Our Story

None of us ever intended to found an Oratory. It was as if St. Philip Neri snuck up on us, captured our hearts and imaginations and set us on a journey that we had no intentions of making. Yet, here we are and what a great joy it is to have been captured by Him.

We now say that there are two kinds of people, those who love St. Philip Neri and those who have never had the great joy of learning about him. This has been true of us as well. From the moment we began to study his life, to study about the first Oratory in Rome and to invoke St. Philip’s intercession, we felt a growing inspiration to begin a Oratory here in this small part of New Jersey.

Most people do not even know that we exist and we will never be a community of great fame or renown, which is fine by us because St. Philip would have preferred it that way. At the same time, we do have a small little part to play in the plan of God within His Holy Church. Our prayer is that others will also desire to live a life of prayer, joy, simplicity and obscurity all for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Finally, some practical information about our beginnings:

It all began in the summer of 2014, when we began to discern the call to found an Oratory of Saint Philip Neri in the Diocese of Trenton. Our experience of communal life together led to a growing desire for a life more centered on prayer and community in service to God’s people. During that first year, we began to live a more intentional communal life in the Oratorian spirit after the example of Saint Philip Neri and the first Oratorians in Rome.

After a year of prayer, discernment and living together in community, we approached His Excellency, The Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M., Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton and our founding Bishop, for permission to begin formation to establish an Oratory in our home diocese, the Diocese of Trenton.

Bishop O’Connell was overjoyed and very supportive of the idea from the very beginning and we are incredibly humbled by his generosity and trust in us. Then, after receiving our Bishop’s permission, we contacted the Procurator General of the Oratory for his permission and guidance.

These communications led to a visitation by the Procurator General in March 2016. During this visitation, Fr. Mario Aviles, C.O., the Procurator General, and Bishop O’Connell both gave their permission for us to move to the second stage of our formation and to receive the habit of St. Philip Neri. The Bishop also determined the permanent location for the Oratory.

This new community was given the Rectory of St. Anthony of Padua in Red Bank, New Jersey to be our new Oratory. Bishop O’Connell additionally entrusted the care of St. Anthony of Padua Church to our community in perpetuity for as long as the Red Bank Oratory exists. We continue to learn, pray and grow as we prepare for the time when, God willing, we may be formally established as a Congregation of the Oratory by the Holy Father.

Our Life

Like St. Philip Neri, we desire to make prayer the heart of our life. While we lead very active apostolates, all of these works orbit around our life of prayer since we know that without God, we can do no good.

Community Schedule:

  • By 5:30 a.m. the members typically awake for private prayer until Holy Mass.
  • 7:30 a.m. Parish Mass
  • 8:30 -9:15 Morning Oratory in Community (Prayer)
  • 1 p.m. Lunch
  • 5:30 – 6:15 Evening Oratory in Community (Prayer)
  • Rosary daily
  • Members spend at least one additional hour in prayer each day in private.
  • After Evening Oratory we have supper in silence with table reading (Once a week, in the place of table reading, there is a discussion of a theological/spiritual question).
  • Members make a visit to Our Lord before retiring to sleep.

Community Nights: On Thursdays we have an extended time of recreation after supper (we like to take hikes in the great parks nearby or, when the weather’s bad, we watch a movie at home).

Desert Days: At least once a month, following the parish Mass, we have a communal desert day. Desert days are spent in total silence and prayer. The prayer schedule of the day is followed with an additional hour of adoration with benediction.

Members have a free day once a week.

Our Work

Oratorians work in every ministry which advances the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our members preach, teach, evangelize, comfort the sick, assist the poor and do whatever is possible to lead souls to Jesus.

Specifically, our community has been entrusted with the care of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Red Bank, N.J. We are very much involved in our parish ministry, we also provide spiritual support to the Missionaries of Charity in Asbury Park, we give talks at various parishes, we have also set up and support an organization to promote the quality liturgical and classical music and we host concerts and recitals throughout the year, we teach catechesis, and do whatever we are able to promote faith in Jesus Christ, love of His Church and the treasures of the Church.

Like our St. Philip Neri and the First Oratorians, we have a special focus on the Most Holy Eucharist, who is the center and the focus of our life. We strive to celebrate the Holy Mass with devotion and beauty. And like St. Philip, confession is a large part of our ministry which is why we offer confession every day during the week after the morning Mass in the Parish Church and six times on the weekends. When we have more men, we hope to provide it even more frequently.

