Sunday, March 13, 2011

News From the Oratory


2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
March 11, 2011


Dear Friends of St. Francis de Sales Oratory,


From March 28 through April 1, 2011, all the canons of the American province of the Institute as well as several from other parts of the world will gather at St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis for a retreat to be preached by our Prior General, Monsignor Gilles Wach. All the good work which priests accomplish in the apostolate must flow from a fervent interior life with God. This is why every priest of the Church is required to make an annual retreat.

Msgr. Wach will celebrate the 10:00 AM Solemn High Mass on Sunday, March 27. One of our newly ordained American priests, Canon Michael Stein, will preach at the Mass. Canon Stein is currently assigned to our African missions, and he will give a presentation on the missions at a reception in the lower hall following the 10:00 AM Mass. The retreat will conclude with a Solemn High Mass on Thursday, March 31 at 6:30 PM, followed by a reception with all the faithful. We welcome Msgr. Wach, Canon Stein and all other priests to St. Francis de Sales Oratory for what will surely be a memorable week.

On Saturday, 9 April 2011, at 11 AM Monsignor Arthur B. Calkins, chaplain of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, will present an introduction to the Virgin Mary’s role as the Redeemer’s most intimate collaborator in the work of our salvation and sanctification. St. Francis de Sales is grateful for Monsignor Calkins' visit at the Oratory; his talk will serve as an effective preparation during the holy season of Lent. Here is a short article Msgr. Calkins provided for us which gives an outline of his talk on April 9 in the hall of the Oratory:

In the course of two millennia and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit the Catholic Church has come to an ever more focused understanding of the person and role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. The first Marian dogma to be solemnly declared was that Mary is in fact the Theotókos, the God-bearer or Mother of God. Subsequently the Church reached the certitude that Mary is ever Virgin: that she was a virgin before, during and after giving birth to Jesus. After centuries of debate the Catholic Church arrived at the assurance that Mary was immaculate from the first moment of her conception. Finally in 1950, after ascertaining the Church’s long held belief, the Venerable Pius XII formally defined that the Virgin Mary was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven.

All four of these dogmas refer to the person of Mary in relation to the God-man, Jesus Christ. But Catholics believe even more about Mary than these profound mysteries regarding her person. They also believe that she played and continues to play an entirely unique role in the work of our salvation. In the course of the second millennium saints and theologians have been meditating, preaching and writing about Mary’s collaboration in the work of redemption and in the distribution of grace while for over one hundred fifty years the Popes have teaching about her maternal role.

During the pre-lenten and lenten season we want to meditate in our Sunday sermons on the "Seven Capital Sins" - as a means to help us to acquire more effectively the opposite virtues. Canon Huberfeld and I talked already about Sloth, Envy and Wrath; the sermon series continues with thoughts about the sin of Gluttony, Lust, Greed and Pride.

Sermon program:
Sloth – Septuagesima Sunday
Envy – Sexagesima Sunday
Wrath – Quinquagesima Sunday
Gluttony – First Sunday of Lent
Lust – Second Sunday of Lent
Greed – Third Sunday of Lent
Pride - Passion Sunday
Here is a short excerpt of Canon Huberfeld's sermon on "Wrath":

"Anger may be defined simply as “the desire to get revenge.” And nearly always, it is not the rights of God or of our helpless neighbor that we are seeking to avenge, but our own ruffled pride. The smallest child displays this behavior. If his brother hits him over the head with a toy, he might be surprised the first time and just cry from the pain, but the second time his first thought will be to settle the score, with a little more thrown in for good measure.

The fact that sins of anger are often only venial should not put us at ease. Never forget that, after original sin, the first mortal sin recorded in the Scriptures was a sin of anger. Cain fell from grace long before he finally rose up against his brother. As Our Lord said from the Mount: you have heard that it was said to them of old, thou shalt not kill, and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of judgment. But I say to you that whosoever is angry with his brother shall be in danger of judgment. ...

Some people are never in control of their temper, but most are able to avoid being an ogre in public; their own vanity keeps their anger in check. Tragically, it most often with those to whom we are closest – our friends and closest family members -- that our wrath knows no bounds. With them we are, it seems, ready to fight to the death over the smallest matters. In some households, snapping, cutting down, and a hateful tone of voice are a way of life – or rather, a way of death. The initial reasons for a quarrel are soon forgotten; all that matters is winning the battle at hand."


On Sunday March 27, 2011 the faithful will host a reception for Monsignor Gilles Wach, Founder and Prior General of the Institute, at St. Francis de Sales Oratory after the 10 AM Solemn High Mass. Monsignor Wach will be in St. Louis to give a week long retreat for the clergy of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in the United States. At the reception, the faithful will have the opportunity to greet Monsignor Wach, and to hear a presentation from Canon Michael Stein on the mission in Gabon, Africa.


Please consider joining the faithful in warmly welcoming and showing our gratitude to Monsignor Wach. We need many helping hands at this reception. If you could assist in any big or small way with the reception, it would be greatly appreciated. Please contact the rectory 314.771.3100 or Thank you for your generosity.

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

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