On Monday 11th September at 7pm we will be joined by the choir of St Frances Cabrini Church from Littleton, Colorado for a Musical Oratory. They will be directed by Mary Reinker, mother of Molly Reinker Morgan, Director of our own parish choir.

People have been asking, "What is a Musical Oratory?" Well of course the best way to find out is to come along!

St Philip used to instruct his followers in simple and pleasant conversations in his room at San Girolamo della Carità.

Eventually there were too many people, so they had to use a room above the church. This room was called an oratory, or place of prayer, and this gave its name to the Congregation of the Oratory.

The exercises of the Oratory continued to grow, and so they took a more definite structure: spiritual talks, explanations of the scriptures or Christian history, congregational singing, and the use of music to delight and elevate the spirits.

In the summer, St Philip's exercise of the Oratory moved outside. He and his friends would go for picnics, and then they would sing something, or listen to one of the latest pieces by composers such as Animuccia or Palestrina, who were part of Philip's circle. One tradition is that a. boy would preach a sermon, written for him by Philip or one of the Fathers.

So a Musical Oratory follows this original custom of St Philip. It isn't a concert, but it isn't a liturgical service either. It uses music, interspersed with readings, to draw us closer to God while absorbing our senses. The oratorios written by Handel, Bach, and other famous composers drew their inspiration from the musical oratories at the church of the Roman Oratory - Santa Maria in Vallicella, the Chiesa Nuova.

Our Musical Oratory on 11th September will take the Eucharist as its theme, and so will conclude with Benediction. It will consist of choral and congregational singing, readings, and a sermon by a boy. Come and see what it's all about!

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