The following comes from a Feb. 13 posting on the blog of Father Joseph Illo.
I’ve been serving as chaplain to Thomas Aquinas College for the last two years and feel greatly privileged to work among such deeply Catholic educators and students. Recently, however, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has invited a priest-friend and me to establish an “Oratory of St. Philip Neri” in his city.
Most diocesan priests who pray their breviaries pray them alone. Those who do the daily holy hour do it alone, and those who pray their daily rosaries do so by themselves. I’ve done this, more or less, over the 24 years of my priesthood, and I’ve always desired greater priestly community. In my last parish (St. Joseph’s in Modesto) we did pray our holy hours together every morning, and I miss that here in the College. In 1996 I spent two weeks with the Missionaries of Charity Fathers in Tijuana, discerning if I should join their order. I concluded that God wanted me to remain “in the world,” pastoring a parish and evangelizing the workaday world. Now comes the opportunity to work in the world and live in community.
The Oratory is an Institute in the Church that allows “secular” (parish) priests to live in community under a rule of life. St. Philip Neri founded “the Oratory” in Rome in 1575 as a religious congregation of priests and brothers who lived in the parish of Santa Maria in Vallicella, now known as Chiesa Nuova, in downtown Rome. It provides a supportive rule of life for priests who desire a greater commitment to prayer in common. The most famous Oratorian Father for English-speakers is Blessed John Henry Newman, who brought the Oratory to England in 1848. Today there are 85 Oratories with 500 Oratorians in 19 countries. We would establish the first congregation of Oratorian Fathers in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.
We would begin with two priests and two brothers in a downtown parish with a large rectory, which Archbishop Cordileone has offered us. One of us priests would serve as pastor; we would build up the parish through beautiful liturgy and the lay apostolate, but focus also on evangelizing young adult professionals. The Archbishop has mentioned possibly establishing a Catholic center in one of the larger office buildings with daily Mass and confessions.
A few months ago we were discussing the enormous potential of the Oratory in San Francisco with Archbishop Cordileone. At one point he paused and smiled: “I’m a diocesan bishop, and so I have to think about money, too. I would need you to secure financial commitments to fund part of your living expenses over three years.” I knew he was going to get around to that sooner or later! But as Mother Teresa used to say, “Don’t worry about money. God has lots of it.” If the Lord Jesus and his holy Mother want an Oratory in San Francisco, they will find the money. But of course we have to ask for it.
Would you, my dear readers, like to help us establish the San Francisco Oratory of St. Philip Neri? One of the founding priests would receive a pastor’s salary, but the Archbishop needs us to obtain $220,000 in pledges to fund living expenses for the other three founders, contingent on our actual expenses. If each of you pledged $150 per year for three years, we would meet our goal. Some can pledge much more, and some less, but together we can present a commitment of full support to Archbishop Cordileone.
We don’t want any money right now, but only pledges of financial support. We would begin either the summer of 2014 or the summer of 2015, and would call upon those pledges only as needed from that time for three years. If you get a chance, look-up the “Oratory of St. Philip Neri” to better understand what kind of community and ministry we are seeking to establish in San Francisco. Ask God if He would like you to support this work with a pledge. If you can partner with Archbishop Cordileone and us, please fill out the pledge form below and keep the San Francisco Oratory of St. Philip Neri in your prayers.
We place this work in the hands of Immaculate Mary, Cause of Our Joy and Mother of the Church.
Yours sincerely in Christ
Fr. Joseph Illo
Head Chaplain, Thomas Aquinas College
Santa Paula, California
To read the original blog posting, click here.
GOD b less them.
Why is he asking for our money?
Catholic Brothers and Priests are in BIG DEMAND in today’s world, so they should be able to support themselves financially, especially if Bishop Cordileone “gives them” a rectory and a parish.
Sisters must go out and find jobs to support themselves and their elderly retired Nuns, so these men need to seek ministries that would enable them to earn their daily bread, rather than relying on donations from others.
