Red Bank Oratory receives canonical approval from Vatican

May 3, 2024 at 12:15 p.m.
During a Mass in  St. Anthony of Padua Church, Red Bank, in May, 2016, Bishop O’Connell, then-Father Dennis Apoldite and Father Alberto Tamayo signed a canonical decree and Letters of Agreement establishing the relationship between the Oratory and the Diocese. Here the documents are being signed by Father Tamayo, who became the Oratory’s provost. Craig Pittelli photo
During a Mass in St. Anthony of Padua Church, Red Bank, in May, 2016, Bishop O’Connell, then-Father Dennis Apoldite and Father Alberto Tamayo signed a canonical decree and Letters of Agreement establishing the relationship between the Oratory and the Diocese. Here the documents are being signed by Father Tamayo, who became the Oratory’s provost. Craig Pittelli photo

By MARY STADNYK
Associate Editor

Updated as of May 3, 2024

The Holy See has approved and canonically established the Oratory of St. Philip Neri at St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Red Bank, as a Congregation of Pontifical Right, nearly eight years after it began its ministry.

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., announced the approval April 19. In 2016, when Bishop O’Connell signed the decree sent to Rome requesting formal approval, he told parishioners, “Because of the special life of these ... good men, as members of the Oratory, hopefully God’s grace will be even more apparent – nourishing you, the parish.”

Father Alberto Tamayo, C.O., provost of the Oratory and pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, thanked Pope Francis and Bishop O’Connell for his support; he praised the Bishop’s decision years ago to establish the Oratory at the parish.

About an Oratory of St. Philip Neri

The canonical erection of the Oratory as a Congregation of Pontifical Right means that it is permanently established, Father Tamayo stated in a document he prepared about the Oratory’s establishment and how it has carried out its mission in the past eight years.

He explained that with the canonical establishment by the Holy Father, the Oratory went from being The Oratory of St. Philip Neri In-Formation to The Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri of Red Bank. Now, he said, “the Oratory has the stability to continue to forge ahead into the future and do all that God desires of the community here in Red Bank, with the Holy Father’s blessing.”

Father Tamayo explained that the Oratory is a congregation of priests and brothers founded by St. Philip Neri, which has spread throughout the world. Currently, there are 90 Oratories worldwide and 11 in the United States with several hundred priests and brothers.

“While we are all connected in a Confederation of Oratories, each Oratory is autonomous and answers directly to the Holy Father,” he said.

An Oratory in the Trenton Diocese

The seed to establish an Oratory within the Diocese of Trenton was planted more than 10 years ago as a “desire to find a new way of being parish priests here in our Diocese,” Father Tamayo explained. The members needed to discern their call to serve God and the people with a community of brothers who desire to follow the charism of St. Philip Neri. Once the members determined their call, they approached Bishop O’Connell who offered his support and confirmed that the Oratory would remain in St. Anthony of Padua Parish.

The process to establish the Oratory officially began in September, 2015 and on May 29. 2016, the Bishop celebrated Mass in St. Anthony of Padua Church during which he signed a canonical decree and Letters of Agreement establishing the relationship between the Oratory and the Diocese. The decree and letters also established St. Anthony of Padua Church as the church of the Oratory in perpetuity (permanently) and permanently connected the parish of St. Anthony of Padua with the Oratory upon canonical erection by the Holy See.

Father Tamayo described the west side of Red Bank as “a bustling community full of life. It’s multi-ethnic and multi-racial, with families and individuals from all different economic backgrounds and situations, and everyone works and worships together in friendship and love.” He also noted the Oratorians minister at several nursing homes and a local hospital.

The Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Red Bank currently includes two priests, four brothers and a candidate who will begin his novitiate in late May. All are members of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. Unlike diocesan priests, who get reassigned to different parishes, they live in one location their entire lives.

“I love that they will remain in our community,” said Sandra Gorman, a parishioner for about 12 years and a member of the Women of Vallicella, a group of lay women who share in the spirituality of the Oratorians. “They are very wonderful, devoted, humble and joyful men” who follow the Rule of St. Philip Neri.

“The Oratory is beautiful,” especially in how the Oratorians serve all different needs of the parish community – the Spanish-speaking population and children, Gorman added. The Oratorians also operate a food pantry and distribute clothing to those in need.

Father Tamayo said that, with the approval from the Holy See, the Oratorians see themselves as being “confirmed in their vocations with a certainty that this establishment is from God.”

