Saturday, December 28, 2013

Coventry Carol

A MOTHER'S LAMENT over the slaughter of the innocent children by King Herod, for the feast day of the Holy Innocents:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

Photos of Saint John the Evangelist Church, in Paducah, Kentucky

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Saint John the Evangelist Church, located in the historic town of Paducah, in the western part of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It is about 180 highway miles southeast of downtown Saint Louis, and is a part of the Diocese of Owensboro.

The town of Paducah was named by famed explorer William Clark after the Comanche tribe, then known by some other tribes as the Padoucas.

I visited Paducah a while back because I was accompanying a lady friend who wanted see the National Quilt Museum, located in that town near the riverfront. I will give a few thoughts on the museum on another posting.

We arrived at sunset, and though we had a long drive back to Saint Louis, I wanted to take some good photos of this church:

Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - exterior at dusk

The church is Gothic revival, in the manner of the late Gothic style.

Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - cornerstone

St. John Church
1932

Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - front door

The Dioecesis Owensburgensis was erected in 1937 from land taken from the Diocese of Louisville, and its current ordinary is Bishop William Francis Medley. This diocese, along with the dioceses of Covington, Knoxville, Lexington, Memphis, and Nashville, is suffragan to the Archdiocese of Louisville — originally the Diocese of Bardstown. This is the Church in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - nave

The nave of the church. Musicians are seen here preparing for Holy Mass.

From a history found on the church’s website:
St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church was founded in 1839 by a group of German Catholic immigrants who had settled in Western Kentucky several years earlier. These first parishioners were visited by Fr. Elisha J. Durbin who had been assigned the missions throughout the territory that today make up the diocese of Owensboro. Fr. Durbin’s headquarters was at Sacred Heart Church, in Union County, Kentucky and his missionary duties took him to several surrounding states. Accordingly, the privilege of Mass and the Sacraments was not available to the people of the St. John community on a regular basis for some time.

The first church, a log building, was raised by the parishioners under the direction of Fr. Durbin around 1849. The log church burned and was replaced by a larger frame structure in 1869 under the direction of Fr. Peter Haeseley. The frame church was used for sixty-three years, until the construction of the present church building in 1932-1933 during the pastorate of Fr. Paul Barrett. All three churches were located on the same site.

Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - tabernacle

The tabernacle and crucifix.

The history continues:
Few changes occurred to our church since 1933. The main update occurred in the 1960’s following Vatican II which included the removal of the tall canopy and the high altar.

In 2003, with guidance from Fr. Bruce McCarty, the parish undertook a general renovation project consisting of substantial exterior and interior repairs and a general updating of building systems. It also included the construction of an addition to include handicapped accessible restrooms, a reconciliation room and sacristy. A concerted effort was made to maintain and enhance the architectural and artistic integrity of the structure while bringing it in line with the liturgical needs of a 21st century parish.

On February 19, 2006, a Mass of Thanksgiving and Dedication of Altar was held with The Most Reverend John J. McRaith, Bishop of Owensboro, as celebrant.

Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - Stations of the Cross

Two of the Stations of the Cross — Jesus Falls the Third Time on the right, and Jesus is Stripped of His Garments on the left.

Ornamentation in architecture has been largely a lost art since the popularization of the ideas found in Adolf Loos’ lecture of 1910, Ornament and Crime, where he claimed that the ornamentation of architecture was like the tattoos on degenerates and criminals of his age. But there is little that we need to take from the polemic of that “grumpy Marxist” other than his observation that ornament can make a building obsolete faster, as it goes out of style. True — what’s “up-to-date” is soon out-of-date — but if good taste and classic styling is used, then we needn’t worry about something going out of style any time soon — for it already is of the ages. This is the aim of the new American school of ecclesiastical architecture, coming out of the University of Notre Dame.

I particularly like the simple yet symbolic ornament depicted in this photo, behind the figures of Christ. We see a serpent and a sword, symbolizing the two failed martyrdoms of Saint John, who unlike all of the other Apostles lived to a ripe old age. We also see St. John’s symbol of the eagle, the Greek monogram for Christ, ιηϲ, and some vegetative ornament.

Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - confessional

Confessional.

Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - window

The blue light of dusk, mixed with the fluorescent lighting inside of the church confused my camera, as we can see in the photo of the nave above. Here I color-corrected this window to make it appear more natural. The windows here are largely simple — here we see some floral ornament along with a harp — a symbol of King David the Psalmist.

Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - window detail

Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - statue of Saint John

A sculpture of Saint John in the narthex. We see him here with a quill and book, symbolizing the Gospel he wrote; said Gospel is so full of soaring theology that the Fathers of the Church assigned him the symbol of the eagle. Artistic depictions of several of the Saints of the ancient church have distinctive facial features, which can be traced back to the earliest of sources. John is here depicted as a beardless youth.

Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - tombstone

Grief.

Two cemeteries are found outside of the church — this is from the older one, located across the street from the church.

Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - memento mori

ALL YE GOOD PEOPLE
AS YOU PASS BY,
AS YOU ARE NOW
SO WAS I,
AS I AM NOW
SO WILL YOU BE,
REMEMBER MAN
AND PRAY FOR ME.

R.I.P.

Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - school

The school.

Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - old frame building

The old frame church?

Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, in Paducah, Kentucky, USA - sign

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Allegory of Love

FIFTY YEARS AGO TODAY, there passed one of the greats of the 20th century. But Clive Staples Lewis’ death went largely unnoticed, lost in the traumatic events of the day. Lewis was an apologist, novelist, popular writer, and essayist, beloved of Christians of all churches, denominations, and sects; but he was also an accomplished scholar.

Love and marriage are horribly confused, conflated, and misunderstood in our current age, which does not understand the forms and purposes of these things — or rather, our age doesn’t seem to understand the form and purpose of anything. It was on the topics of love and marriage that C.S. Lewis gained his academic fame, in his book The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition, dating from 1936. It was this book that showed that the Medieval literature on love was worthy of serious academic study: and it remains the starting point of much of contemporary scholarship.

Marriage is a human institution, closely tied to the law and specific human circumstances — but it is rooted in human nature — while love is universal. How these two things interrelate is explored in great and even shocking depth in the Medieval literature.  It is said that one flaw in Lewis’ book is that he treats love as a literary phenomenon, and not as something real, which he later corrected in his more popular book The Four Loves. Another flaw in his book is his incorporation of modern literary theories, whose frameworks don’t quite fit the data, and today we likewise have ideological — Marxist, Darwinist, Postmodernist, or Calvinist — readings of the literature which might explain one or another narrow aspect of love fairly well, while failing to consider the entire whole in a satisfactory manner.

Studying Medieval love literature can be hazardous: its allegorical method can be overlooked, its explicit depictions may be shocking, its unromantic portrayals of romantic love can be disturbing, and its essential Catholicity is rejected by contemporary conservatives and liberals alike. But Lewis was onto something: understanding love in all of its aspects is of great value to us today, and in every age.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Newsletter from the Oratory

 

SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES ORATORY
EMAIL NEWSLETTER

2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
www.institute-christ-king.org
www.TraditionForTomorrow.com
314-771-3100
November 21, 2013



NOVENA TO THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION – GAUDETE BENEFIT GALA
LETTER FROM THE VICAR GENERAL – STORM DAMAGE
IMPROVED SECURITY LIGHTING



Dear faithful and friends of Saint Francis de Sales Oratory



Novena in Preparation of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception


BLESSED POPE PIUS IX (1792 – 1878)
PRONOUNCED THE DOGMA OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION


The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. Every year the Prior General and the Superiors of the Institute’s Apostolates renew this act of dedication. As the Immaculate Conception is also the Patroness of the United States of America, it is most appropriate to prepare for her feast of the Immaculate Conception through a Novena. This is even more necessary and urgent as our country is in desperate need of her help and intercession.

The Immaculate Conception of our Lady is the manifestation of God’s will to reestablish His order and to redeem us from sin, death and the devil through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. On each day of this Novena a Low Mass with organ will be celebrated which will be followed by the special Novena Prayer.



This year’s guest homilists include Rev. Father Randy Soto, Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, Rev. Father Brian Harrison, OS, Chaplain at St. Mary of Victories Chapel, Rev. Father Thomas G. Keller, Pastor at St. Angela Merici Parish, Rev. Father Eric Kunz, Associate Pastor at St. Angela Merici Parish, Rev. Father Anthony Ochoa, Pastor at St. Cecilia Parish, Rev. Canons Avis and Ueda. Among the homilies to prepare us for the feast, we will hear from Father Kunz “Our Lady as Mediatrix of All Grace,” and from Father Harrison, “Mary Immaculate and the Church's Missionary Mandate.”

Please plan to join us for the entire novena if you can.