If they want to live and pray together, terrific, but they can also get jobs. One Nun I know makes her living by working in a retirement home for another Religious Order, taking care of such things as cleaning, taking care of bed pans, bathing the old Sisters, etc. — and she’s the Mother Superior of her convent!
Anonymous, good post and 100% correct. The AB needs these Priests but does not want to pay for them. I think it is a mistake to think that the people of SF are going to fall for this. He should take the money out of his travel fund and get these religious men started right away. The saintly Nuns are what is keeping our Church together and the Church leaders, such as the AB, sit back and take all the credit.
James, your comment about Archbishop Corleone’s “travel fund” made me laugh.
He’s a good man, but he’s never here in SF, always running around the country to give talks, rather than tending to his flock.
A few months ago, he missed some major event here (perhaps it was the ordination of deacons, or the confirmation of students at some parish where he was scheduled to celebrate) because some group back east asked him to fly out there and celebrate a Tridentine Mass.
It’s nice he can do this type of Mass, but why not celebrate it for his people in SF?
I heard him speak once about the bishop’s ring being a symbol of the bishop being “married to his diocese,” so it would be well for him to stay with his spouse and minister to her needs, rather than piling up frequent flyer miles.
Michael, perfect comment. I used the term ‘travel fund’ as when he was BP of Oakland he was never there – always traveling and using funds that should have been used for the poor & sick. As far as I can see, he is not doing any better in San Francisco….
I smell sour apples here. When someone travels to give talks, usually all expenses, including Air fare is covered by those who invited him or her to come and a stipend or fee is also usually included. I am sure that is the case with Archbishop Cordileone.
May God have mercy on an amoral Amerika!
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher, Founding Director
Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.
Kenneth, reality check time — Father Illo is not being invited to give a talk.
He’s being offered a parish, a rectory, a salary, and of course in such sitatuions he’ll probably also get a housekeeper, cook, etc.
In addition to the money he earns as pastor.
He’ll not be sitting out in the snow, selling pencils for a living.
Oh Kenneth same ole same ole…when will you refresh yourself and become new in Jesus Christ. You are full of pride that’s what you are. You smell sour apples? Really tell us all about it, just like Catherine who thinks to know what the devil is up to these days? She and you all are in the same boat. Do the work of Jesus and stop dragging the church down with your magnifying glass that is always spot lighting its imperfections. Look at your own flaws first before you speak! While the rest of us are trying to do good, there is always someone who is suspicious and thinks of sour apples!!
I believe Kenneth was referring to the sour apples of those upset by the offer to pay the priest’s requisite expenses. At least that’s how I read it. That said, Kenneth was defending the potential good to be done, not grousing about how these priests should go out and get a job and pay for themselves.
@ Tired, of course there is no crisis in the Church all is well with songs of tolerance and diversity, mass attendance in the cellar, barely any vocations, gays dominating the priesthood, but all is well… renew in the Springtime in the church tolerance and diversity….while souls fall to Hell
Why not give money to help start a new Catholic initiative? It seems the Oxford Oratory is a center of Catholic evangelization to this day. Father Illo is a most Holy man. He helps out once a month with the Latin Mass at St. Mary Magdalen in Camarillo (sung mass 10 am every Sunday) so I had the pleasure of hearing many of his sermons. These Oratorians will raise their new SF parish to new heights.
The link provided in the article to St. Philip Neri (ETWN) was very informative.
I will be contributing, as I know that supporting Archbishop Cordileone and Fr. Illo in a new venture is going to be very good for the California Church. Even a few good bishops and priests make an enormous difference.
Every best wish in this new adventure in evangelization, Father Illo.
Well said Gratias! Spoke to Fr. Illo at the Walk for Life West Coast and he is a priest who loves his vocation. Please support him and the new Oratory, and don’t forget, even priests have to pay for lights, electricity, cable, phone…
This is great news. I recently published an article about several initiatives Archbishop Cordileone has taken in the archdiocese at The New Liturgical Movement (https://tinyurl.com/BenedictXVIinstitute). I am very happy to hear of this good work in progress too.
