About the Oratory

Institute of Christ the King

The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is a society of apostolic life erected by Msgr. Gilles Wach and Canon Philippe Mora on September 1, 1990. Today the Institute maintains houses and apostolates in countries on several continents, including the United States. In 2013, San Jose, CA Bishop Patrick McGrath established the Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory at Five Wounds Portuguese National Church to serve as the center of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Latin Rite for  the diocese and entrusted the ministry of the Oratory to the priests of the Institute of Christ the King.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory

The Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory is dedicated to the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass (also called the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite) in the Diocese of San Jose, CA.  A canon of the Institute is appointed as rector of the Oratory.

Read Bishop McGrath's letter issued on December 11, 2013

See the Decree from the Office of the Bishop of San José that established the oratory.

From the Desk of Canon Ueda, Oratory Chaplain: What is Spirituality?

December 22, 2017

It has already been four years since the Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory was erected on December 11, 2013. I am pleased that the Oratory family has been growing little by little with the grace of God. It is good to grow in size, but, most importantly, we are all invited to grow spiritually. But do we really know what it means to be spiritual? In the current situation, there are so many false paths which tempt us to stray away from a true spirituality. I hope that this  will give you some insight concerning the genuine spirituality which we are invited to follow.

In the Catholic Church, spirituality is generally seen as an integral part of religion, as much for the laity as for those who have taken formal vows in the Church. There is a variety of charisms that emphasize particular ways to serve God and humanity. In the Church, “spirituality” basically signifies a method for growth, a path of progress in our friendship with Christ. This itinerary has as its final destination what we call holiness, an individual’s firm, deep, integral, and dynamic communion with God. We call this itinerary “spirituality” because we achieve communion with God through the purification of our spiritual faculties (intelligence and will) and in the alignment of these faculties with the wisdom and will of God. Our intelligence, our capacity to perceive and understand truth in a self-conscious manner, was severely darkened by original sin; it is darkened even more by our personal sins and the sinful tendencies of the world around us. Growth in the spiritual life gradually increases the influence of God’s revelation and wisdom (a “light for our path and a lamp for our feet” as Psalm 119 puts it) which corrects, heals and strengthens our minds. In his way we come to see and understand ourselves, God and the world around us truthfully, i.e. as God does.

Our will, that capacity of self-determination which allows us to make conscious choices, is also severely weakened by original sin, personal sin, and the world’s evil tendencies. Growth in the spiritual life gradually heals and strengthens our will so that we emerge out of self-centered and self-indulgent habits into virtuous living. Virtues are those good habits of the will that enable us to choose what is truly good and right in any circumstance, even at great immediate cost to ourselves.

Spirituality is also like a bridge. Every bridge does pretty much the same thing: it gets you from one place to another, sometimes over perilous ground, a body of water or a deep valley. But different kinds of bridges do their job in different ways: they might be built of rope, wood, bricks, stone or steel; they might be shaped as arches or as suspension bridges. In the same way, every genuine spirituality offers us a distinctive pathway to God. Many of the most well-known Catholic spiritualities flow from our religious orders such as the Benedictines, the Francis- cans, and the Carmelites. Over the course of the centuries, each order has developed its own spiritual traditions, some of them originating with the order’s founder. Today, members of religious orders live out what is called a family tradition, a tradition particular to that order.

The IHM Oratory is served by the priests of the Institute of Christ the King, and the Institute has been blessed to have St. Frances de Sales as our spiritual father. I hope that, through this newsletter, we will be able to make more widely known and better loved the Salesian spirituality of the Institute. May St. Francis de Sales continue to guide us on the path of Salvation.

The Principal Patrons of the Institute

The three principal “pillars” of the spiritual life of the Institute of Christ the King are the liturgy, Thomistic theology, and Salesian spirituality. These three pillars are exemplified and embodied by the three principal patrons of the Institute: St. Benedict, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis de Sales.

St. Benedict, the father of Western monasticism, founder of the Benedictine order and author of the Benedictine Rule, was born in around 480 to a noble family in Nursia. He exercised
a fundamental influence on the development of European culture and helped Europe to emerge from the darkness which followed upon the fall of the Roman Empire. The Benedictine Rule emphasizes the centrality of the Liturgy and of the Divine Office sung in common.

Born around 1225 in Aquino, Italy, St. Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican friar and Doctor of the Church; he is also known as“the Angelic Doctor”. He was enormously influential in philosophy, theology and canon law. A classical proponent of natural theology as well as one of the Church’s greatest philosophers and theologians, he embraced several ideas promoted by Aristotle and synthesized Aristotelian philosophy with the principles of Christianity.

St. Francis de Sales was born in 1567 to noble parents and became Bishop of Geneva. His books on spiritual formation and spiritual direction, particularly the Introduction to the Devout Life, which he wrote specifically for lay people, and the Treatise on the Love of God, remain highly influential. His spirituality is characterized by a sweetness and gentleness of approach, and he counseled charity over penance as a means of progress in the spiritual life. He was a spellbinding preacher; his motto was, “He who preaches with love, preaches effectively.”

Extract from the Rule of St. Benedict

Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart. This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice. The labor of obedience will bring you back to him from whom you had drifted through the sloth of disobedience. This message of mine is for you, then, if you are ready to give up your own will, once and for all, and armed with the strong and noble weapons of obedience to do battle for the true King, Christ the Lord.

The Rule of St. Benedict in English, Prologue, The Liturgical Press, 1981

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