Monday, April 04, 2011

Newsletter from the Oratory


2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
April 01, 2011

Dear Faithful and Friends of St. Francis de Sales Oratory,


The Oratory was very honored to receive Monsignor Gilles Wach, Prior General and founder of the Institute, who preached a four-day retreat for all Institute priests serving the 12 apostolates in the US province. Monsignor Wach began his visit to St. Louis by celebrating a Solemn High Mass on Sunday, March 27, and solemnly closed the priestly retreat with a solemn Votive Mass in Honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Most High and Eternal Priest on Thursday evening, March 31. Before the Mass a diocesan priest was admitted as an affiliate of the Institute, an oblate received the cassock from Monsignor Wach and three new members of the Sacred Heart Society, the lay branch of our community, could receive the cross of St. Francis de Sales from the hands of the Prior General.

US Provinical Retreat - Saint Francis de Sales Oratory March 31, 2011
The Institute, particularly the priests who attended the retreat, expresses its gratitude to all faithful and friends of the Institute in St. Louis for their generous hospitality in making this a memorable retreat for the Canons in the US Province.


Dear Friends of the Institute in St. Louis,

I am very happy to be with you in St. Louis at St. Francis de Sales Oratory to preach a retreat for our priests working in our American apostolates. Being here brings back memories of the beautiful and magnificent Ordinations of two of these priests at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis by Cardinal Burke in 2007. How can one not remember?

It is always a great joy to celebrate Mass and to chant the office in “the Cathedral of South St. Louis,” consecrated to our dear patron, St. Francis de Sales. The quality of a place is important for the quality of the prayer pronounced therein. Our ancestors in the faith did indeed build beautiful churches to worship the true and only God.

I would like to thank you for your always so warm welcome. Above all, I thank you in the name of our seminary in Gricigliano and our seminarians. Your material support of the formation of our seminarians is critically important, for there is no Church without priests.

With my heartfelt best wishes and the assurance of my grateful prayers,

Monsignor Gilles Wach
Prior General


Also on Sunday, March 27, the Institute's characteristic blue servers' cassocks were introduced for the first time. We are deeply grateful for all the hard work that was put into this project of providing many blue cassocks with white collars and cuffs for our servers. As Monsignor Wach said after the Sunday Mass in the hall, these cassocks underline even more visibly that the liturgy brings to us each time it is celebrated a piece of heaven.


Newly ordained by Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke last July, Canon Stein offered his first Mass and first blessings at the Oratory on Sunday, March 27, at the 8 AM Mass, and preached the sermon at the 10:30 AM Solemn High Mass celebrated by Monsignor Wach. At the reception after Mass, Canon Stein gave the faithful a glimpse of the Institute’s work at the Mission in Gabon. Canon Stein kindly offered a description of the Mission in Gabon for the faithful.
Baptism of a child in our missions
Dear Friends and Members of Saint Francis de Sales Oratory,

     Please receive my heartfelt thanks for your warm welcome (albeit under a Spring Snow!). Your continued generosity towards the Institute’s Missions in Gabon is a great source of strength and consolation. Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Libreville is growing both materially and spiritually. The construction of the Parish Church advances and the number of faithful increase weekly. 2011 should see the inauguration of the Renaissance Roman Facade of the Church. More than 700 Gabonese attend Sunday Mass and more than 275 are in Catechism classes. Since last Easter the Mission has had over 100 baptisms (including 4 emergency baptisms; these pure souls went to join their Creator just days after!), 45 Confirmations, 70 1st communions, and 3 Sacramental Marriages.

       The main obstacles we face are: pagan (and even outright diabolical) practices, a culture of polygamy and abortion, Evangelical Sects, and material misery. For most of our faithful it is literally a daily fight to put bread on the table and clothes on the children. The signs of hope are: the paternal care of the Archbishop of Libreville, the construction of the Parish Church, the youth that form the majority of our Parish, the frequent use of the Sacraments, and worldwide generosity from Institute faithful. There are daily confessions and conversions on a weekly basis.

                                                                                Canon Michael Stein in Gabon

     Again, the Canons and faithful of Gabon thank you for your prayer and support. You are not forgotten in our prayers and we count on yours. I confide to you three specific prayer intentions: for the church construction, for genuine Catholic men in society, and for the perseverance of our youth. Know that your material and spiritual support contribute to the saving of souls. They will be your crowning glory in Heaven. May God Bless you!
- Your American Missionary in Africa
Canon Stein
To make donations to the Institute’s Mission in Gabon, please visit the web site.Thank you for your generosity!

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

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