Novena-Schedule:
 
Saturday, November 30 at 8:00AMSunday, December 1 at 10:00AM
Monday, December 2 at 6:30PM Tuesday, December 3 at 6:30PM
Wednesday, December 4 at 6:30PMThursday, December 5 at 6:30PM
Friday, December 6 at 6:30PM Saturday, December 7 at 8:00AM
Sunday, December 8 at 10:00AM



Gaudete Benefit Gala



"The singing of the Church comes ultimately out of love. It is the utter depth of love that produces the singing. ‘Cantare amantis est’, says St. Augustine, singing belongs to one who loves.” Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote this in The Spirit of the Liturgy. At the Gaudete Gala, we at St. Francis de Sales Oratory have an opportunity – for the third year in a row – to share through music the joy and love in our hearts with many friends and family.



Gaudete Gala tickets went on sale last Sunday, and we urge everyone to invite your families, neighbors, co-workers, and friends to come this year. A fine evening with uplifting music, an excellent menu and other festivities awaits us in an elegant setting at the Millennium Hotel; it will be a perfect showcase for the extraordinary talents of our choirs. Call the Oratory office to buy your tickets to avoid last-minute disappointments.



Letter from the Vicar General


Msgr. R. Michael Schmitz


Dear faithful & friends of the Institute,
On behalf of our Prior General I offer you my deepest gratitude for the very large number of generous donations received in the semi-annual collection on the Feast of Christ the King for our international seminary of St. Philip Neri in Gricigliano, Italy. The total sum raised in the various apostolates of the Institute across the United States comes to $55,630. These funds are very helpful for the upkeep and restoration of the seminary buildings and facilities, which can now accommodate 71 seminarians. May Christ the King reward you abundantly for your sacrifice. The priestly fruits will not be long in coming.
Last July, 10 men were ordained as deacons and 11 as subdeacons. A large group of Americans are among these seminarians who will soon be ordained to the holy priesthood. Please remember them in your prayers as they near the end of their seminary formation.
Likewise, 16 men entered Gricigliano in September, including six who had successfully completed our pre-seminary program in the United States. Thank you very much for answering our appeal for support in the formation of so many good vocations in the service of the Church.
 
All of our 85 total seminarians, including the 28 men from North America, pray daily for you and your intentions. Holy Mass is frequently offered in our seminary chapel for our benefactors both living and deceased.
Assuring you of my profound appreciation for your charity, I remain,
Yours very devotedly in Christ the King,
Monsignor R. Michael Schmitz
Vicar General in the Institute of Christ the King
Provincial Superior for the United States


Storm Damage

 

On Sunday, November 17, a storm came through the St. Louis area and brought damaging winds. The Oratory campus experienced many slate roof tiles falling resulting in broken windows. Several of our building roofs have missing and loose tiles and raised copper ridge caps. Damage to the interior of the sanctuary stained glass windows also resulted. An insurance claim has been filed and estimates have been requested from the steeple jack company that works on the high church steeple. The total damage from the storm is still being investigated.



Improved Security Lighting



We were able to improve the night time security lighting at a couple campus locations due to the generosity of donated lighting fixtures from Butler Supply and the volunteer service of our two electricians, Gary Wnuk and Chris Petersen. We had to rent a lift to access the locations at the lower parking lot and on the rear of the 1888 building. Adequate lighting is a good deterrent to safety and security problems. We are very grateful to Butler Supply and our dedicated electricians for their generosity!


With the assurance of my prayers for you and your families and in deep gratitude for all your support and love for the work of the Institute's Oratory in St. Louis, I remain, yours faithfully,



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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

“Christmas in St. Louis”

CHRISTMAS IN ST. LOUIS is a new book from Reedy Press, with text by Dr. John Oldani, and photography by me!



I can autograph and send you a copy: click the Paypal button below.


For alternative payment options, please send me a message or call — my contact information is off the right on the sidebar.

Both Dr. Oldani and myself are available for speaking engagements and interviews. Keep up-to-date by liking the book’s page on Facebook.




NEW BOOK SHOWCASES THE SPLENDOR OF ST LOUIS
CHRISTMASES PAST AND PRESENT


ST. LOUIS, MO — Christmas in St. Louis is a special time in a special place. As you’ll discover in the pages of this festive pictorial book, the Gateway City goes all-out to celebrate the season. Folklorist and professor Dr. John L. Oldani and photographer Mark S. Abeln have created a living album of Christmas wonders in Christmas in St. Louis: Traditions, Displays, and Celebrations (Reedy Press). Learn how traditions developed and shifted throughout the decades, from the iconic and nostalgic downtown department store windows to the millions of light displays all over the metro region. Along the way, the book captures the international flavor of Christmas in Main Street St. Charles, the remarkable residential displays of St. Louis Hills, the one million lights of Tilles Park, the dazzling, mile-and-a-half drive at Our Lady of the Snows, and myriad other traditions that have come to define a St. Louis Christmas.

