Oratory of Divine Love
Weekly Catholic Bible Study
An Apostolate of the Confraternity of Penitents
The Oratory of Divine Love is an apostolate encouraged by the Confraternity of Penitents. Begun by Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR, the Oratory is a way for Catholics to meet together weekly in small groups, for one hour in one another's homes, to discuss the relationship between Scripture, Church doctrine, and the Catechism. Each week, readings in both the Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church are provided along with a reflection, prayer, and questions for discussion. Oratorians are to be totally loyal to all the teachings of the Catholic Church, the Pope, and the Magisterium and are to participate in the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, preferably with the poor.
Oratorians do not live a Rule of Life as members of the Confraternity of Penitents do. However, they study the Catechism and Scripture, as penitents do in their novice formation, and they engage in the works of mercy, as penitents are called to do. Belonging to an Oratory is a way for a penitent to share his or her faith with other Catholics, who may not be penitents, and to come to understand even better the teachings of the Church.
I am doing the Oratory on-line with my brother who is a priest in Dania, Fl. and with my friend, Kate who lives in Delaware who by the way was the first person who got me in this Oratory from her sister Helen when it was first begun by Fr. Groeschel. I have kept all the meditations and answers from all from that time back then and really learned more about my faith from them, so it is very important to me and I truly Love it, - This is helping me a lot to get this weekly , so keep sending them to me.
I started an Oratory of Divine Love Prayer and Bible Study group at my parish, St. Mary's, in 2006 after listening to Fr. Benedict Groeschel talk about it on his "Sunday Night Live" show on EWTN. At that time, he was assisted by Yolanda and Jerry Cleffi, and together they had compiled and published 3 books of "Reflections from the Oratory" which I purchased for the members of our group. In addition, the Cleffi's had a website where they posted weekly reflections and questions for discussion. We started out as a group of 5, and eventually grew to 9 members. The membership went up and down over the years as members either moved, passed away or lost interest. Today we are back down to 5 members.
In 2007 and 2008 members of our Oratory were invited to attend the Oratory of Divine Love Retreat with Fr. Benedict and the Cleffi's. Those retreats took place at the Sisters of Life Retreat House which, if I'm recalling correctly, was in Connecticut. I still have pictures and videos from those retreats. I know there were Oratory members from around the country in attendance. Our group even attended a broadcast of "Sunday Night Live" when Fr. Benetict interviewed the Cleffi's and spoke about the history of the Oratory.
Unfortunately, as Fr. Groeschel's health began to fail, due to the impact of his accident, the Cleffi's also stopped posting weekly updates to the Oratory. New postings occurred only monthly and then less frequently and then not at all. I know they suffered loss from a fire at Jerry's business and also lost a parent, so their absence was understandable, but we did think they would eventually get back to the Oratory. After a few months I tried contacting them through their personal e-mail but received no response and our group has prayed for them all of these years and wondered what happened to them.
We have tried very hard to continue the oratory and we received some assistance from our Pastor, Msgr. David Hubba. When Msgr. Hubba was transferred, our group floundered a bit but we have continued to meet anyway. We watch documentaries on the Saints or pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy together, or share other reflections from Catholic websites. Needless to say, this is not the same as having weekly reflections.
I heard about your website from a former member of our Oratory, Mary Peragine, who lives a bit too far to attend the weekly meetings but has kept in touch with me. I was thrilled when she sent me this link to your website and I know the members of our Oratory will be just as excited and thankful.
Thank you and God bless you!