VATICAN CITY, OCT. 5, 2000 (ZENIT.org).- John Paul II said that the
“missionary method” born from St. Philip Neri´s charism is valid and timely
today, “to take man to an encounter with Jesus.”
The Holy Father´s words today came as he addressed the 200 priests and
laymen of the Confederation of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, meeting in
general chapter. The congregation was founded by the 16th-century Roman saint.
St. Philip Neri´s (1515-1595) method “consists in ´speaking to the heart´
of men to lead them to experience the divine Master, who is able to
transform their life,” the Pope explained.
Because of this, he said, those who have left the Church must not be given
“a theoretical announcement but the possibility of a truly renewed
existence, hence full of joy.”
This is the “great legacy” left by St. Philip Neri, the Holy Father added,
“a valid pastoral path for always, as it is written in the perennial
He continued: “The Oratory was born from the faith and genius of St. Philip
Neri, who knew how to synthesize harmoniously the charismatic dimension and
full communion with the pastors of the Church, in the Rome of his time.”
Thus, the saint went out to meet the spiritual and material needs of youth,
witnessing the joyful dimension of faith to the point of being considered
the “prophet of Christian joy,” the Pope said on several occasions. He
expressed his personal admiration for the Italian saint who several times
rejected being created a cardinal.
The “Apostle of Rome,” whom Romans called “Pippo the Good,” the Italian
nickname for Philip, was a great friend of the poor, and especially of
children. In 1575, he founded the Confederation of Secular Oratorian
Priests, which was raised by Gregory XIII to the rank of congregation, to
prolong his work of education and attention to the needy.
The Pope ended by requesting that the spiritual method of the Oratory be
“increasingly attractive and effective” and extend to the whole world.