Dr. John L. Oldani, a St. Louis native, has been a professor of American Studies and folklore at American and international universities. He has authored five books on American folklore. Mark S. Abeln has been taking photography seriously since 2005. His work has appeared in numerous books on St. Louis.

Christmas in St. Louis is available wherever books are sold.

Christmas in St. Louis: Traditions, Displays, and Celebrations
by John Oldani, photography by Mark S. Abeln, ISBN: 9781935806530, hardcover 11 x 8.5, 144 pages, $32.95

Contact: Don Korte (314) 644-3400, dkorte@reedypress.com

Friday, November 08, 2013

Photos of Saint Anthony Church, in Glennon, Missouri

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Saint Anthony Church, located in the southeastern Missouri town of Glennon, in Bollinger County. The church is a mission of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, and is 140 highway miles south of downtown Saint Louis.

Saint Anthony Roman Catholic Church, in Glennon, Missouri, USA - exterior

The current church, dating from 1969, is low and built of brick. Perhaps we can discover a possible reason for this design in a photo below…

Saint Anthony Roman Catholic Church, in Glennon, Missouri, USA - statue of Saint Anthony

Statue of Saint Anthony of Padua (15 August 1195 – 13 June 1231), a Portuguese priest of the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscans), depicted here holding the Christ Child in one hand and bread in the other. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:
“He possessed in an eminent degree all the good qualities that characterize an eloquent preacher: a loud and clear voice, a winning countenance, wonderful memory, and profound learning, to which were added from on high the spirit of prophecy and an extraordinary gift of miracles. With the zeal of an apostle he undertook to reform the morality of his time by combating in an especial manner the vices of luxury, avarice, and tyranny. The fruit of his sermons was, therefore, as admirable as his eloquence itself. No less fervent was he in the extinction of heresy, notably that of the Cathares and the Patarines, which infested the centre and north of Italy…

“The zeal with which St. Anthony fought against heresy, and the great and numerous conversions he made rendered him worthy of the glorious title of Malleus hereticorum (Hammer of the Heretics). Though his preaching was always seasoned with the salt of discretion, nevertheless he spoke openly to all, to the rich as to the poor, to the people as well as those in authority. In a synod at Bourges in the presence of many prelates, he reproved the Archbishop, Simon de Sully, so severely, that he induced him to sincere amendment.”
Anthony is the second-fastest canonized Saint in history and is a Doctor of the Church.

Despite being Catholic for over 10 years, I still have very much of a Protestant sensibility. Saint Anthony is commonly prayed to for finding lost items; while I do not reject the practice of asking for the intercession of Saints in all good things (see Rev. 5:8), I still have a lingering fear that this particular lowly task might be beneath such a great Saint known for his preaching. Now, I had spent days searching for a tax receipt, and in my great frustration, I finally overcame my prejudice, and offered up to Saint Anthony a quick prayer for intercession. Within seconds, I found the receipt in the first place I looked. Deo gratias.

Saint Anthony Roman Catholic Church, in Glennon, Missouri, USA - plaque

This plaque is found outside of the front door:
ST. ANTHONY’S CHURCH
WAS BUILT IN 1905
DESTROYED BY TORNADO IN 1917

ST. ANTHONY’S CHURCH
WAS BUILT IN 1917
DESTROYED BY FIRE IN 1969

ST. ANTHONY’S CHURCH
WAS BUILT IN 1969
AND DEDICATED AUG. 1970
A history of the devastating 1917 tornado can be found here.

Saint Anthony Roman Catholic Church, in Glennon, Missouri, USA - painting of old church

A painting of the first church, found in the narthex. This design is typical of many country churches in this region.

The community of Glennon was named after Archbishop John Joseph Glennon, and was originally in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. Another Catholic settlement in Missouri is named Glennonville, after the same Cardinal.

If all the polar icecaps in the world were to melt, Glennon would be oceanfront property. It sits on the very edge of the Ozark plateau, right at the head of the vast, low-lying Mississippi Alluvial Plain, which extends hundreds of miles southward to the Gulf of Mexico.

Saint Anthony Roman Catholic Church, in Glennon, Missouri, USA - nave

This is a small church, typical of its time; I like the decoration.

