Friday, May 01, 2009

Upcoming Events at the Oratory

Email Newsletter


Saint Francis de Sales Oratory

2653 Ohio Avenue

Saint Louis, Missouri 63118






Email newsletter with information about:

1.      Gregorian Chant Class June 3rd – July 29th

2.      Book Presentation “Catholic St. Louis” May 17

3.      First Communion – Mother’s Day Brunch – May 10

4.      Blessing of Household Oil, Salt – May 3

5.      Still 8 tickets for the Cardinals vs. Phillies left!





Dear Friends of St. Francis de Sales Oratory,


1.        Gregorian Chant Class


The splendor of the liturgy, its beauty, mystery and awe – based is all this on the incarnation, the fact that God became man in time, that He shares our nature and that He elevated this nature by re-creating it through sanctifying grace. The liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church is the privileged instrument Christ has given to us to make the sanctifying power of the incarnation effective – throughout all ages.


Music is part of this work of sanctification through the liturgical action: Not only is chant sung prayer (“He who sings prays twice’), liturgical music is in itself already this making use of the again sanctified nature of man, which now is elevated and enabled “to sing God a song”.


Our very gifted and devoted music director at the Oratory, Mr. Nick Botkins, invites you in our name to participate in a 9 week long Gregorian chant course starting on June 3rd here at the Oratory. Here is what we have put out on our blog about this event:



Beginners’ Gregorian Chant Lessons


Wednesday Evening from 7:30-8:30 PM in the Oratory Hall

June 3rd – July 29th


St. Francis de Sales Oratory and its Director for Sacred Music, Mr. Nick Botkins, are pleased to announce a nine-week course in Gregorian chant for beginners. The lessons will be offered once a week on Wednesday evening from 7:30-8:30 PM in the Oratory hall. The course runs from June 3rd to July 29th. Information brochure with registration form is available by contacting the Oratory: 314-771-3100.


The goal of this course

The goal of this course is to teach beginners to sing chant, and to become well-acquainted with three different settings of the Mass that the Church has suggested for use throughout the year. These settings include: Mass XI Orbis factor (Post-Pentecost), Mass IV Cunctipotens Genitor Deus, and Mass IX Cum jubilo (for Feasts of the Blessed Virgin).


Other material to be covered will include:

The responses of the faithful

Sprinkling Antiphon Asperges Me

Te Deum

Hymns for Benediction

Seasonal Marian antiphons


Participants will be exposed to Gregorian chant notation (a.k.a. square notes), and brief explanations will be made regarding this notation.


Who may attend

Any lay people who are interested in learning about Gregorian Chant and are willing sing it at Mass is welcome. This course is designed for the beginner, thus no prior experience in Gregorian chant or Church Latin is necessary, but the ability to carry a tune will be helpful.


Faithful of the Oratory, as well as visitors from parishes are welcome. Clergy and seminarians are also welcome, if they wish to learn the above mentioned material. Participants are encouraged to bring friends to introduce them to this form of sacred music.


Course material

Copies of all music will be provided. Please provide your own one-inch binder, and a pencil for making notes during class. 


Date, time, location of lessons

These lessons will be held every Wednesday evening in the Oratory Hall, beginning on June 3rd. Each lesson will last between 45 and 60 minutes, and will begin promptly at 7:30 PM, so please be punctual. There will be time to socialize before and after each lesson. Mr. Botkins will be available to answer any question you may have regarding the course material.


Throughout the nine-week course, all participants are encouraged to attend the High Masses at the Oratory, on Sundays or feast days, to practice what they have learned.


How to register

Send an e-mail to Mr. Nick Botkins (, and please indicate your name, phone number, parish, and level of singing experience.



These lessons are offered free of charge to both diocesan parishioners and faithful of the Oratory. Donations are welcome, and will be directed towards the restoration effort.


Experienced choristers and musicians who already know chant

You are most welcome to join one of the Gregorian scholas at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.


Gentlemen’s Schola rehearses Saturday Morning from 9:15 – 10:30.


Ladies’ Schola Rehearses Thursday Evening from 5:15- 6:30.


2.      Book Presentation


On May 17 (Sunday) after the 10 am Mass we will be happy to invite Mr. Mark Abeln to present his newly published book: Catholic St. Louis: A Pictorial History by William Barnaby Faherty S.J.  by Mr. Mark Scott Abeln (Reedy Press, 2009) has just been published. It is a collaborative effort between a noted historian of St. Louis, Fr. William Faherty, and a noted native photographer and blogger, Mr. Mark Scott Abeln (“Rome of the West” Mark Abeln will give a brief talk about his work for the book and will be happy to sign copies of the book which will be available for $32.95.  Catholic St. Louis shows St. Francis de Sales church and many other St. Louis area church edifices by approaching these pieces of art and craftsmanship with respect and in silence.

Mr. Abeln has generously donated the net profit of books sold on this occasion to The Friends of St. Francis de Sales, Inc. We are grateful for Mr. Abeln’s generosity, and also for this excellent undertaking which illustrates and preserves the history of the Catholic church in St, Louis. Everyone is cordially invited to come meet Mr. Abeln after Mass, and to purchase a signed copy of his book. 





3.      First Holy Communion


On May 10 the Oratory will celebrate First Holy Communion of 15 children. This is always a very important event – for the children and their families as much as for the whole Oratory community. Considering the high importance the participation in the Eucharist has for all of us it is even more edifying to see that these young faithful are receiving the Lord in the framework of the sacred liturgy in its most solemn form. A day which will keep its mysterious beauty in the memories of all those who attend. Please pray for our children, that they may hold the truth of the real presence of Our Lord close to their heart throughout their entire lives.


On the same day we will be able to enjoy the Mothers’ Day Brunch, a hospitality luncheon provided by the Knights of Columbus (council St. Francis de Sales).



4.      Blessing of household items this Sunday



After both Masses religious and household items (salt, oil, rosaries etc.) will be blessed. There will be a table available near the baptismal font, please leave items you would like to see blessed there.



5.      Still 8 tickets for the Cardinals vs. the Phillies left!



A gracious donor has provided us with a great gift: tickets for the game Cardinals vs. Phillies on Tuesday, May 5, at 7:15 pm in St. Louis (Bush Stadium). If you are interested in the game and in supporting the Oratory – here is the deal: You enjoy the game by donating $100 min. and we move one step closer to bring back to St. Francis de Sales its former splendor. Call us: 314-771-3100.



Canon Michael K. Wiener

Rector, St. Francis de Sales Oratory

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