Friday, August 24, 2012

Newsletter from the Oratory



2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
August 23, 2012


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

Summer at the Oratory 2012 held last Sunday was a tremendous success! After months of hard work by many members of the Oratory community, and with the generous contributions from many local businesses, this community-building and fundraising event enabled us to raise at least $9,500 for the restoration work of St. Francis de Sales! Deo gratias! King Saint Louis, patron of our beloved city, pray for us! Saint Francis de Sales, pray for us!
We are grateful to an Institute seminarian, Abbé Matthew Walter, assigned to St. Francis de Sales this summer, for this eye-witness account of the Summer at the Oratory event this year: 
We easily forget that the city of Saint Louis is named after a real Catholic Saint, the great 13th century King of France, Louis IX. To honor the feast-day of our beloved city’s patron, which falls on the 25th of August, Saint Francis de Sales Oratory celebrated its 5th Annual Summer at the Oratory this past Sunday (External Solemnity) in true Catholic style.

True Catholic joy, which comes ultimately from the divine gift of the Sacred Liturgy, brings us together as a family of grace and inspires us to share our happy moments with each other. Blessed by Divine Providence with beautiful weather, the day began with High Mass in honor of St. Louis, featuring the Messe Royale of Henri Dumont, sung by the men’s schola cantorum of the Oratory.

In his sermon Canon Matthew Talarico explained that one of the spiritual tools to practice the virtue of Christian perseverance is spiritual joy. To fight the inevitable discouragement of life, joy allows us to keep in mind that our true home is heaven, and in this spirit the festivities began immediately after Holy Mass. As the faithful filed into the court yard of the Oratory filled with booths of games and food, and dotted with pots of flowers donated by a local florist, they were surprised to hear the bells of the church peal once again after decades of silence.

After enjoying a lunch of barbeque graciously provided by the Knights of Columbus, those attending had their choice of activities; the silent auction, horseback rides, a country market, all while a live jazz band played. Of course a highlight for the children (not to mention the adults) was the dunking booth, featuring the clergy of the Oratory. As Abbé Alex Barga climbed up to get in, a long line of altars boys formed, ready to dunk their much appreciated sacristan. They certainly practiced perseverance in their attempts to get him wet!

As evening came, Summer at the Oratory closed with a prayer, as well as a little surprise for those who stayed until the end--an old fashioned fight-song written specially for the occasion. If the lyrics made everyone laugh, they nonetheless expressed a constant theme for those who attend Mass at St. Francis de Sales, whether for several years or simply some months-- the Oratory is our spiritual home, and a place that brings much joy to our hearts and lives.

We offer a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to our many volunteers and to all who so generously helped to give us this day of fun and encouragement. Thank you for making Saint Francis de Sales Oratory a spiritual home for so many, and may you always persevere on your road to heaven!
     --Abbé Matthew Walter, seminarian
For more photos please visit the TraditionForTomorrow Blog.

Saint Philip Neri, seminary chapel
From Monday, August 27, to Friday, August 31, the priests of the Institute will gather at the Mother-house in Gricigliano, Italy, for the annual general chapter meeting. Not only is this week of conferences and meetings with our Founder and Prior General, Monsignor Gilles Wach, an opportunity to discuss various affairs concerning the Institute's growing apostolic work, but it also provides an opportunity for the priests of the Institute, who work in twelve countries throughout the world, to be able to come together in a spirit of fraternal charity which fosters a strong unity of mind and purpose. During this time of prayer and retreat for the priests of the Institute, we ask for your generous prayers, especially asking Our Lady the Immaculate Conception for her maternal guidance and protection, for the entire Institute, for the superiors, and for safe travels of all canons.

In the absence of the Canons, we are very blessed that priest friends will offer the daily Masses during this week. Father Dave Ireland, an affiliate member of our Institute, will also be assisting over Labor Day weekend. Canon Talarico will return for the Sunday Masses on September 2.

Thank you for your prayers during this very important week for the Institute!

Canon Ueda celebrates Holy Mass

The third annual Institute Children’s Choir Camp took place from August 5-10 this year, once again in the beautiful rolling hills of northern Kentucky. We are deeply grateful to all the generous benefactors who contributed more than $4,000 to offset the outstanding balance not met by tuitions, so that the camp would be affordable for the choristers. As a result, thirty-six children from five states were able to participate in this unique opportunity to develop their music skills, deepen their faith, and gain an appreciation for the role of sacred music in the service of the liturgy – all in a wonderfully Catholic atmosphere of learning and friendship. We also like to thank Mr. Nick Botkins, music director at St. Francis de Sales, this year’s faculty members, Mr. Kevin Allen, Ms. Yolanda Borghoff, Mr. Joseph Reidy, Abbé Matthew Walter, and the chaperons and camp counselors who made this year’s camp a fruitful and memorable experience for all.

Presented here is an excerpt from the article “2012 Children’s Choir Camp” on the Institute’s website. We invite you to read the entire article and view the many photographs of this year’s camp.
In a world where beauty and genuine art are increasingly uncommon, the five-day Choir Camp offered a unique occasion for the children to develop their musical gifts for the glory of God and the restoration of authentic Catholic culture.
The camp culminating with a Missa Cantata on the final day, the children passed much of their time in practicing for the Mass, singing as well as preparing a small orchestra. Learning classical vocal technique throughout the week, the children were able to sing the little known Messe Brève of Léo Delibes, in addition to the Epistle Sonata No. 15 of Mozart. A highlight was the Sanctus and Benedictus of the Missa de Sanctae Ursulae for organ, strings and treble choir, premiered at the Mass and specifically written for this year's camp by Chicago composer Kevin Allen.

Because the camp was also aimed at the overall musicianship of the students, each day included classes in music theory, ear skills, composition, Latin and Gregorian chant. An intense musical environment, combined with enthusiasm and eagerness from the children, gave not only a splendid result artistically, but inspired these young Catholics with an ever greater love for the beauty of Sacred Music.
… The quality of the children's final performance left no doubt as to the hard work spent, and to reward their efforts the faculty performed a small operetta for the children on Thursday evening. … Laughing at the amusing antics of their teachers, the children learned that classical music can be fun and enjoyable. We often forget that a true Catholic culture entails not only the "serious" parts of our life, but also its lighter aspects. A life lived for God is full of joy, and even the humorous moments can and should be beautiful in their own way.
While there may be many music camps for children in the United States during the summer, this one is outstanding in its synthesis of discipline and lightheartedness, of excellence and recreation, of art and faith. The great Dom Mocquereau said of Gregorian chant, "For chant to be prayer it must first be art." This year's music camp witnesses to the beauty of art in the service of God, and the joy that comes naturally when undertaken with this timeless principle in mind.

photo: Rome of the West
Due to various factors, the bells of St. Francis de Sales church have been silent for a very long time. To modernize and repair these bells so that they will toll regularly again is one of the projects we have planned for the continued restoration of this magnificent church.

Thus, in the spirit of joyful celebration of the city’s patron, King Saint Louis, and in the spirit of a hopeful future, these bells were manually rung to commence the Summer at the Oratory event. Just as the festivities were about to begin, and much to the attendees’ delightful surprise, the melodious voice of bells filled the air of Fox Park neighborhood on this lovely Sunday morning.

Please view here. (Video courtesy Mrs. Unseth) 

Yours faithfully, in Christ the King,
Canon Matthew Talarico
Substitute Provincial, US

St. Francis de Sales Oratory

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