Renovation efforts at St. Francis de Sales Oratory have now received public recognition with reception of the annual “Golden Brick Award” bestowed by the DeSales Community Housing Corporation. The Corporation, which spun off from St. Francis de Sales parish as a separate legal entity decades ago, gives the award to people and/or projects that have contributed positively to the Tower Grove East and Fox Park neighborhoods. Nominees may include businesses, institutions, or even individuals that have demonstrated a commitment towards improving the neighborhoods.
The project which won the award for the Oratory this year was the renovation of the vesting sacristy in the church building, a renovation which resulted in the replication of a chapel built by St. Louis King of France. Although this represents just one project out of many in the restoration of St. Francis de Sales church and rectory, it was considered significant, especially since the sacristy project was involved in a Papal award, the “Bene Merenti,” recently given to Abbe Alexander Willweber of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.
When the Institute was first given the administration of St. Francis de Sales as an oratory three years ago, both the church and rectory—as well as adjoining schools and convent—were in serious states of disrepair. However, the church now displays most of its former glory as the “Cathedral of South St. Louis,” and the rectory has undergone a thorough renovation. Although the adjoining school and convent buildings still await major updating, the work so far has greatly contributed to a general renaissance in the area. Indeed, the Fox Park Neighborhood Association regards the Oratory campus as the “anchor” of the neighborhood.
Fr. Karl W. Lenhardt, Rector of the Oratory, Vice Provincial of the Institute, and Episcopal Delegate for the Implementation of the Motu Proprio,Summorum Pontificum, in the Archdiocese of St. Louis will receive the Golden Brick Award on Wednesday evening, July 9, at 5:30pm in a presentation ceremony at the Tower Grove Abbey (2336 Tennessee).
Photo courtesy of the Oratory.