Oratory, Congregation of the


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Oratory, Congregation of the

[Lat. abbr., Cong. Orat.], in the Roman Catholic Church, founded in 1575, an association of secular priests organized into independent communities according to the rule written by St. Philip NeriPhilip Neri, Saint
, 1515–95, Italian reformer. His original name was Filippo Romolo de' Neri. From boyhood he was religious, and in 1533 he went to Rome to study.
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. The purpose of the oratory is to raise local religious standards. To do this they employ three means—prayer, especially the solemn performance of the liturgy; the sacraments, especially the confessional; and preaching, every oratory having daily sermons. Confessions are heard at all times. The best-known oratory of the English-speaking world is probably that of John Henry Newman, who introduced it to England as a means of extending the church there. There are Congregations of the Oratory in the United States at Rock Hill, South Carolina, and Yarnell, Arizona.