Thursday, July 21, 2011

Newsletter from the Oratory


2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
July 21, 2011



In many respects, ordination time is the highest point of seminary life in Gricigliano. Many will not forget the dates on which the new graces of Holy Orders are received. For four new priests this year, the memorable ordination date was Thursday, July 7, when they received the most sublime dignity ever conferred on men, through the hands of His Eminence, Raymond L. Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Ordination and Pontifical Solemn Mass took place at the church of San Michele e Gaetano in Florence. Now, with great joy, we may pray in thanksgiving for four new Canons of the Institute: Canons Federico Pozza, Bergerot Bertrand, Matthew Thermed and Canon Brieuc de La Brosse.

In the same church the previous day, July 6, nine subdeacons and two deacons were ordained by His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Astana.

July 5 saw 51 seminarians and oblates receive minor orders, from tonsure to acolyte, at the hands of His Excellency Msgr. Luciano Giovannetti, Bishop Emeritus of Fiesole, in the Chapel of Immaculate Conception in Gricigliano.

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke
July 4 was the milestone date when eleven “First-Years” received their cassocks from Monsignor Wach, who also celebrated the Solemn Mass in the church of San Michele e Gaetano. Among those who received their cassocks was Mr. Ben Norman, whom we know well from his pre-seminary discernment spent in St. Louis last year.

St. Francis de Sales is a beautiful church full of interesting and inspirational architectural details. Many we have seen so often that they have disappeared from our consciousness. For amusement and for enlightenment, we will launch a bi-weekly series of picture puzzle contests.

Twice per month we will publish on the TraditionForTomorrow blog a photo of a detail taken from somewhere in the church or on campus.
The attached photo is an example. Where is it from? It is from the beautiful wall of the sacristy, the first renovation project of the Oratory.
The first person to correctly identify the location of the photographed object and respond on the blog comment section will receive a prize: a special "Institute" chocolate bar. The time mark on the blog comment will determine the order of responses received. Children and adults alike are invited to participate.
Please visit

The first mystery picture for the contest will be published on the blog on Friday, July 22, at noon (CST.)


Abbe Alex Barga, in Gricigliano
Our own Abbe Alex received the minor order of Porter and Lector. Abbe Alex writes of his experience in Gricigliano:
Two weeks ago I left the country to go to Bayerisch Gmain, Germany for a silent retreat before going to our Seminary in Gricigliano for Ordination Week. I arrived in the beautiful mountains of Bavaria on an early Tuesday Morning. The retreat, which lasted four days, consisted of daily Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, two conferences a day, and a lot of time for prayer, rest and meditation. Monsignor Schmitz and Canon Lenhardt gave the conferences and they provided a lot of edifying thoughts on which to meditate. At the conclusion of the retreat I felt very prepared for the next week, when I was to receive the first two minor orders: Porter and Lector. The weekend before going to the Seminary we went to the Shrine of Our Lady of Altötting, where Canon Lenhardt celebrated a High Mass in the side chapel, and on Sunday I assisted at the two Masses we celebrate in Traunstein and Bad Reichenhall. After spending a week in Germany, the community in Bayerisch Gmain and I jumped in the van and drove the eight hours through the mountains of Austria to Gricigliano for the week of Ordinations.

On Monday evening, ten seminarians and one oblate received the cassock from Monsignor Wach. Among the five Americans who received the cassock were Abbe Matthew Walter and Abbe Ben Norman, who both spent a year of candidacy here in St. Louis. The next day Bishop Giovannetti, Bishop Emeritus of Fiesole, conferred the Minor Orders of Porter, Lector, Exorcist and Acolyte to over 35 seminarians and oblates in the Seminary Chapel of the Immaculate Conception in Gricigliano. The Chapel was packed full and some visitors even had to watch it on a television set up it the Refectory! On Wednesday Most Reverend Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop in Kazakhstan, ordained two Deacons and nine Subdeacons at the church of Saints Michael and Cajetan in Florence. On Thursday, July 7th, Ordination week came to a spectacular end with His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Leo Burke, ordaining four Priests. It was the most beautiful Liturgy I have ever seen, with His Eminence processing in with Cappa Magna and celebrating Mass from the Throne. We went back to the Seminary after the four hour ceremony to prepare for the Te Deum with Most Reverend Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence and the big dinner that evening for around 500 guests. The night concluded with the usual spectacular fireworks display. The next morning, after the first Masses of the new Priests, we drove back to Germany for the weekend. I left Germany to come back here to St. Louis on Monday, and although I was sad to go, I was happy to come back home. The past few weeks were filled with beautiful Solemn Liturgies, unbelievable hospitality in both Bayerisch Gmain and Gricigliano, and lots of graces. It was a perfect two weeks and, thanks be to God, I was able to profit immensely from it.


We are delighted to announce that the Oratory will host the special exhibit of relics for two days instead of one: on Friday, July 22, at 5:00 PM, and again on Saturday, July 23, at 9:00 AM.

        Father Carlos Martins
On both days, the visit will begin with a conference given by Fr. Carlos Martins in the Hall, followed by veneration of the relics in the church.

Please note that access to the church to venerate the relics will be available only after the conference.
This visit of more than 150 sacred relics gives us all an opportunity to pay homage to Our Lord through His saints, and to the many saints who influence our lives through their intercession. Among the relics will be those of the apostles, John the Baptist, Doctors of the Church, many well-known patron saints, such as Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Francis of Assissi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Mary Magdalene, and St. Pio of Pietrelcina. Not to be missed in the midst of this constellation are a piece of veil of the Blessed Mother and a piece of the True Cross. (See list of saints.)

Please mark your calendars for July 22 and 23; join us when we receive the blessed presence of over 150 saints, and as we warmly welcome Father Carlos A. Martins, a priest of theCompanions of the Cross, and his “Treasures of the Church”, a ministry of evangelization of the Catholic Church.

With my sincere gratitude and faithful prayers in Christ the King,

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

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