Thursday, March 15, 2012

Newsletter from the Oratory


2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
March 15, 2012


Dear Faithful Friends of St. Francis de Sales Oratory,


Golden Rose

Having passed the half-way point of Lent, holy Mother Church encourages us to complete our Lenten observance by reminding us of the joy and the hope that underlie this holy season. This Sunday, Laetare Sunday, takes its name from the first word of the Introit, meaning “rejoice.” It is also known as “Rose Sunday,” referring to the Golden Rose “which the popes have been accustomed for centuries to bless each year, and occasionally confer upon illustrious churches and sanctuaries as a token of special reverence and devotion, upon Catholic kings or queens, princes or princesses, renowned generals or other distinguished personages, upon governments or cities conspicuous for their Catholic spirit and loyalty to the Holy See, as a mark of esteem and paternal affection” ( One of the recent awards of the Golden Rose by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI., was offered to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima in 2010.

               St. Benedict - St. Peter's Basilica in Rome                            St. Joseph - Oratory garden 

March is the month of St. Joseph, which we noted in the first newsletter of the month. March also contains the feast days of two co-patrons of the Institute: St. Thomas Aquinas on the 7th and St. Benedict on the 21st. Whereas St. Thomas offers us clarity and fidelity to the Church’s doctrines, St. Benedict exemplifies for us the unity between faith and culture, and between liturgy and life. A Solemn High Mass will be offered on Wednesday, March 21, at 6:30 PM, as we joyfully acknowledge the patronage of St. Benedict. A plenary indulgence will be available to all who faithfully assist at this Mass, under the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Holy Communion, prayer for the Pope, and detachment from all sins.)
Here is the schedule of liturgical events at the Oratory this week:

Sunday, March 18 - Laetare Sunday/ 4th Sunday of Lent

8am Low Mass; 10am High Mass, followed by Benediction

Monday, March 19 - Feast of St. Joseph

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary & Patron of the Universal Church
8am Low Mass; 6:30pm Solemn High Mass

Tuesday, March 20 - Feria
8am Low Mass, 6:30pm Low Mass

Wednesday, March 21 - St. Benedict, Abbot

Co-Patron of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest
8am Low Mass; 12:15pm Low Mass; 6:30pm Solemn High Mass

Thursday, March 22 - Feria
8am Low Mass; 6:30pm Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament

Friday, March 23 - Feria

8am Low Mass
Votive Mass of the Precious Blood
6:30pm Low Mass, followed by Stations of the Cross

Saturday, March 24 - Feria

8am Low Mass

Sunday, March 25 - Passion Sunday/ 5th Sunday of Lent
8am Low Mass; 10am High Mass

Monday, March 26 - Annunication of the Blessed Virgin Mary

8am Low Mass; 6:30pm Solemn High Mass


After Canon Michael Stein’s visit last year, a special friendship was forged between the Oratory community and the Institute’s apostolate in Libreville, Gabon, Africa. Recently, Canon Stein was installed as the new pastor of the church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Libreville by His Excellency, Bishop Basil Mvé Engone, who celebrated a Pontifical Mass after the installation. Also present were Monsignor Schmitz, Vicar General in the Institute, and numerous friends of the Institute in Africa and Europe.

Please remember Monsignor Schmitz and all canons and oblates of the Institute who work at our missions in Gabon in your prayers! Thank you very much.


View on the Oratory from Iowa Avenue

Many steps we take to preserve the beauty of a centenarian’s façade – such as St. Francis de Sales’, are very necessary, but not at all glamorous. Case in point: we recently had to address two spots along the south side of the church building that are the result of the past tower movements. One is a broken high capstone near the southeast entrance that is in danger of falling down. The other is at one of the lower windows that has lost a brick and shows signs of mortar cracking. Both trouble spots require immediate attention, and are now under contract for repair.

Then there’s the stone wall that runs along Iowa Avenue. Over time the one corner post has tilted and moved away from the wall, causing some capstones to fall to the sidewalk below. This problem, too, is under contract for repairs. And when that’s done, tuck-pointing of this entire length of wall will be needed to make it all well again.


