Thursday, 27 March 2008

The Vienna Oratory

Being a disciple of St. Philip Neri and brother of the Little Oratory, I have naturally gravitated to the Vienna Oratory for mass. It is the church of St. Rochus and Sebastian in the suburbs east of the city centre. It was founded under the direction of the London Oratory in the 1970´s, and has a flourishing liturgical, devotional and music life. Recently they have moved to saying mass ad orientem, which caused much controversy in an Austrian church heavily infected with liberalism.

Eastward facing hign altar

The community are going from strength to strength, and number about nine priests. On hearing that I was from Birmingham and an Oratory parishioner, I was well received.

Altar of St. Philip

Their devotional life is something to be experienced: they take things much more slowly and seriously than back home in England, they have legions of young altar boys for mass and services and homilies tend to much longer! I happened to arrive at a special mass for Our Lady in Eastertide, and the church was packed. Clearly they practice a much more militant and vibrant Catholicism than would be found in the British Isles! Their website in German can be found here.

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