Today Christians Celebrate Feast of St. Philip Neri

St Philip NeriSaint Philip Neri (1515-1595) Image Courtesy: Christian Forums

(Franciscan Media) Born in Italy Florence, his family was poor. Philip Neri’s family moved to San Germano in 1533 according to SQPN to help some relatives with their businesses, while there, Philip would escape to a local Dominican Chapel in the mountains–Philip abandoned any chance to go into business like his relatives and moved to Rome with the resolve to devote his life and individuality to God.

While in Rome, Philip studied philosophy and theology and for the next 13 years his time was unusually spent as a lay person in his day, Philip actively engaged in prayer and evangelism.

As the ‘Council of Trent’ was reforming the Church on a doctrine level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society–from Beggars to Cardinals. Philip rapidly gathered around himself a group of other laypersons, won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group and also served the poor in Rome.

At the urging of Philip’s Confessor, he was ordained a Priest in 1551 and soon became an outstanding Confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke.

Fr. Philip Neri would arrange talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the Church, he would on occasion lead ‘excursions’ to other Churches, often time with music and a picnic along the way.

Some of Fr. Philip Neri’s followers would later become Priests, living together in a community–this was the beginning of the ‘Congregation of the Oratory’ which Fr. Philip Neri founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks together with vernacular hymns. — Cardinal Newman founded the first English speaking house of the Oratory, three centuries later.

Fr. Philip Neri’s advice was sought by many prominent figures. Fr. Neri became one of the most influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church. — Fr. Neri died at the Church of San Maria in Italy Vallicella at the age of eighty.

In 1615 Fr. Philip Neri was Beatified by Pope Paul V and was Canonized in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV

More here from American Catholic

Related: Pope Francis Sends Message to Mark 5th Centenary of St. Neri

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