Our Oratory’s new emblem consists of 3 eight-pointed stars, a flaming heart and 2 crossed lilies. Why?
When St Philip left his home in Florence in 1534, at the age of eighteen, his father gave him a genealogical chart of his ancestry. Philip tore this up, keeping only the Neri family “stemma” or arms, three golden stars on an azure background. If you visit an Oratorian church, you will quickly discern the star motif, together with the flaming heart of St Philip, which has been incorporated into our new Emblem of the Oratory.
This use of the heart refers to Philip’s Pentecostal experience in the catacombs of San Sebastiano, outside Rome in 1544. He was praying there on the eve of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to him in the form of a globe of flame and entered his heart. After this, Philip gave off a tremendous heat, giving spiritual consolation to those in trouble or temptation.
Our Saint’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin was well attested. He often advised his friends and disciples: “my children, be devoted to the Madonna”. His purity of soul was another of his characteristics, and Philip set great store on the virtue of purity as a means of holiness. Hence the inclusion of the lilies in our emblem.
Today, the wording around the circumference states : Bournemouth Oratory in Formation. In time, when the community is canonically erected as a Congregation, it will read: Congregatio Oratorii, Bournemouth.
If anyone knows of the Latinised form of our town’s name we would be pleased to know. Bournus Magnus perhaps?
We are indebted to Mr Mike King for designing our emblem, which now features on our church notice boards and in other printed materials.
Fr Dominic Jacob, Moderator of the Bournemouth Oratory in Formation