The Congregation of Oratory of Saint Philip Neri is a congregation of Roman Catholic priests and lay-brothers who live together in a community bound together not by formal vows, but only by the bond of charity. This way of life originated from St Philip Neri’s efforts to make the word of God and the life of virtue accessible and attractive to the laity and, in fact, to all people of Rome in the sixteenth century.
Oratorian Communities are never big; they are always family-like and certainly don’t have the prestige of the big Orders in the Church. However, an author who wrote about the beauty of the Congregation of the Oratory wrote:
“You may say that this is but a small company of volunteers compared with the disciplined forces of the religious bodies which sustain the church with so much strength and splendor, and you are right. But, although it may be a small band, it is still a reinforcement, and sometimes a small reinforcement arriving at the critical moment of the battle is worth the whole strength of the army by enabling it to gain a complete victory. . . .”