Friday, May 30, 2014

More on Fr. Illo and the new Oratory of St. Philip Neri

Jim Graves at Catholic World Report has a nice interview with Fr. Joseph Illo, who will head the new Oratory of St. Philip Neri in San Francisco. Here's an excerpt:

CWR: What is your plan for the new San Francisco Oratory of St.Philip Neri?

Fr. Illo: It is our hope to establish it as a community for secular priests, living in community, with a common prayer life and a common rule of life. It will support the work of priests called to work in parishes.

We hope it will be one solution to the problem of priests living in isolation, which has become a deepening difficulty in the Church. Even in a rectory with multiple priests, they can be like ships passing in the night, with little contact with one another and no common prayer life. This is an issue that bishops and diocesan personnel boards speak about all the time. I served as a vocations director for four years, and this was a big concern among men considering the priesthood. They were afraid if they gave up wife and family, they’d be lonely and isolated.

A priest in this situation has little or no accountability. Take the case of Father John Corapi. Although he was in a religious community, he lived on his own, and he got into trouble. A good prayer life is essential to the well-being of a priest; if he prays regularly, he is protected from many evils.

A priest needs support, and he needs to be kept accountable. There are many ways to do this, the oratory being one of them. There are many oratories throughout the world today, and many oratorians. [Bl.] John Henry Newman was famous for bringing the oratory to England in 1848. Today, there is still a large oratory in England, and another in Toronto. In the United States, you can find them in places like St. Louis and Cincinnati; I’ve been in touch with one in Lewiston, Maine, the Fraternity of St. Philip Neri. They have a wonderful life together and do much good work in their diocese.

Mr. Graves also gives this heartening description of Fr. Illo, which reminds me of our dear departed Fr. Malloy:

"Known for his outspoken fidelity to Catholic teaching, Fr. Illo made the news when he wrote his parishioners in 2008, “If you are one of the 54 percent of Catholics who voted for a pro-abortion candidate, you were clear on his position, and you knew the gravity of the question, I urge you to go to confession before receiving Communion.”

Praise God!

Valerie Schmalz, at Catholic San Francisco, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, also has a good article on the Oratory. Check it out here.

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