Chips, cracks, and erosion are part of the aging process of any man-made structure exposed to natural forces of degradation. Although the repairs generally go unnoticed, they nevertheless consume much of our financial and personnel resources. Since Fall 2008, The Friends of St. Francis de Sales, Inc. has paid out approximately $150,000.00 for restoration and repair work performed by skilled professionals. We estimate that the priceless work performed during countless volunteer hours, for which we are deeply grateful, exceeds this amount by several multiples. (Thank you all so very much for what you have done and what you presently do at the Oratory!)

During this month dedicated to St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, please join us in asking his intercession to help us with all the needs of this church, especially in meeting all maintenance and insurance costs. May St. Joseph bless and protect all who work to do the invisible repairs of this church!


Summer at the Oratory 2011

The SATO committee has begun collecting items for the raffle and the silent auction. We are reaching out to businesses to ask for donations, but we also welcome contributions from individuals. Please contact the organizers, Mrs. Roussin or Mrs. Hayworth, if you know of a business we could contact, or if you have something to donate.

Jessica Roussin will be collecting prizes for the raffle: If you have any items that would be particularly useful for this purpose (i.e., nice baskets, any new and useful merchandise, even high end consumer goods, tickets for plays, cinema, wine, etc.), please contact her at 314-601-1201. The deadline for large items for the raffle is April 20, 2012.
Mary Hayworth is handling the silent auction again this year. Collection of auction goods will take place from now through August 10th. 
This year's Summer at the Oratory will take place on Sunday, August 19th, 2012.


Archbishop John Joseph Glennon

This photograph taken of His Excellency in 1905 two years after he had become the Archbishop of St. Louis. Archbishop was created Cardinal on February 18, 1946.
The dedication of the beautiful new church was a grand event that took place on November 26, 1908. Since Archbishop Glennon was away in Rome at the time, it was decided to have the neighboring Bishop, John Janssen of Belleville, officiate at this historic ceremony. A long list of notables of the clergy of the area was present, along with hundreds of parishioners and friends. On this occasion as on so many others in the earlier days of the church, both an English as well as a German sermon were given.

Despite the heavy debt that rested on the parish after the completion of the church, plans were still made for the decoration of the interior. Father Holweck had made the acquaintance of a German artist in this field, Mr. Fridolin Fuchs, who had come to the United States and then because of World War I breaking out had not been able to return to Germany. He began and finished his work of frescoeing the church interior in 1916, a work that was done in the best traditions of gothic architecture. The two large paintings in the transept of the church were original drawings of a Benedictine Monk, Reverend P. Placidus Oechsle, O.S.B., of the Subiaco Abbey, Arkansas. The cost of the painting of the church, including scaffolding, amounted to $8,800.00. It is interesting to note that a committee of 100 members of the Young Ladies Sodality took over the task of raising funds for this project. They visited each family once a month for a year, seeking donations, and by the first six months had collected almost $6,000.00.

The Golden Jubilee of the founding of the parish was celebrated on May 20, 1917. From a humble beginning the parish had grown into one of the largest parishes of the city within the span of fifty years.

His Excellency, The Most Reverend John J. Glennon, marked the Jubilee by celebrating a Pontifical High Mass. The occasion, however, participated in by many parishioners and many visiting priests was marred by the thought that many of the young men of the parish were overseas fighting ill World War I.

The last ten years of Father Holweck's life saw the building of a new convent for the teaching sisters of our school and also the establishment of a tuition-free school for the children of the parish. Many well deserved honors came to this remarkable priest during his closing years. In 1923 he was made a Domestic Prelate with the title of Right Reverend Monsignor. His election to the Doctorate of Divinity by the University of Freiburg, and the nomination of himself as Vicar General of the Archdiocese of St. Louis were announced in 1926.


Many images and statues of saints and angels adorn the interior of St. Francis de Sales church. They inspire us to love God and our fellow man. They encourage us to persevere. They remind us we are but pilgrims reaching for perfection. The saint in this week's mystery photo has the crucifix close to his heart. Where can this image be found in the Oratory? Please enter your answer in the combox of the Tradition For Tomorrow blog.

May God bless us all and may He protect us in this blessed season of Lent!

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

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