Thursday, June 26, 2014

Newsletter from the Oratory


2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
June 26, 2014


Dear Faithful and Friends of Saint Francis de Sales Oratory,




Corpus Christi 2014

Priestly Ordinations on Tuesday, August 5 at 10:00AM at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.

Priestly Ordination

For the past several years, sacred ordinations of new Institute priests have taken place in Florence, Italy, at the beautiful church of SS. Michele e Gaetano. This year, in addition to Florence where four French deacons will be ordained to the priesthood, St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis, MO, will be honored to be the setting for the ordination of four American deacons, by His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke. This important event in the life of the Church will take place here at the Oratory, on Tuesday, August 5, at 10:00AM.

The following day (August 6), the Oratory will again be honored to participate in the grace-filled First Masses of the newly ordained priests, according to the following schedule:

8:00 AM Rev. Canon Francis Altiere
9:00 AM Rev. Canon Benjamin Coggeshall
10:00 AM Rev. Canon Joel Estrada
11:00 AM Rev. Canon Andrew Todd

At 12:00 Noon, following First Masses, Solemn Te Deum and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will be celebrated by the Prior General and founder of our Institute, Monsignor Gilles Wach.

Already many visitors have made plans to come to St. Louis for the Ordinations. If anyone needs information on the accommodations available for this event in various hotels in St. Louis, please contact the Oratory office for the list and the special rates.

As we count down to this great event, I would like to express my deepest, heartfelt gratitude to all the generous volunteers who are working to prepare for Ordinations. The labor required for all the behind-the-scenes preparations can only be sustained by a great love for God and for the sacred. Thank you!


Choir Camp 2013

Many who attend Masses at St. Francis de Sales Oratory remark on the beauty of the liturgy and specifically on the music which is an integral part of the sacred liturgy. Occasionally on special events, such as the Gaudete Gala, many are deeply moved when they see the youthful faces behind the angelic voices. Regular weekly rehearsals are essential to our choirs, but the annual summer Choir Camp we have had since 2009 has been extremely effective in making our choirs what they are today.

Like many good summer camps, the Choir Camp is fun, educational, and beneficial to the individuals who are fortunate to attend it. The Church at large draws a benefit too, in that the Camp helps to prepare a future generation to sing the treasured repertoire of Sacred Music. When they learn it at a young age, the young people’s formative experience in sacred music will stay with them for a lifetime.

Whether you have a camper who will attend the Summer Camp this year or not, we cordially implore you to consider supporting the Choir Camp financially. We cannot minimize the fixed cost of running a summer camp, but if everyone contributes to it, we will be able to lower the cost and provide needed scholarships so that more children can participate.

You may send a check directly to the Oratory, earmarked “Sacred Music Summer Camp”, or use a crowd-funding site we have set up to accept donations.

The link is

Please invite your families and friends to visit this link too, so that they may consider supporting this worthy cause.


There have been an increasing number of sewer backups in the rectory in the past year, flooding the basement with smelly, brackish water. This happened every time there was a large rainfall, so we had a scope put down the drain and it was only able to progress several feet outside the basement, stopping under the parking area which indicated a sewer line break. We employed a sewer repair company to open the area to about a 10 foot depth and a surprising discovery was made that the problem area contained an old brick cistern about 12 feet in diameter and 10 feet deep that had caused some of the problem, along with sewer problems at the building foundation and another collapsed sewer cleanout.


All of the roof downspouts converge on this spot and were overwhelming the collapsed capacity of the sewer. New and larger plastic piping was installed and the hole was closed, hopefully resolving this irritating and unhealthy problem.



Last November we experienced a strong wind storm which damaged portions of several buildings on campus. A large stained glass window in the sanctuary was one of the damaged items. “Emil Frei and Associates” assessed the damage and provided a report which included the insurance covered storm damage but also the more comprehensive repair of the window to assure its long term health. Scaffolding was recently erected to make these repairs, which will serve as a model for what is needed for all the windows and show how these improvements will sustain and enhance our iconic windows for the future.


On Saturday, July 19, starting at 9:00AM, we will be cleaning the convent, where many priests of the Institute will be staying during the Ordinations.

On Saturday, July 26, starting at 9:00AM we will be cleaning the Church, in preparation for the priestly Ordinations and First Masses of the newly ordained priests.

If you are able to help out on either or both of these days, we would be most grateful. A sign-up sheet for each day is available at church every Sunday until July 13.

More hands make this work lighter for everyone!

If you have any questions, please contact Abbe Alex.

Thank you very much for your generous response!

