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Saturday, 26 May 2007

Oratory hospitality

For me as a parish priest living on my own, it is always a tonic to spend a little time in a community of priests. As you can see from the photos in previous posts, the Birmingham Oratory Church is glorious in its splendour and a fitting home for the worship of God. The Oratory itself is not a place of luxury, however. The house bespeaks a proper sense of priestly moderation and asceticism whilst being a comfortable home for the Fathers. Here is the room which I was given:

Meals are taken in common in the refectory, in silence. Around the walls are portraits of illustrious oratorians:

At formal meals, one of the community reads from the lectern:

The common room is the venue for recreation after meals. The Fathers and their guests sit together and converse on matters of interest, ensuring that the day does not pass without interaction between members of the community. Here is the common room:

The main staircase boasts a good portrait of St Philip Neri:

Upstairs is the library of "the Cardinal" - J H Newman, of course. Browsing the volumes here, the visitor is likely to come across annotations made by Newman himself in the margins of his books.

At the end of the main residential corridor is a bust of St Philip and here is Fr Guy Nicholls, one of the Fathers and a contemporary of mine from Rome:

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