I read the link and it helps support growing shared impression this AB has a clear agenda of a careerist: very little to do with actual pastoral work, showy self-promoting agenda with action items necessary to climb the hierarchical ladder.
California Catholic, I agree and another way to say it is ” Looking For A Red Hat”.
Roseanne, thank for this interesting and informative link.
I meant “thank you”.
This is very good news! Look forward to hearing more about this!!
Great! San Francisco needs more holy men!!
What a loss to the students at our beloved and deeply Catholic Thomas Aquinas College in Ventura County. Father Illo was well known before he came to TAC and his arrival was thrilling news to all. This news is sure to be felt at the heart level at Thomas Aquinas College, where he has been so well respected and admired. With all that he is doing there, a part of me is heartsick at the thought of his possibly moving on.
Dear friends, I’ve read this article, and the complete story, a couple of times now, and I don’t quite understand what the purpose of this Oratory is.
Some priest friends of mine already pray the Divine Office together, and in some cases with their congregation, so why is this different?
And why are they asking for money?
Will they live a rather cloistered life?
Most diocesan priests do not pray the Divine Office together. Part of the problem with priests these days is that they do not live in communities, living single isolated lives and do not have the support and encouragement of brother priests to any extent.
MOST PRIEST NO LONGER EVEN PRAY THEIR BREVIAIRIS!
How well I remember the late Fr. Thwaite, S.J. insisting that he read his breviary while laid up in a bed in France where he had been taken from the Chartres Pilgrimage. Fr. Thwaite converted to Catholicism while in the Japanese Prison camp portrayed in “the Bridge on the River Kawaii!
May God have mercy on an amoral Amerika!
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher, Founding Director
Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.
I agree with you to a large extent. But this is the -hard- life of a secular priest. Those holy men who require the aid and comfort of community life might be better suited to religious orders.
My greater wish is that the Office was prayed beyond the clergy and those dedicated to the religious life. I have benefited greatly by those laity who gather together once or twice a week, or even more, to pray the divine office. I personally pray the Compline as often as I am able, as it seems to me the most complete embodiment of the office. But if I could form a community of people who gathered to pray the office together in a public place, as they are able, that would be amazing!
A lot of what AB is doing reminds me of the moves of a “careerist” – as the Holy Father spoke about and the lack of pastoral work.
Archbishop Cordileone is a most Holy man. Are some here organizing a coordinated attack by ACORN/SEIU/Alinsky types? Enjoy your control of the Government but leave the faithful alone. It seems to me that for some reason the Devil fears this new parish in Downtown San Francisco. Thank you Archbishop Cordileone, I will be contributing to this new initiative.
Gratias, I have the same feeling and am trying my best to ignore them.
Here is an example:
SF Archdiocese is being sued by its employee, in according to sf Chronicle andMarin Independent Journal (2/8/14) for “Hostile work environment”
The other defendants are: her “de facto supervisor”, Capuchin Franciscan Western American Province, and Rev. Fr James Tarantino.
Is it because there is no time to settle the grievance and/or does not know what is going on?
Msgr Tarantino, the #2 man in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, allowed his buddy Bill (the guy with the “checkered past”) not only to run roughshod over the people of St Hillary but also over the people of St Francis.
And now he’s claiming he had nothing to do with it!!!
Maybe HE SHOULD join this Oratory, and leave the people of the diocese in peace…
I am reminded of an interesting post by a blogger nicknamed wkndbeachcomber :
The Greek root of the word διάβολος means to insinuate things against; to put in a bad light, slander, calumniate. The Latin word is diabolus; in English, diabolic. “
I’m currently reading the book “Disinformation” by Pacepa and Rychlak. Not finished yet. But looking back over years of combox comments I imagine a whole network of disinformationists sitting at their computers looking for places like this to drop in comments.
Or, more likely there are a only few of these people using many different IDs!
Much better to spend your time in prayer.
