Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Newsletter from the Oratory


2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
June 20, 2012


In union with all United States bishops, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson has called upon all the faithful in St. Louis to participate fully in the Fortnight for Freedom campaign, from Thursday June 21 to July 4, Independence Day. Please read Archbishop Carlson’s speech given on March 27, 2012, in Jefferson City, MO. During this two-week period of fervent prayers for our country, the Oratory will pray to the Immaculate Conception, Patroness of the United States and of the Institute, after every Holy Mass, in the intention of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on religious liberty. 
Prayer to Mary Immaculate, written by Pope St. Pius X:

O Most Holy Virgin who wast pleasing to God and didst become His Mother. Immaculate in thy body, in thy soul, in thy faith and in thy love, we beseech thee to look graciously upon the wretched who implore thy powerful protection. The wicked serpent, against whom the primal curse was hurled, continues nonetheless to wage war and to lay snares for the unhappy children of Eve. Ah, do thou, our blessed Mother, our Queen and Advocate, who from the first instant of thy conception didst crush the head of our enemy, receive the prayers that we unite single-heartedly to thine and conjure thee to offer at the throne of God, that we may never fall into the snares that are laid for us, in such wise that we may all come to the haven of salvation; and in the midst of so many dangers may holy Church and the fellowship of Christians everywhere sing once more the hymn of deliverance, victory and peace. Amen. 

Msgr. Wach with priests of the US Province 2012
For the second year in a row, we at St. Francis de Sales were privileged to host the annual canons’ retreat for the American Province, preached by our Founder and Prior General, Monsignor Gilles Wach from May 21-25. First, we wish to extend our grateful thanks to Monsignor the Prior General, for his tireless travels and fatherly care to all Institute canons, not only in the US, but previous to this visit, in Germany and France as well. In addition, it was a special treat to have our former Vicars, Canon Huberfeld and Canon Apple, serving as deacon and subdeacon at the Solemn High Mass celebrated by Monsignor Wach. Making an annual retreat is crucial to a priest’s interior life, and the opportunity to gather here as a community was deeply appreciated by every priest who came.
Secondly, we wish to thank the entire community at St. Francis de Sales for the gracious hospitality and warm welcome which you gave to the canons of the Institute. Every detail of this canons’ retreat, especially the newly refurbished chapel in the convent building, and the festive reception on May 24, bore the mark of love for Holy Church from a vibrant and faithful community. Thank you! We ask for your continued prayers for the Institute and its mission, and reciprocate gratefully with assurance of our fervent prayers.


Corpus Christi Procession 2012
In his 1855 work, The Blessed Sacrament, or the Ways and Works of God, Fr. Frederick Faber wrote the following about the Church’s Eucharistic Processions on Corpus Christi: “O the joy of the immense glory the Church is sending up to God this hour: … How many glorious processions, with the sun upon their banners, are now winding their way round the squares of mighty cities, through the flower-strewn streets of Christian villages, through the antique cloisters of the glorious cathedral, or through the grounds of the devout seminary, where the various colours of the faces and the different languages of the people are only so many fresh tokens of the unity of that faith, which they are all exultingly professing in the single voice of the magnificent ritual of Rome!”
From the city of St. Louis in Midwest America, St. Francis de Sales Oratory joined the single voice of the universal Church in her adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and salutation of the King of kings, on Corpus Christi, 2012.
“Sin seems forgotten; tears even are of rapture rather than of penance. It is like the soul's first day in heaven; or as if earth itself were passing into heaven, as it well might do, for sheer joy of the Blessed Sacrament.”


Fr. Jean - Pierre Herman
The Oratory in St. Louis as well as in Kansas City have been very blessed to have the presence of Father Jean-Pierre Herman, who celebrates his 25th Ordination Anniversary on July 1. Fr. Herman was received as an affiliate priest of the Institute last year at the Canons’ Retreat here in St. Louis, and has been gratefully received by the community ever since!

Please join us on Sunday, July 1st, Feast of the Precious Blood, when Fr. Herman will celebrate the 10am High Mass on the occasion of his 25th Anniversary to the Priesthood. The choir will be performing the Vierne Mass, Messe Solonnelle, on this joyous occasion. Please join us after the 10am High Mass for a reception in the church basement in honor of Fr. Herman.


