Thursday, December 01, 2011

Newsletter from the Oratory


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



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


We are pleased to announce a powerful, new fundraiser for St. Francis de Sales Oratory. It requires no selling and will provide a constant source of revenue. This program is so easy that everyone can contribute with very little effort and with NO additional strain on your budget.

Do you purchase gas, dine out, buy groceries, maintain your vehicle, or do home improvement? Of course you do! Need a gift for someone special or gift cards for the upcoming holidays? Do you read books or purchase electronics? Do you want to help and contribute to St. Francis de Sales Oratory?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you too can help transform and restore this magnificent St. Louis landmark just by shopping at stores you already frequent.

It is the scrip program. Scrip is simply a word that means “substitute money” – in the form of gift certificates and gift cards from national and local retailers. The way it works is simple. Scrip participating retailers agree to sell gift certificates to our organization at a discount. Families buy the certificates for full face value, they redeem them for full face value and St. Francis de Sales keeps the difference as revenue.

For example: I order $100 worth of gift cards to eat at Bob Evans. The Oratory orders the cards through the scrip management company, Great Lakes Scrip Center. Bob Evans has agreed to a 10% standard discount on the gift cards; thus, the Oratory only pays $90 for those cards. I pay full value for the cards at $100 because I was going to spend that anyway eating there. The Oratory earns $10 just from a small bit of pre-planning on my behalf. All of the participating companies have different agreed percentages: some higher, some lower.

Our first scrip order placed this week involved only 3 people, and $25 was earned for the Oratory. The potential is incredible and best of all THIS IS FREE MONEY. A portion of the money you are already spending will be coming back to the Oratory.

The beauty of scrip is that you put your regular household shopping dollars to work. You can contribute to the Oratory without spending a single additional penny. Just do your regular shopping with scrip at the stores that participate in the scrip program! Scrip can be used for just about any household purchase including food, clothing, entertainment, gasoline and even dining out. There are hundreds of participating stores. Many local businesses will also be included and available soon.

The complete listing of participating merchants can be found online and paper copies will also be available at the office and in the basement on Sundays.

Ordering is easy! You can submit orders online at or with paper copies. Simple go to the site to set up a family account. The ShopWithScrip enrollment code for St. Francis de Sales is 7B6B613B29666. Choose the scrip that you need and submit your order. Drop your check off at the Oratory office or after Mass on Sundays in the church basement. Weekly scrip orders will be placed every Monday and orders will be available for pick up on Wednesday or at your convenience from the Oratory. There is also the option of PrestoPay online. There are several retailers that have immediate e-scrip and reloadable options online for speedier service or unexpected purchases.

If you own a business and are interested in being included in the scrip program the benefits are three fold. Businesses receive cash up front and repeat business, fostering a positive community relationship. Consumers are more apt to patronize businesses that are on the scrip list especially if they are local. St. Francis de Sales benefits because of the profit we receive from the discounted card. The consumer benefits because they are able to plan ahead and purchase with the knowledge that by using gift card purchased through St. Francis de Sales, they are helping both the church and local businesses. If you would like to be included in the program, please contact Canon Wiener and we will be glad to add your business to the growing list. 

Any questions at all about the program please feel free to contact: Gretchen Clinton or the parish office at 314-771-3100.


Last year's survey

From our survey last year, we learned that our Mass attendees come from near and far, some regularly at least once a week, and some regularly, but less often, and still some who only visit occasionally. We also found – as one would expect from a normal population profile, a wide spread in age, from small children to nonagenarians. The comments from the survey also provided us valuable information which helps the Institute’s work at the Oratory to serve the faithful in St. Louis.

Having this baseline, we once again ask your help in conducting this simple survey this year, starting on the first Sunday of Advent. Whether you are a member of the Oratory, a frequent attendee, or an occasional visitor on Sundays or during the week, your contribution to this survey is important to the overall picture. Any answer given will be completely confidential, as no identifying information will be asked.

Since not everyone is able to attend Mass here every week, this survey will take place over be a period of five weeks. You may fill out a paper form, which will be provided in the weekly bulletins, or an online version of the form at this link Whichever form you choose, please fill out the survey only once, per household, during this 5-week period.

Thank you for your participation!


