Oratory Open House Sunday
UPDATE 4/15: Open House hours clarified. The Pious House will be open after all four Masses, including evening Mass, but will not be open all afternoon.
The Community-in-formation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Cincinnati invites all to an Open House for its newly renovated “Pious House,” or priests’ residence, Sunday in Over-the-Rhine.
Archbishop Dennis Schnurr will bless the Pious House at a private ceremony. It will be open for tours after all Masses at Old St. Mary’s Church, including the evening Mass, but will be closed during the afternoon.
Located on the corner of the block anchored by Old St. Mary’s, the Pious House includes rooms for up to 12 priests, and will eventually expand to a chapel and library. Donations from around the Archdiocese paid for the work, which transformed one of the area’s most decrepit buildings into a fitting part of the neighborhood’s renaissance.
Like most renovations, this one held many surprises — most recently, early in 2016, the revelation that Duke Energy had neglected to connect the building’s gas lines to the mains after the city installed the new streetcar lines. Having to reschedule many different contractors meant the Pious House, originally slated to be finished in February, took an extra two months to complete. The future Oratorians are still waiting for the occupancy permit, which they expect to receive in June.
Created by St. Philip Neri in the 1500s as a reform movement within the Church, an Oratory is not a religious order. Its members are diocesan priests and lay brothers who live together in friendship, without vows to a superior but committing to live at the Oratory for life. While they work together for renewal (today, through the “new evangelization”) they also continue to serve the Church as their bishop appoints them. However, living together is an essential requirement, and the Pious House will make that possible.
Each Oratory (there are 500 around the world) has its own character and charism. The future Oratory in Cincinnati’s focus is renewal through beauty in the liturgy, art, and music. St. Philip Neri himself developed a musical form called the “oratorio” — a large religious composition for musicians and singers — that composers from Scarlatti, Bach, and Handel (his “Messiah” is today one of the most famous oratorios) to Mendelssohn and Stravinsky — have contributed to. At Old St. Mary’s, the future Oratorians have begun an ambitious schedule of musical and liturgical celebrations, as well as sponsoring lectures and formation programs for young adults.
The future Oratory currently has three priests, Frs. Jon-Paul Bevak, Adrian Hilton, and Lawrence Juarez; and one seminarian in formation. They staff two parishes: Old St. Mary’s and, as of March, Sacred Heart Church in Camp Washington (the latter had been planned for a future year but moved up after the sudden appointment of Fr. Earl Fernandes to the office of the Papal Nuncio in Washington just before Easter). Both parishes are known for an emphasis on reverence and tradition, and both offer the Tridentine Latin (“extraordinary form”) Mass as well as Mass in English and a third language (Germain at Old St. Mary’s and Italian at Sacred Heart, although the monthly Italian Masses are on hold during the transition).
“Everyone is welcome Sunday,” say the priests and seminarian brother. “And please continue in prayer for the completion of the house and the establishment of the Oratory here in Cincinnati.”
For more information about the Open House, see the event Facebook page. For more information about the Oratory-in-formation, including many photos of the renovation and information about upcoming concerts and events, see the link above or click here.
Photos courtesy the Oratory-in-formation of St. Philip Neri in Cincinnati.
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