The sanctification of religious by concerted and united prayer is the furthest thing from being careerist, Anonymous Catholic. Begging support for such a venture is truly humble as the practical – just get a job – is precisely the attitude that leads priests and religious to forget their number one calling. Sanctification. Instead, they pursue the visible works and too often forget the intense prayer and quietude that actually brings the fruit. And not out of any malice, but rather because that which is practical often leads to the negation of that which is supernatural and seemingly impossible.
God bless Archbishop Cordileone in this venture and protect him from all that would see it fail. (Although negative snarking against a venture is often the best sign that it is a good one!)
Would anyone be surprised if the Archbishop offered Most Holy Redeemer to this religious community???
Is that a downtown Church with a large rectory?
No, it’s a homosexual parish in the Castro District.
I think the many straight people at Most Holy Redeemer might object to calling their parish “homosexual”.
Okay — it’s a gay parish in the Castro District.
With a smattering of straight people.
And some families with little children.
And lots of nuns who attend Mass there.
They would be wrong/…..
It’s a territorial parish in what we now call the Castro district of San Francisco. Most Holy Redeemer Parish, as many of the locals knew the area for many decades, has always reflected the residents who live there and still does even today: previously majority Irish Catholics, the neighborhood was in decline until the 70s as gays moved into an area of cheap rents, warm weather, and suburban charm. Yes, there are now gays, a smattering of straight people including some of the original now elderly Irish Catholics, as well as young families with little children, and lots of nuns. Increasingly, the neighborhood, and hence the parish, is giving way to tech industry folks, who are snatching up newly constructed units at rents Harvey Milk would probably have protested against. Two bedroom apartments now go for $6,000-$11,000 a month in the Castro and neighboring Misision Districts. Things are changing in the Castro, and neither the neighborhood nor the parish are “homosexual” or gay. Even bars and cafes on Castro are less and less dominated by gays.
Thank you. The article said they would be at a downtown Church with a large rectory where they could evangelize young adult professionals.
THAT is a BRILLIANT idea ya’ll. Give Most Holy Redeemer for the Oratory.
Sounds like St Patrick Church to me…near Moscone Center.
I see some powerful things happening in my Archdiocese!
What, precisely, are you pledging TO?!?
To support a group of men who will pray the breviary together?
Nuns, Brothers, Priests, Sisters, Bishops, Deacons all do this in any case.
What I pledged is $$$ to get the initiative started. It has been already received, with gratitude.
Hey, I’m going to pray the Liturgy of the Hours each day and meditate the rest of the day.
Please send me money, so I can devote my time to Mass, the Breviary, the Rosary, etc., and can quit my day job!
Thanks so much!
Anonymous and Mark probably never heard of St. Francis, who did ask to rebuild His Church.
I am reminded of a Spanish proverb: ” ladran, señal de que cabalgamos. ” It does not translate easily but it means that if the dogs bark it is a sign that we are riding ahead. Archbishop Cordileone seems to be a really good one. Excellent!
Mark, that is precisely what religious are called to do on behalf of the laity. Not find a day job.
That said, if you feel the call to sacrifice your life to prayer, you may want to discern your vocation.
Audrey – Please let us know when at least one ‘Powerful Thing’ happens.
Ben, I said that I see many powerful things happening.
You are free to disagree, and no doubt would if I listed the things I see. So I find it useless to enumerate.
We all have our own lists. I will continue to pray for the success of those I support. :)
AB Cordioleone is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. Are all those who are complaining about AB Cordioleone should be praying for him. He has a huge job to do to correct all the neglect that has gone on in the Archdiocese for many years. If people want to find fault, go back to the past several leaders of the Archdiocese and examine what they did and did not do. It is always easy to point the finger of blame at those in “office”. What do the complainers do to help in their parishes? This idea of AB Cordioleone to start the Oratory is a wonderful idea and thank God for priests like Fr. Illo who are willing to get on board. Deo Gratias for holy priests. Did anyone ever think that perhaps the Oratory would be at St. Ignatius and that the Jesuits would be leaving S.F.? Happy thought indeed!!!
I agree amy. All they do is complain complain. They are committing a sin! They are suspicious all the time. I think they are out to destroy the mission of the church. They are always finding something wrong with it.