With the assurance of my prayers in the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

Canon Michael K. Wiener
Rector, St. Francis de Sales Oratory

Sunday, June 15, 2014


My father building a snow arch in front of our house in 1966, a miniature Gateway Arch. My dad is always working on interesting projects.

Sunday, June 08, 2014


COME, HOLY SPIRIT, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.
O comforter, to Thee we cry,
O heavenly gift of God Most High,
O fount of life and fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

Saint Alphonsus Liguori Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - stained glass window Pentecost

Saint Alphonsus Liguori Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Mary Queen of Peace Roman Catholic Church, in Webster Groves, Missouri, USA - stained glass window of Pentecost.jpg

Mary Queen of Peace Church, in Webster Groves, Missouri.

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - mosaic of Pentecost

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.

Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri, USA - mosaic of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Pentecost

Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri.

Saint Agatha Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - stained glass window of Pentecost

Saint Agatha Church, in Saint Louis.

Saint Louis Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri - Pentecost.jpg

At the Saint Louis Art Museum.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Newsletter from the Oratory


2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
May 22, 2014


Dear faithful and friends of St. Francis de Sales Oratory,


His Grace, the Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson
Archbishop of St. Louis

This coming Sunday we will have the honor of the visit of His Grace, Archbishop Robert Carlson. The Archbishop visits with us this year twice: In May and again on the 19th of October, when St. Francis de Sales Oratory will be part of the citywide celebrations of the 800th birth anniversary of King St. Louis IX of France and also the 250th year of the founding of the city of Saint Louis.

Please join us this Sunday at 10:00AM, when His Grace will pronounce the sermon during the Solemn High Mass. Archbishop Carlson will be with us afterwards in the hall for a light reception and to greet the faithful. 


Msgr. Gilles Wach, Prior General
Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest

From May 5 to May 9 the Institute priests serving in the American Province met at St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis for their annual retreat. Monsignor Gilles Wach, Prior General of the Institute, came to St. Louis to preach to the assembled priests during this time of spiritual recollection and fraternal gathering. These retreats are indispensable for renewing the interior lives of the priests, as well as for the charitable unity among all members of the Institute.

For the community of faithful in St. Louis, this is the fourth time St. Francis de Sales Oratory had the honor to receive the canons for this spiritual event. The Institute is very grateful for the generous hospitality of numerous members of our community who helped us to prepare the rooms at the convent and rectory in which the priests were accommodated.

Abbé Alex Barga and Abbé John Ciambrano
Thursday evening of the retreat week saw the memorable Solemn High Mass celebrated by Msgr. Wach. On this solemn occasion, Abbé Alex Barga, oblate in the Institute since 2007, and sacristan at St. Francis de Sales, received the Cross of St. Francis de Sales from the hands of our Prior General. Mr. John Ciambrano, until that day a candidate for the oblatehood in Wausau, Wisconsin, received the cassock. Families and friends of our oblates joined our priests and the faithful afterwards in the hall to celebrate with light refreshments at a reception.


First Holy Communion 2014

On May 11, twenty of our children received the Holy Eucharist for the first time. All children were prepared well in the months leading to this solemn event, through catechism studies, first confessions and a short exam with one of the canons at the Oratory.

After High Mass on May 11, all children were enrolled in the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and received a small gift from the hands of the rector.

Congratulations to all these young faithful and their families!


St. Philip Neri Seminary

Tuesday, August 5, 2014, Feast of Our Lady of the Snows, will be a memorable day indeed for St. Francis de Sales Oratory and for the Institute. With the gracious permission of His Grace, the Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, the Sacrament of Holy Orders will be conferred by His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, on four American Deacons of the Institute: Abbé Francis Altière (Pennsylvania), Abbé Benjamin Coggeshall (Illinois), Abbé Joel Estrada (California), and Abbé Andrew Todd (Louisiana). Our profound gratitude to Divine Providence and heartfelt congratulations go to these four young men.

The joy for the Oratory will be heightened by the fact that this will be a homecoming of sorts, as each of these Ordinands had served in the St. Louis apostolate at least once during their Seminary formation, and each is well-known to the faithful of the Oratory.

Chanting of the Litany of the Saints 2013
We look forward to this magnificent milestone in the life of the Church, in the life of the Oratory, and particularly in the lives of four soon-to-be priests of Holy Mother Church. The solemn Pontifical Mass that day will be offered in honor of Mary Immaculate, principal patroness of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Let us ask for her intercession for these four Deacons. Please mark your calendars, and be sure to invite your families and friends to an unforgettable event on August 5th.

With my sincere best wishes I am prayerfully yours, 

Canon Michael K. Wiener
Rector, St. Francis de Sales Oratory