Friday, April 25, 2014

Act of Consecration

Tomorrow, a group of very special women will embrace the commitment to enter into a year of discernment as Daughters of St. Philip Neri.  It has been evident from the very beginning that God's providence was very much at work in preparing for this day.  Nearly fifteen years ago, we began extended hours (75 per week) of Eucharistic Adoration at the Oratory, that then by the grace of God developed into Perpetual Adoration seven years ago.  This alone has borne great fruit for the Fathers of the Oratory and all who are a part of the Oratory family.  Through a renewed practice of the First Friday devotions there also evolved a greater desire to make reparation to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord and the Immaculate Heart of Mary and from this flowed a greater intimacy with St. Philip Neri, our patron and guide, whose heart burned for love of Christ and Our Lady.  All of this gained a sharper focus when in 2007 Cardinal Hummes of the Congregation for Clergy presented the Church and Her Bishops with a document entitled "Adoration, Reparation, and Spiritual Motherhood for Priests" which called for a renewal of a vocation that has existed from the Church at its inception and is rooted in the  Divine Motherhood of Mary, who was entrusted with the Beloved Disciple as her son at the foot of the Cross.  At that moment, a spiritual maternity was established in which all women have a share and to which some are called to embrace in a particular and very special fashion: Women called like Mary to hold in their hearts through prayer and in a spirit of reparation all of God's children and in particular those called to share in Christ's own priesthood.  For these, they offer themselves to God and offer all the sacrifices of their daily life, small and great.  They are women from every station in life and often the depth and the beauty of their oblation remains hidden to the eyes of all but God.  Such are the women of the Daughters of St. Philip Neri, and as Secular Oratorians they take up this "vocation within a vocation" in a spirit of joy, always seeking to emulate their holy patron.  

The beauty of this calling has not been lost on me as I have had the privilege of being a part of its growth here in Pittsburgh.  In fact, it has been one of the most profound and life changing experiences for me as a priest and Oratorian and I am grateful for the humble love, joy, prayerfulness, and self-sacrifice that these women bring to the Church and that they will now offer as Daughters of St. Philip Neri.