Saturday, December 17, at 6:30 PM in the Oratory hall
Ticket sales for the Gaudete Benefit Gala have been going very well, promising a very festive and joyful gathering. So far, at least 100 guests will be treated to a pampered evening of good food, drinks, entertainment and valet parking, in addition to sampling the Oratory’s repertoire of sacred music performed by our own talented musicians.

As you know, this Gala will benefit the Oratory music program, an important component of the liturgy and the Oratory community life. In the near future, the organ in the church must be repaired, and the music suite in our “1888 Building” must be renovated. Proceeds from this Gala will be used to fund these needs.

Music is a wonderful universal language of joy and peace, especially during Advent as we anticipate the coming of Our Blessed Lord. We hope that this Gala also provides an opportunity for you and your family to invite friends and neighbors to share in the spiritual bounty and cultural richness that the Church offers.

Please purchase your tickets ($35 each) as soon as possible, either by contacting the Oratory office or by purchasing them after both Masses on Sunday. No tickets will be sold after Sunday, December 11th.

For organizational purposes tickets are necessary for admission! Thank you.


The renovated restrooms in the Oratory hall are proving to be a much-appreciated benefit for all our families and visitors who gather in the hall every week. For all our upcoming events and gatherings, such as the Gaudete Gala, the renovation is a sign of our community’s hospitality and stewardship of this great church. Thanks to the generous contributions from all our benefactors, we are now only $3,215.00away from covering the total cost of $30,000.00 to renovate both restrooms.

We deeply appreciate your continued support to help us reach this goal so that we can close the books on this important project.



Before: Ramp in disrepair, with missing porch
Work to repair the exterior portions of the structures attached to the gymnasium has begun in earnest. The gymnasium, once an important part of the high school campus, is used now on a regular basis by the KIPP Inspire Academy, and by members of the Oratory community, especially our youths and homeschoolers. After repairing the gymnasium roof to make it leak-tight, we have begun with necessary tuck-pointing work on various outside walls of the gym. The old porch which extends from the second-floor apartment above the gymnasium, and the wooden ramp outside of the gym building the replacing the dilapidated exterior structures attached to it must be our next step. These are the old porch which extends from the second-floor apartment above the gymnasium, and the wooden ramp outside of the gym building must be replaced.

Current state: Porch being reconstructed              

For the porch, tuck-pointing of the exterior wall facing the parking lot was part of the work required by the city before the permit could be issued. With the generous help of volunteers, this has been done, and the re-construction of the porch has begun, as shown in the photos. We are very grateful for all the help from many volunteers, especially Mr. Paul Lohmueller. Once this porch is completed, we can turn our attention to the renovation of the interior of the second-floor flat.



The old wooden ramp on the north side of the gym building has become rotten and a serious safety hazard. St. Vincent de Paul Society at the Oratory has replaced the old ramp with a brand new one. The ramp is used by the Society volunteers to transfer boxes of donated food between the storage rooms and their cars.

We are very grateful for this additional contribution the St. Vincent de Paul Society makes to the Oratory community and the neighborhood in South City. St. Vincent de Paul Society at the Oratory does important works of mercy throughout the entire year, as this description regarding their activity in the month of July by the Society itself shows:
“The St Vincent de Paul Society at St Francis de Sales served 41 families consisting of 118 individuals during the month of July. The majority of those assisted were in need of food, but we also had several instances where we were able to provide needed furniture and dishes. In addition to the food items (hot dogs, bologna, 'Soup and Stew' containers, canned goods, breakfast cereal, bread and bakery items and other non-perishables), we also distributed $1,170.00 in vouchers for Shop and Save to assist our clients in securing perishable items. The ongoing prayers and financial support of SVDP is deeply appreciated and enables us to provide services such as these for the residents of the local community. Thank you for your assistance.” 


In closing I invite you to continue to pray with us the Annual Novena in preparation of the feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. We are very honored to receive the visit of His Excellency, Bishop Edward M. Rice, on Tuesday, December 6, at 6:30 PM. He will preach to us about "The Purity of Mary". Monsignor Arthur Calkins will preach on the feast day, December 8. Father John Horn, S.J., Father Brian Harrison, O.S., Father Thomas Keller, Father Gregory Lockwood, Father Eric Kunz and Canon William Avis are participating also in this important liturgical event.

With my sincere best wishes and the assurance of my prayers in Christ the King,

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

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