We also have a Secular Oratory which is a group of Laymen who share in the spirituality of the community while living as husbands or single men of various backgrounds and occupations. The Secular Oratory developed alongside the Oratory of priests and brothers and meets nearly every Monday evening at 7 p.m. in the Oratory. Please contact us at 732-747-0813 x10 for more information.

We are also have a small but growing Youth Oratory for young people in 8th through 12th grade. This group allows young people and their families to share in the spirituality and work of the priests and brothers. The Youth Oratory meets twice a month for Oratory nights and also has various outings throughout the year. Please contact us at 732-747-0813 x10 for more information.

What is an Oratory?

The Oratory of St. Philip Neri is a community of priests and brothers who live, pray and work together as a community of brothers and friends after the spirit and rule of St. Philip Neri and the first Oratorians. The nature of the Oratory is found in its name, it is a place of prayer. Though we are very active in various apostolates, the heart of our life and work is prayer.

Canonically, the Congregation of the Oratory is a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Rite. There is no Superior General or Provincials. Each house is self-governing and is directly answerable to the Holy Father. As a Community-in-Formation, this means that we are recognized as an Oratory-in-Formation by the Bishop of our Diocese and the Procurator General of the Confederation of the Oratory and we are preparing for formal canonical establishment by the Holy Father.

Like the Benedictines, the Oratorians live a life of stability, which means that they are not subject to transfer from one house or location to another. They remain in the same location and in the same self-governing community for life.

All of our apostolic work is strengthened, supported and enlivened by our life together as brothers in prayer which is the heart of our work. Each member is equal to all the others and shares in a common life of prayer, fraternity and apostolate as a family united by only one bond, the bond of charity.

It is with confidence and love of God and one another that we grow in our commitment to Christ by living together in friendship. Jesus Christ is the Center, Foundation, Source and Destination of who we are as a community of friends who, with all our imperfections, are drawn together more deeply into His heart and will.

Each of us and each man that joins us will be different from the rest. Each of us has our own individual personalities, temperaments and experiences. Yet, for the love of God and one another, we commit ourselves voluntarily to live this life in this community for the remainder of our lives.

Vocations

Vocations

A call from God is the most personal and intimate aspect of anyone’s life. Hearing His call comes when in silence we experience His personal love for us and His desire to make us holy and to fill our life with His goodness, His peace and His joy.

For us, we don’t know why everyone doesn’t want to be an Oratorian. I guess that would be true of anyone who loves the vocation that God has given them. Yet, we know that it is God who leads us and guides each of us to the place which He has prepared for us.

So, first be sure that you are praying. How could the Lord lead us if we are not speaking to Him from the depths of our heart?

Second, put aside your fears and doubts. Many men do not find their true vocation because they see only their imperfections and unworthiness for the priesthood and religious life. Yet, none of us are perfect. We are all sinners in need of our Savior. Jesus is not seeking ready-made saints to be His priests and brothers. Rather, He’s seeking to make saints of those whom He is calling.

Third, learn as much as you can about St. Philip Neri. If you don’t love him already, trust us, once you learn about him, you will love him. We can help you learn more about him if you would like. Just contact us.

Finally, call us. Don’t put it off, just give us a call and let us walk with you and pray with you and see what God desires for your life.

You can email us at: RBOratory@gmail.com

You can contact us at 732-747-0813 extension 10

Fr. Al – Moderator of the Oratory

Br. Nicholas –Vocations Director and Secretary of the Oratory

Br. Donald – Novice

REQUIREMENTS FOR ENTRANCE INTO THE RED BANK ORATORY:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be in good mental, emotional and physical health.
  • Be faithful to the traditions and teachings of the Catholic Faith.
  • Be humble, cheerful and capable of obedience.
  • Be generous of heart and capable of self-sacrifice for God, the good of the community and those we serve.

Support the Oratory

We are grateful to all those who generously contribute to the support of our life and ministry. Your donation can help us to continue to serve God and our neighbor for many years to come. Please be assured of our prayers for you, your families and loved ones. Thank you!

The Red Bank Oratory-in-Formation is a 501(c)3 non-profit. Contributions are tax-deductible.

How do I make a donation?

Checks can be made out to: The Red Bank Oratory

Please mail your donation to:

The Red Bank Oratory of St. Philip Neri (In-Formation)

121 Bridge Avenue

Red Bank, New Jersey 07701

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