2011 Priestly Ordinations
Every year at this time the entire Institute looks forward to the summit of the Seminary’s academic year: the Ordinations. This year on July 5, five men will be ordained to the holy priesthood by His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke. Five other seminarians will be ordained as deacons, and ten will receive the subdiaconate. Of these ten soon-to-be subdeacons, five are from the United States. All together, sixteen Americans will receive the clerical tonsure and the various Minor Orders of porter, lector, exorcist, and acolyte. Thanks to the Pre-Seminary Program and the Seminary Society at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, many American vocations will be familiar to the Oratory community already.

During the month of the Sacred Heart, let us keep in mind the words of St. John Vianney, “The Priesthood is the love of the Heart of Jesus!” and offer our prayers and support to these seminarians in view of the upcoming Ordinations.

“Tradition For Tomorrow” has been the motto of our restoration effort here at St. Francis de Sales Oratory. When the immigrant congregation decided to build this new edifice to replace the old St. Francis de Sales church destroyed by the tornado of 1896, they chose the best from their cultural tradition to be the foundation for the best future they hoped for in this new country. In 2012, St. Francis de Sales Oratory is not a mere symbol, but is part of a living tradition, particularly the sacred liturgy, which serves the present and will continue to provide a firm foundation for the future. We who pass through here have an obligation to maintain this magnificent church and the hope which it embodies.

Please take a look at our updated restoration website which bears this motto,, and our new brochure. Both have been updated and expanded so as to reflect the tremendous amount of work the present congregation – though still far smaller than in former times – has done with so much love and dedication, and to invite others to join us in this important work.


Choir Camp 2011
From August 5-10, the Choir Camp rolls into its third year with three seasoned instructors and two new ones, and a full program highlighting faculty recitals, string chamber ensemble, private lessons, and organized recreational activities. All youths age 9-16 are welcome! Registration has begun, and may be made online, or at the Oratory office.

Thanks to the sacred music program at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, vocal technique, musicianship, composition, music theory, Latin, and Gregorian Chant are only some of the ingredients which are poured into the hearts and minds of our youths, enabling them to appreciate and contribute to the repository of the Church’s sacred music. Please give this important endeavor at the Oratory your prayers and support!

Mr. Nick Botkins (3rd year Faculty)
Vocal Technique, String Ensemble, Choral Ensemble
Highlights of Vocal Technique: Vocal Production, Intro to IPA, Breathing Technique

Mr. Kevin Allen (returning for his second year), Chicago based Composer.
Composition and Music Theory
Highlights of the course: Introduction to form, use of Church Modes in New Compositions. Basic Musicianship in Rhythm and Solfeggio

Ms. Yolanda Borghoff (First Year Faculty), Chicago based Organist and Harpsichordists.
Music Theory and Staff Accompanist
Highlights of the course: Basic Musicianship in sight-singing, Melodic Dictation, Music reading

Mr. Joseph Reidy (returning for his 3rd Year)
Highlights of the Latin Course: Vocabulary and grammar

Abbé Matthew Walter (First Year Faculty) ICRSS Seminary
Gregorian Chant
Highlights: Introduction to Gregorian Modes and Rhythm, Solfeggio in Gregorian Notation, Repertoire (Mass IV)


Summer at the Oratory 2011
Our annual “Summer at the Oratory” event, celebrating the patron saint of our city, King Saint Louis IX, will take place on Sunday, August 19. As in previous years, the festivities will include terrific barbeque, beer, games, live jazz music, bazaars, fun and fellowship for the entire family. Many wonderful raffle prizes – vacation package, gift certificates, Kindle, to name a few – have already been assembled for this summer’s event. Please mark your calendars, and spread the word among family and friends!

Taking advantage of the former high school gymnasium on campus, St. Francis de Sales Oratory hosted its first ever 3-On-3 Men’s Basketball Tournament in the middle of May. Over 25 men from the Oratory signed up to play in this fun and competitive event. Every team felt it had a chance to win, but early in the afternoon the better teams distinguished themselves from the rest of the field.

At the end of the day there were only two teams left standing: Flyin’ Buds and Wichtory. More than fifty of the faithful stayed around to watch the exciting finale as Flyin’ Buds captured the title as Tournament Champs. The active day was a great success for the Oratory community and all the participants look forward to playing in next year’s tournament. Salutations to all the teams: Flyin’ Buds, Scrubs, Wichtory, Roman Missiles, Humble Pie, Underdawgs, and Prohibition!

Yours faithfully, in Christ the King,

Canon Matthew Talarico
Substitute Provincial, US

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