Pastoral Notes 25th May 2014

A SECOND PATRON FOR ROME
After St Peter, a second patron-saint of Rome is St Philip Neri. Born in Florence in 1515, he was aged 18 when he had an experience of conversion which altered his life and he set out for Rome, where he stayed with a relative of the family, being tutor to the children. He studied philosophy and theology but then dropped out of his studies, taking up an apostolate among the people in a largely paganised Rome. He befriended young people in the squares of Rome, until asking them to consider where their lives were going, what was it all about. He introduced them to the early Christian sites of Rome, to its churches and visiting and caring for sick in the hospitals. Still a layman he founded a sort of prayer/study group, but with reluctance allowed himself to be put forward for ordination as a priest aged 36. He was the most unconventional and happy of saints. In his old age he was sought out by English priests returning home often to martyrdom, asking his blessing. He died aged 80 in 1595. He is considered the founder of the Fathers of the Oratory, a community of priests to which Blessed John Henry Newman belonged in Birmingham in the 19th century. (His Feast Day is 26th May).