In March 2012, work started on the new accommodation block behind the existing parish centre. It was completed in July 2013.
It will contains a new parish office, kitchen and bar (read about them on the parish rooms page). The upper floors provide 5 new bedrooms.
Two of the rooms are now occupied, and we now have space that allows us to accept and train novices (new members of the community). We will be able to take students from Oratories overseas who want to study at Blackfriars. Outside of term time, the spare rooms can be used for guests.
Below is a link to the architect's plan of the first floor of the accommodation block (click on it to see a larger version). The rooms are labelled nidos, which comes from the Italian word for ‘nest’ — an Oratorian is supposed to have a room in which he can ‘nest’ for life because he (usually) does not leave the house he first joins.
Some of you may wonder why we need so many rooms and so many priests. Firstly, because Oratorians do not move around, the fathers will all live in this house for the rest of their lives. That means there needs to be space for the next generations to live in, and for us to be constantly training new priests.
Secondly, there is simply a lot to be done here in Oxford, and the more priests we have, the more good we can do! What kind of work? Well, in our community,
- 1 teaches RE at our primary school, St Aloysius'
- 1 teaches RE at St Philip's School, London
- 1 is the National Ecumenical Officer to the National Bishops Conference
- 1 is a chaplain to Bullingdon Prison
- 1 is a chaplain to Campsfield House Immigration Detention Centre
All of the Fathers cover for priests at neighbouring parishes during holidays, times of illness and busy periods.
Most importantly, we run a busy parish, with almost 1000 attending Mass every Sunday. Having enough priests means that we can provide three Masses and three slots for confessions on weekdays, and five Sunday Masses with confessions before each.