Philip started an apostolate, first at street corners talking to all who would listen, and then with young Florentines working in Rome.
In 1548 with the help of his confessor, Fr. Persiano Rossa, Philip founded a confraternity of poor laymen, popularized the devotion of the forty hours, and undertook the care of pilgrims in need. Greatly blessed, this work developed into the celebrated hospital of Santa Trinitá dei Pellegrini.
Philip Neri was ordained on May 23, 1551 and became known for the gift of reading the thoughts of his penitents. As the number of conversions increased, he began to give regular conferences.