Normally, I take photos of the nave along the central aisle, but the lighting fixtures above the aisle got in the way of the Crucifix, leading me to take a photo at an angle. Perhaps I neglected to photograph Saint Joseph here?

These photos are best viewed at larger resolution, which you can see by clicking on the photos.

Saint Anthony Roman Catholic Church, in Glennon, Missouri, USA - altar

The Crucifix, Tabernacle, and Altar, the cause of our salvation.

Saint Anthony Roman Catholic Church, in Glennon, Missouri, USA - Mary

Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Aren’t the flowers good?

Saint Anthony Roman Catholic Church, in Glennon, Missouri, USA - Baptismal font and statue of Saint Anthony

Baptismal font and another statue of Saint Anthony with the Christ Child.

Saint Anthony Roman Catholic Church, in Glennon, Missouri, USA - priests banner

A list of the priests of the parish hangs near the entrance. Many German and Irish surnames here.

Saint Anthony Roman Catholic Church, in Glennon, Missouri, USA - bells

A view of the church’s bell tower.

Saint Anthony Roman Catholic Church, in Glennon, Missouri, USA - bells monument
THE BELLS OF
ST. ANTHONY
ERECTED APR. 16, 1988
Saint Anthony Roman Catholic Church, in Glennon, Missouri, USA - flowering bush outside of parish hall

Tall blooming bushes by the church hall. I took these photos in August.

Saint Anthony Roman Catholic Church, in Glennon, Missouri, USA - sign

Click here for a map of the church.

Dawn Eden to Speak at SLU High

DAWN EDEN, known for her books The Thrill of the Chaste and My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints, will be speaking at the St. Louis University High School, on Sunday, November 10th, 2013 at 1:30 p.m.

Her talk will be followed by Holy Mass offered by Fr. Augustine Wetta, O.S.B.



This talk is intended for parents.

A recent talk by Miss Eden, “What the Saints Can Teach Us About Purification of Memory”, can be found here.

Address:
4970 Oakland Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63110

Friday, November 01, 2013

Newsletter from the Oratory


SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES ORATORY
EMAIL NEWSLETTER

2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
www.institute-christ-king.org
www.TraditionForTomorrow.com
314-771-3100
October 31, 2013



SEMINARY SOCIETY BREAKFAST – GAUDETE BENEFIT GALA
ALL SAINT’S DAY – ALL SOULS' DAY
NOVENA TO THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME



Dear Faithful and Friends of Saint Francis de Sales Oratory,


SEMINARY SOCIETY BREAKFAST
The Seminary Society Breakfast will take place after all Masses this Sunday. It has become an annual festivity you don’t want to miss. Come and see!



Canon Mora, rector of the seminary, with our seminarians

In addition to the usual hearty breakfast and 50/50 raffle with wonderful prizes, you and your family will be treated to a joyful video from Gricigliano – produced especially for us. Familiar faces and a familiar narrator will guide us on a tour of Seminary life. We can safely say that the Oratory has the privilege to see the most current activities at the Seminary – thanks to our special connection to many seminarians who have been candidates here. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Mrs. Hayworth for her organization of this event, everyone will again have the opportunity to be paired with a seminarian in prayer.



The Seminary in Gricigliano now can accommodate 71 seminarians, thanks to the recent restoration work made possible by donations from the faithful. This, and the fact that one third of the 85 seminarians are from North America are evidence of your generous support - by prayer and by sacrifice. You are in the prayers of the seminarians every day.

Please keep them in yours!


3RD ANNUAL GAUDETE BENEFIT GALA
Saturday, December 14th, 6:00pm - Millenium Hotel - Grand Ballroom
Tickets on sale November 17 at (314) 771-3100 or email

A highlight of the Advent Season, the Gaudete Benefit Gala has become an annual tradition of fine food and music that you won’t want to miss! The evening features an elegant dinner as well as live performances of the Oratory’s various music ensembles under the direction of Mr. Nick Botkins, the Oratory’s Director of Sacred Music.

Performance highlights of the 2013 Gaudete Benefit Gala include movements of Vivaldi’s popular Gloria, as well as Gustav Holst’s charming collection of traditional carols – Christmas Day.

The Gaudete Benefit Gala supports the Oratory’s continually growing Sacred Music Program. This year’s venue is the magnificent Grand Ballroom at the 
Millennium Hotel in downtown Saint Louis. Mark your calendar and plan to buy your tickets early, they won’t last long!

Gala Tickets are available for purchase by calling the Oratory office (314) 771-3100, or after the Sunday Masses starting November 17th through December 8th$45 per ticket or $75 (Orchestra Seating).