“Whatever the future brings, we just pray to be able to bring more men and women to faith in Jesus Christ and life within his family, the Church.”


Find out more about the Oratory of St. Philip Neri:

-- History and timeline of the Red Bank Oratory

-- How do the Oratorians minister in the Red Bank community?

-- What does the Church say about the formation of Oratories and what is the Oratory of St. Philip Neri all about?



Related Stories

Updated as of May 3, 2024

The Holy See has approved and canonically established the Oratory of St. Philip Neri at St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Red Bank, as a Congregation of Pontifical Right, nearly eight years after it began its ministry.

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., announced the approval April 19. In 2016, when Bishop O’Connell signed the decree sent to Rome requesting formal approval, he told parishioners, “Because of the special life of these ... good men, as members of the Oratory, hopefully God’s grace will be even more apparent – nourishing you, the parish.”

Father Alberto Tamayo, C.O., provost of the Oratory and pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, thanked Pope Francis and Bishop O’Connell for his support; he praised the Bishop’s decision years ago to establish the Oratory at the parish.

About an Oratory of St. Philip Neri

The canonical erection of the Oratory as a Congregation of Pontifical Right means that it is permanently established, Father Tamayo stated in a document he prepared about the Oratory’s establishment and how it has carried out its mission in the past eight years.

He explained that with the canonical establishment by the Holy Father, the Oratory went from being The Oratory of St. Philip Neri In-Formation to The Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri of Red Bank. Now, he said, “the Oratory has the stability to continue to forge ahead into the future and do all that God desires of the community here in Red Bank, with the Holy Father’s blessing.”

Father Tamayo explained that the Oratory is a congregation of priests and brothers founded by St. Philip Neri, which has spread throughout the world. Currently, there are 90 Oratories worldwide and 11 in the United States with several hundred priests and brothers.

“While we are all connected in a Confederation of Oratories, each Oratory is autonomous and answers directly to the Holy Father,” he said.

An Oratory in the Trenton Diocese

The seed to establish an Oratory within the Diocese of Trenton was planted more than 10 years ago as a “desire to find a new way of being parish priests here in our Diocese,” Father Tamayo explained. The members needed to discern their call to serve God and the people with a community of brothers who desire to follow the charism of St. Philip Neri. Once the members determined their call, they approached Bishop O’Connell who offered his support and confirmed that the Oratory would remain in St. Anthony of Padua Parish.

The process to establish the Oratory officially began in September, 2015 and on May 29. 2016, the Bishop celebrated Mass in St. Anthony of Padua Church during which he signed a canonical decree and Letters of Agreement establishing the relationship between the Oratory and the Diocese. The decree and letters also established St. Anthony of Padua Church as the church of the Oratory in perpetuity (permanently) and permanently connected the parish of St. Anthony of Padua with the Oratory upon canonical erection by the Holy See.

Father Tamayo described the west side of Red Bank as “a bustling community full of life. It’s multi-ethnic and multi-racial, with families and individuals from all different economic backgrounds and situations, and everyone works and worships together in friendship and love.” He also noted the Oratorians minister at several nursing homes and a local hospital.

The Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Red Bank currently includes two priests, four brothers and a candidate who will begin his novitiate in late May. All are members of the Congregation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri. Unlike diocesan priests, who get reassigned to different parishes, they live in one location their entire lives.

“I love that they will remain in our community,” said Sandra Gorman, a parishioner for about 12 years and a member of the Women of Vallicella, a group of lay women who share in the spirituality of the Oratorians. “They are very wonderful, devoted, humble and joyful men” who follow the Rule of St. Philip Neri.

“The Oratory is beautiful,” especially in how the Oratorians serve all different needs of the parish community – the Spanish-speaking population and children, Gorman added. The Oratorians also operate a food pantry and distribute clothing to those in need.

Father Tamayo said that, with the approval from the Holy See, the Oratorians see themselves as being “confirmed in their vocations with a certainty that this establishment is from God.”

“Whatever the future brings, we just pray to be able to bring more men and women to faith in Jesus Christ and life within his family, the Church.”


Find out more about the Oratory of St. Philip Neri:

-- History and timeline of the Red Bank Oratory

-- How do the Oratorians minister in the Red Bank community?

-- What does the Church say about the formation of Oratories and what is the Oratory of St. Philip Neri all about?


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