The Brighton Oratory is a Latin Rite Orthodox community made up of ordinary men and women committed to establishing and developing a Traditional Catholic Faith community modelled on the experience of the Apostles and the Early Church described in Acts 2:42-47. The Brighton Oratory is not a religious order but a network of localised prayer groups and communities of varying sizes numbering as few as two/three members to a fellowship of any size able to maintain a real sense of community among its members [Romans 14:19]; fellowships of prayer and apostolic activity.
The purpose of the Oratory is to be a “school of saints” and our life is characterised by
a strong fellowship ethos,
frequent prayer both personal and communal
and voluntary and charitable work.
The Oratory seeks to assist every member to find their vocation and God’s purpose for them in this life and enable them to life in love with God and with each other in order for them to receive their salvation and their soul’s true desire [Psalms 63:1; 27:8 & Isaiah 26:9].
We firnly believe that “Vocation” does not mean solely the Sacred Ministry or religious life! We believe that God created each and every person uniquely and individually for a purpose, no one is here “by accident” we are all here for a reason. “Vocation” doesn’t just mean ministries within the Church but may also mean holy Matrimony, parenthood, teaching, nursing, medicine, academia and an acceptance to seek to do God’s will whatever our circumstance in life, wherever God has placed us and in whatever situation we find ourselves in. Whether we are rich or poor, enjoying good health or not, male or female, each and everyone of us is called to love and to serve God, to do His will, to be His instruments of His Divine Charity in our world.
The Oratory hopes that each fellowship will enable, encourage and develop the discernment of God’s vocation for every individual member. That the Oratory will provide opportunities for prayerful and spiritual discernment, for experiential discernment through its apostolates, for intellectual and human formation in discernment by offering catechesis, discussion and study groups, mentoring and spiritual direction.
THE ORATORY – a fellowship at prayer and at work
The vocation and the fellowship of the Oratory is demonstrated daily when the community meets together for prayer and worship (Acts 2:42). Mass is offered everyday and frequent Communion, receiving our “daily bread” is encouraged, after an examination of conscience whether made privately (Ps 51:17 Isaiah 66:2) or utilising the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) with a priest (John 20:23).
Members come either in the morning or in the evening to the Oratory, according to their circumstances for private and communal prayer and meditation, usually before Mass. During the week there are opportunities too for catechesis, Bible study, discussion and social activities.
Those members who are able to e.g. retired or unemployed, come to morning prayers, meditation and Mass followed by a communal breakfast and voluntary/charitable work. Those members who work, either attend Mass in the morning before going to work, or attend prayers/meditation and Mass in the evening after work.
Fundamental to the ethos of the Oratory is putting our faith into practice and during the day members may be engaged in a variety of activities supporting both our own fellowship and the community in which we live and work. From visiting the sick through to serving the homeless, voluntary and charitable work.
Those who, through infirmity, illness, or other circumstance are unable to attend the Sanctuary or Oratory activities regularly in person, are nonetheless strongly encouraged to continue their involvement in the prayer life and worship of the fellowship, praying for the Oratory and for the apostolates. To facilitate this, the daily Masses are broadcast online and whenever possible a priest or one of the pastoral assistants or another member of the Oratory will regularly visit housebound members and take them the Sacrament, pray with them and keep them informed. An online Member’s Forum is also provided for individual members to get to know each other, share and discuss their faith etc. Other members, most usually because of distance, who aren’t able to participate personally in the apostolates of a local Oratory will support them with their prayers and material support.
Where two or three members live in the same place but at a prohibitive distance from the Brighton Oratory to attend frequently, they may form a Cell fellowship as a satellite to the Oratory. A Cell may remain simply a smaller fellowship of prayer or grow and develop into a local Oratory, but to do so the members must be actively engaged in meeting daily for prayer and engaging in local apostolic labour, though this may be either in partnership or under the auspices of another Christian organisation approved by the Provost.
Cell groups are visited regularly by a Sacred Minister to bring and administer the Sacraments. One member of such a Cell may be expected to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in their home for the group and a priest will regularly visit to offer Mass and/or renew the Presence of Christ in the reserved Sacrament for the fellowship. Where the Sacrament is reserved for a Cell, that should be the place of fellowship meetings. Ideally such a Cell would meet as frequently as possible to pray, even daily, but certainly at least on Sundays to receive the Sacrament together.