Saturday, May 12, 2007

Landmarks Association Tour of Saint Francis de Sales Oratory

Saint Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Oratory, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Archbishop Raymond L. Burke discusses his decision to keep this church openThe Landmarks Association of Saint Louis kicked off their annual Preservation Week this Friday at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory.

In the photo to the left, Archbishop Burke discusses his decision to keep Saint Francis de Sales open, and how this was made possible by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Father Karl Lenhardt and Monsignor Michael Schmitz of the Institute look on.

The church, second-largest in the city, needs tremendous repair, while the Catholic population in the parish territory has plummeted since the 1960s. This landmark church was slated for closing, despite the heroic efforts of remaining parishioners. But since its interior was perfectly suited for the Traditional Roman Liturgy, Archbishop Burke decided to take the risk of keeping the church open, but putting it under the care of the Institute. The Institute is becoming well-known for rescuing and restoring churches in distressed urban neighborhoods, as well as providing spiritual homes for large numbers of Catholics.

The event included a tour of the buildings, organ recital, and reception; the Blessed Sacrament was removed from the tabernacles, allowing everyone to visit the sanctuary.

The event was co-sponsored by the DeSales Community Housing Corporation, a non-profit organization founded in 1976 by the then-pastor of Saint Francis de Sales parish, dedicated to stabilizing and improving the church's neighborhood.

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