More than 400 years ago, St. Philip Neri sought to renew the Church. Inspired by the example of the early Church in the Book of Acts of the Apostles, Philip founded the Oratory, a congregation of priests and laymen who come together without the vows, oaths or promises common to religious orders–a community where heart speaks to heart.
The Oratory is..
A Place of Prayer
Prayer life in the Oratory is comparably simple, but it is indeed a way of life. The Oratory gathers individuals together to share the commitment of learning how to pray and remaining faithful to prayer. The invitation to join the community in prayer is open to everyone.
A Sharing Ministry
Oratorians believe that out of prayer we each realize our special gifts and then share them with olhcrs. The works and ministry of the community depend on the specific talents of its members. The ministry includes parish work, retreats, writing, teaching, counseling, campus ministry, prayer groups, and work within civic agencies and organizations. Each ministry in some way addresses social justice either in its nature or its effects, a long tradition of the Oratory. Religious education and spiritual renewal also form a vital component of the Oratory. The house is open to retreatants and its members go out to preach and direct retreats.
A Unique Community
Founded by St. Philip Neri to speak to the heart, members of the Oratory are bound not by vows but by bonds of love. The community remains deliberately small to encourage interpersonal relationships. Governed democratically, the entire community shares in making major decisions with all members having equal rights and responsibilities.
The Rock Hill Oratory, founded in 1934, is part of a world confederation of 72 independent homes. The Rock Hill Oratory is the oldest and largest house in the United States.