About the Oratory
The Oratory of Saint Martin is a society of Apostolic Life in the ancient Catholic tradition as expressed in the Evangelical-Lutheran understanding. We are followers of Jesus Christ gathered together in one community and found in many places. We joyfully believe that we have been called into God's mission for humanity, which is the restoration and reconciliation of the world under Christ. We have been charged with life-changing ministry of "binding up the broken-hearted, proclaiming freedom to the captive, and releasing from darkness those who are imprisoned" (Isaiah 61:1). As individuals, we live into this calling by drawing closer to our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, the prayer of the Church called the “Daily” or “Divine Office,” theological study, and close fellowship with one another. We do not take vows, but voluntarily live and work in fellowship with one another under a common Rule, which is to be maintained in simplicity.
This leads us to the place where we understand the faith and spirituality of this Oratory to be bound to the expression of the ancient, primitive Catholic faith of first centuries of the Church - the era of the Church Fathers and the Councils. We understand that faith to live in many church bodies, including the traditions of Lutheranism, Old Catholicism, Anglicanism, Orthodoxy, and the Moravian way. We make the prayer of Jesus our own, “that they all may be one.”
The purpose of the Oratory is to give its priests, those in formation for ordained ministry, and the lay faithful, in their own work, the spiritual benefits of a Rule for Life and a close fellowship with one another under our particular charism.
Our Particular Charism
Members of the Oratory are baptized Christians, ordained and lay, who covenant together to follow God's call in community with one another. Oratorians promise to live by the Rule of the Oratory, which includes Stability of Heart, Fidelity to the Charism of the Oratory, and Obedience to the Will of God.
✢ Oratorians, as a part of the Rule, engage in the following spiritual practices: Praying the Divine Offices, Lectio Divina, frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist, Private Confession, and continuous, lifelong theological formation and education. Additionally, each Oratorian should personally have a spiritual director and a confessor.
✢ Oratorians connect their spiritual lives to the needs of the wider world by engaging in at least one continuous act of corporal mercy in the Name of Jesus Christ, who calls us to care for the needs of the world, especially the poor, the hungry, the sick, the infirm, and those imprisoned.
Types of Members of the Oratory
Generally speaking, there are three different types of members in the Oratory. First, are the Ordained Professed members. These are ordained persons (bishop, presbyter, or deacon), celibate or married/partnered, male or female, who take on the Oratorian promises and promise to live out the Rule. Secondly, there are lay persons who make the Oratorian promises. They are Lay Professed members and there is little distinction between them and the ordained in relation to the Rule. Some of the lay professed may wish to consecrate themselves to the celibate life. These are Oblates. Additionally, there are persons, ordained or lay, whose station in life makes them unable to fulfill all of the the Oratorian promises and the Rule, yet they wish to live into them as much as possible. These persons may join the Oratory community as Companions.
Finally, there are persons who, by attaching themselves to chapels established by Oratorians or by requesting to be under the pastoral care of the Oratory, become parishioners of the Oratory. Oratorians are responsible for keeping all sacramental records of those who have requested to be placed under the Oratory's care of souls.