Right On Amy!
The AB has a HUGE Ship to turn around…..and he is actually doing it with the grace of the Holy Spirit of course!
If any city needed an Oratory….it is San Francisco (well Los Angeles too).
And I speak as a 4th generation San Franciscan. Time to take the City back!!!
I urge everyone to contribute any amount they can and please pray for all involved!
And another thing, Father Joseph Illo is the REAL DEAL!!!!!!!!! I pray we will have more vocations such as his.
AB C is not qualified. Period. His appointment was ALL politics….not one dime for him or his cronies…
As Do We All:
“Catholic schools have right to hire, fire for mission, says legal expert
Cardinals & Bishops of the Church – We Need Your Leadership, and a Turn-Around of these practices along with candor about How and By Who they came to be:
“Los Angeles bishop kept altar boy list from police
Archbishop Roger Mahony told a subordinate not to give the list, saying he didn’t want the boys to be scarred by the investigation and that he felt the altar boys were too old to be potential victims, according to a deposition made public Wednesday.
The detectives investigating allegations against Nicolas Aguilar Rivera, a visiting Mexican priest, ultimately got the names of the boys from parish families.
They determined the priest molested at least 26 boys during his 10 months in Los Angeles, according to the priest’s confidential archdiocese file and police records made public by attorneys for the victims.
Twenty-five of the alleged victims were altar boys and the 26th was training with the priest to be one…
Mahony’s… archdiocese, the nation’s largest, agreed to pay $13 million to 17 victims.
God bless Archbishop Cordileone. My prayers continue to be with him.
“Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life. Therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits.” St. Philip Neri
Some facts about St. Phipi Neri :
If one had to choose one saint who showed the humorous side of holiness that would Philip Neri.
In order to guide his followers, Philip made himself available to everyone at any hour — even at night. He said some of the most devout people were those who had come to him at night. When others complained, Philip answered, “They can chop wood on my back so long as they do not sin.”
In 1555, the Pope’s Vicar accused Philip of “introducing novelties” and ordered him to stop the meetings of the Oratory. Philip was brokenhearted but obeyed immediately. The Pope only let him start up the Oratory again after the sudden death of his accuser. Despite all the trouble this man had caused, Philip would not let anyone say anything against the man or even imply that his sudden death was a judgment from God. (Quoted from Catholic online)
Continued Facts about St. Neri:
Humility was the most important virtue he tried to teach others and to learn himself. Some of his lessons in humility seem cruel, but they were tinged with humor like practical jokes and were related with gratitude by the people they helped. His lessons always seem to be tailored directly to what the person needed. One member who was later to become a cardinal was too serious and so Philip had him sing the Misere at a wedding breakfast. When one priest gave a beautiful sermon, Philip ordered him to give the same sermon six times in a row so people would think he only had one sermon.
There were unexpected benefits to his lessons in humility. Another member, Baronius, wanted to speak at the meetings about hellfire and eternal punishment. Philip commanded him instead to speak of church history. For 27 years Baronius spoke to the Oratory about church history. At the end of that time he published his talks as a widely respected and universally praised books on ecclesiastical history!
I’ve enjoyed these posts, Abeca Christian. Thank you for posting them.
God bless you Anony and thank you.
I’m sure readers of CCD will be less thrilled with Oratorians when I tell you that I was catechized, accepted into full communion, and confirmed by Oratorians. They were wonderful. Very modern priests who took on Vatican II with gusto, I believe even defending it against its biggest detractor of the time, William F. Buckley.
Fr Illo has been a friend for more than 15 years and was my pastor for 8 of those years. He is a very holy priest, accountable, transparent and faithful in all areas. He lead our parish into deep devotion to God by instituting daily confession, 24/7 adoration, the Latin Mass (on Sunday and Fridays), beautification of our physical church with art done by local artists, and by boldly and fearlessly proclaiming the truth of the gospel and authentic Christian living. The SF Diocese and Star of the Sea Parish are blessed and favored to have such a wonderful priest!