A new Oratory for Bournemouth will be launched this month, the Diocese of Portsmouth has announced. It is thought to be the seventh community of Oratorians in Britain.
The community was first announced last year but its establishment was delayed after Fr David Hutton, one of the founders, became ill. Fr Hutton died of cancer in March.
The new Oratory “in formation” will begin on May 31. Its community will consist of Fr Peter Edwards, Fr Dominic Jacob and one student brother, and it will be based at Sacred Heart Church, off Richmond Hill in the city centre.
The Oratory will be devoted to offering sacramental support through daily Mass and Confessions, Eucharistic Adoration and formation in the spiritual life, alongside the pastoral care of students, the homeless and others in need.
The website of the church notes that it is “surrounded by university accommodation, many language school students, diverse ethnic communities and homelessness, beside long-standing residents, the hospitality industry, business and commerce.”
At the time of the Oratory’s announcement Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth said: “The diocese has areas of real deprivation.
“There are immigrants and foreign nationals from eastern Europe and overseas, as well as university and college students away from home. This is a pastoral situation that is urgent.”
He said he was “delighted” by the new Oratory. “We need to engage with those who have not yet met the Lord Jesus in person nor taken to heart the salvation and eternal life He offers,” he said.
In the last four years the number of Oratorian communities in Britain has doubled.
The first Oratory was established by Blessed John Henry Newman in Birmingham in 1848. The London Oratory followed a year later. In the early 1990s an Oratory was established in Oxford. In 2013 two Oratories “in formation” were set up, one at St Chad’s in Manchester and the other in St Wilfrid’s, York.
Last year an Oratory in formation was also established at the university chaplaincy in Cardiff. The communities are in formation until they have four members comprising two priests and two brothers.
Oratorians are formally known as the Congregation of the Oratory of St Philip Neri.
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