back, under much different leadership, there was a lone, brave priest in that archdiocese -- the Rev. Fr. William Young -- offering a catacomb-like TLM, and he was rewarded by former archdiocesan officials with residence at the notorious Most Holy Redeemer parish until becoming seriously ill.

The parish that offers the regular TLM established by Archbishop Cordileone will now be the home of the latest community-in-formation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri.

Catholic San Francisco, the archdiocesan newspaper, gives details here.

The fraternity is the first step toward the canonical establishment of an Oratory of St. Philip Neri. The Oratory is a “Clerical Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right,” first begun by St. Philip in Rome in 1575. Its members are secular priests and brothers who live in community without formal vows and carry out pastoral ministry, usually in an urban parish. For final papal approval, the Oratory – which for now will be known as a fraternity – will need to prove itself stable and in accord with Oratorian charisms for at least three years, Father (Joseph) Illo said. The fledgling community at Star of the Sea will be evaluated by the Oratorian Procurator General in Rome over this probation period.
Blessed John Henry Newman founded the first English Oratory in Birmingham in 1848.
“We will do normal parish work: beautiful and reverent Masses and frequent opportunities for the sacrament of penance are the core,” said Father Illo. Star already offers the extraordinary form of the Latin Mass on Sundays at 11 a.m. and daily at 7:30 a.m., which will continue.