Thursday, June 09, 2011

Newsletter from the Oratory


2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
June 09, 2011



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


Imagine standing in the middle of our church and being able to look at the interior of our beautiful church in all directions, up and down, and all around. Imagine walking over to one of the side altars and examining it in detail. This physical experience we all have had is now available on the Internet in the form of a virtual tour. Thanks to modern imaging techniques, now we will be able to take our friends and family on a tour of St. Francis de Sales, whether they live across town or thousands of miles away, simply by visiting our website

We are deeply indebted to two benefactors, and the firms of Salt River Production Group and YourVision360, who contributed their time and expertise to provide the 360-degree panoramic interior view of our beloved church.


Coming to St. Francis de Sales Oratory on Friday, July 22, 2011, (feast of St. Mary Magdalene) will be a special exhibit of over 150 relics of saints, including one of the largest certified relics of the True Cross in the world and a piece of the Veil of Our Lady (Vatican certified).

Rev. Father Carlos Martins
We will warmly welcome Father Carlos A. Martins, a priest of the Companions of the Cross, and his “Treasures of the Church”, a ministry of evangelization of the Catholic Church. Fr. Martin’s exposition will begin with a multi-media presentation on the Church's use of relics. After the teaching those in attendance have an opportunity to venerate the relics of some of their favorite saints. See the list of saints in pdf.
Please mark your calendars and join us on July 22 when we receive the visit of over 150 saints and their blessed presence.

Last December’s survey confirmed what is obvious to any visitor to the Oratory on a Sunday: a large number of young children are present when the mystery, solemnity and beauty unfold in the Mass celebrated in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. One might wonder how the parents of these young children experience the spiritual joy of the sacred liturgy while meeting the needs of their young charges during holy Mass. Mrs. Kellene Goff, a friend of the Institute and faithful of St. Francis de Sales Oratory shares her perspective:

By Kellene Goff
But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such. Matt. 19:14
One often hears it said that it is very difficult to participate in the Mass with young children. Holding a crying baby in the vestibule is not commonly seen as an inspiration to devotion during the consecration. A two year old falling off the kneeler while straining to see Our Lord in the elevated Eucharist seems to call a parent's attention away from their own prayers. A seven year old, who must frequently be reminded to pay attention and not be distracted from the Mass, makes a parent feel quite distracted himself.
How do parents with young children properly participate in Mass? Can they participate at all when constantly called upon to tend the needs of their little ones? Some parents are so torn by these demands that they are tempted to think it impossible. Perhaps they say to themselves with a tone of slight self-pity, “Someday I will participate in Mass.”
But what is participation in Mass? Certainly the priest, offering in persona Christi the sacrifice of the Mass, participates most directly. But he does this not only for the glory of God but for “the service of all the members of the Church.” The servers and choir members also participate in that they assist the worship of the Body of the Church. They often sacrifice their personal prayers so that they might perform the duties that are required of them. These duties become their participation and can be united to the sacrifice of Christ. Parents, in their turn, assist their children, who are part of the Body of Christ, to participate in as full and conscious a way as possible in the sacrifice of the Mass. This assisting of their children is their participation. In the words of our Lord, “as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.”
At first glance, holding a crying baby seems to have nothing whatever to do with the consecration of Our Lord. But when a parent sacrifices personal devotion and leaning forward, whispers quietly in the baby's ear to hush his crying, there is a resemblance to the action at the altar. When the child who falls during the elevation of the Eucharist feels loving hands lifting him up, more quickly and attentively than when he falls at home, the action will reflect the holiness of the moment. When an older child's constant distraction is firmly and consistently guided with the same effortless poise as those of the servers going through the motions at the altar, then the parent's role in assisting his children at Mass will be his offering of praise to the Lord. And when some day, a parent kneels beside his child and two hearts, instead of one, are trained to unite their intentions with those of our Lord, the fruit of the parents' service will show itself in the prayers of their children. What a glorious thing for a parent to see his ministrations not as distractions but as direct participation in the Mass by helping to manifest it to the smallest members of the Body of Christ.

The Canons together with Abbe Alex and all memebers of the staff wish you a grace filled celebration of the feast of Pentecost. We assure you all of our prayers and want to remind you of the upcoming feasts of Corpus Christi (External Solemnity) with Solemn Procession on Sunday, June 26 at 10 AM and of the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Friday, July 1 at 8 AM and 6:30 PM (Solemn High Mass)

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

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