Father’s Column – July 21, 2019

Posted on July 21, 2019 View all news

Laudetur Jesus Christus! Gelobt sei Jesus Christus!
Sia lodato Gesù Cristo! Praised be Jesus Christ! 

Amid all the activity of preparing and adjusting for Fr. Lawrence’s departure, I have failed to convey important news from the Oratory world. It was announced in the past few weeks that the Holy Father, on October  13, will canonize Bl. John Henry Newman. Known more commonly as Cardinal Newman, he introduced the Congregation of the Oratory to the English speaking world with the foundation of the Birmingham Oratory. While more known due to his association with colleges, for which ‘Newman Centers’ are named after him, Cardinal Newman was very much a son of St. Philip, and we are thrilled with the news of the Canonization. We will be planning several events for October to celebrate the Canonization. Hopefully, I will know more details for next week’s bulletin. 

Not to be missed is our parish picnic, which is next Sunday at Kolping Grove. The picnic will begin at 3:00 p.m. The Kolping Center is located at 10235 W Mill Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45231. Today will be the final day to sign up for the picnic, so please do so on the sheets near the bulletins (Old St. Mary’s) or in the center vestibule (Sacred Heart). Please also bring a side to share. Brats, mets, hot dogs, and drinks will be provided. 

    Lastly, I wished to address two issues. Some have been scandalized by the departure of Fr. Lawrence from the common life. They have expressed to me that they were under the understanding that an Oratorian remains for life. I do want to state that this is a true statement; Oratorians are to remain until death. When we each petitioned the Holy Father in 2016 to establish the House, we expressed to him our intention to remain until death. When a new member joins, they state before the Community that they will remain until death. However, this statement is not binding on one’s conscience to the point of sin. Cardinal Newman, the soon to be saint, once said that the true Oratorian is only known at death. A person maintains their freedom to depart if they feel they need to. St. Philip never wanted to prevent someone from becoming a saint. I want to be clear, no one else in the house has any intention of leaving the Oratory. It can, and does happen, but it is not the norm. Please know that my commitment is to remain here with the brethren and the parish until death, as St. Philip expects of us.

Secondly, various groups have expressed the feeling of being ‘stepchildren’ on account of some of the changes. I made, after consultation and looking at the data, the best decisions that I could under the circumstances. The decisions that were made for what I believed to be for the best for the Oratory and the parishes. Of course, people were bound to be disappointed. Change almost always is. But just so that I am clear, the easier decision for me to have made would have been to tell the Archbishop that I could no longer care for two parishes in addition to my responsibility to the Oratory. That was not a decision that I, nor the Community, wanted to make. I will re-evaluate some of these decisions by the end of the year and determine if further tweaks are needed. I am waiting to see if the data and assumptions correspond to reality. Remember, that in addition to our priestly assignments, both Fr. Adrian and I have responsibilities to the Oratory as well. Including the most important task of forming your future priests, since they do not live at the seminary. I ask you to stick it out with us. Rome was not built overnight. Thank you for your patience, and please work to see the bright future that I see for both of our parishes.

Please continue to pray for us and be assured of our daily prays for you!