ALL SOULS’ DAY – NOVEMBER 2 AND A WORD REGARDING PURGATORY


Rarely does the Church allow a priest to celebrate three Masses in one day, but All Souls' is one of those occasions. This special permission clearly underscores the importance of praying for the dead, and the Church’s care for the faithful departed. After all, wouldn’t you – and everyone living today – wish that many, in fact the whole Church, pray for your salvation?

Our age is marked by an exceptional self-centeredness of man – above all because we don’t believe enough in the transcendent dimension of our existence as man: in the immortal nature of our souls and in the eternal life beyond the here and now. For the Holy Souls who are destined to see the face of God, Purgatory is a reality – “for nothing unclean shall enter heaven” (Rev. 21:27).

While faith teaches us the existence of Purgatory, it also teaches that we are able to help them, thus it is a matter of charity and hope that we offer Masses on this day, and as many prayers as we are able for the Poor Souls.
“Souls who are in Purgatory are there because of their sins, sins that they now supremely detest. But as for abjection and pain at being detained in that place and at being temporarily deprived of enjoying the blessed love that is paradise, they suffer it lovingly and devoutly according to the canticle of divine justice, "Righteous and true are Your ways..." [Rv 15:3] Therefore, let us patiently wait for our spiritual growth, and instead of disturbing ourselves because we have made so little progress in the past, let us diligently strive to do better in the future.” (T.L.G. Book 9, Ch. 7; O. V, p. 131) – St. Francis de Sales
Upcoming Mass Schedule for All Saints, All Souls and Sunday, November 3:
Friday, November 1 - Feast of All Saints
8am Low Mass; 12:15pm Low Mass; 6:30pm Solemn High Mass
Saturday, November 2 - All Souls’ Day
8am Low Mass; 10am Solemn Requiem with Absolution
Sunday, November 3 – 24th Sunday after Pentecost
8am Low Mass; 10am Solemn High Mass





NOVENA TO THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Starting on November 30 we will pray a Novena in preparation of the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Daily Masses with sermons pronounced by different guest homilists and canons of the Institute, novena prayers and processions will help us to approach this important feast of Church’s calendar. Among this year’s guest homilists are: Rev. Father Randy Soto, Associate Professor of Sacred Scripture at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, Rev. Father Brian Harrison, OS, Chaplain at St. Mary of Victories Chapel, Rev. Canons Avis and Ueda.

Each year, on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, on December 8, our Prior General and founder, Msgr. Gilles Wach, pronounces the following text and renews the consecration of the Institute to the Immaculate Conception:
In the presence of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and with heaven and earth as our witness, we prostrate ourselves at thy feet, O Mary, Our Lady.

We acknowledge Thee as our Mother, as the Immaculate Conception, living tabernacle of the Divinity, as Queen of angels and of men, as Mother of the Church and of the Catholic priesthood, and as refuge of the afflicted. That is why, small and weak that we are, we wish to consecrate to Thee our Institute, our families, our persons, our works, our future, all that pertains to us and is in us, and which God, in His immeasurable goodness, has entrusted to us for our good use.

We also consecrate to Thee the value of our good actions, past, present, and future, leaving to Thee the entire and full right of disposing of us and all that belongs to us. Mary, be our Mother; sanctify us, purify us, correct us, guide us, pray for us and protect us.

Help us to perfectly fulfill the duties of our state of life. Extinguish in us all self-love, which prevents Thy Divine Son, King and Sovereign Priest, from reigning in and around us.

Cover abundantly with thy maternal protection all the parishes, chapels, schools, works and missions entrusted to the Institute, and mayest Thou forever impede the devil from reigning, in any manner, in this Institute which desires to be entirely Thine for the greater glory of God, the exaltation of our Mother the Holy Catholic Church, and for the conversion of sinners. Amen.



WELCOME THIS YEAR’S CANDIDATES AT SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES ORATORY
 
Since late August the Institute received three young men into its candidates program at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory. As in the other houses of pre-formation in the United States Mr. Nicholas Phillips, Mr. Aaron Pribil, and Mr. David Le are spending one year in St. Louis to be immersed in the spiritual life of the Institute-family, to learn French, the language primarily spoken at the seminary in Gricgliano, Latin as well as to study Gregorian Chant. Please pray for these young men and their prefect, Canon Raphael Ueda, Vicar at the Oratory.

Looking forward to seeing you all at the Seminary Society Breakfast this coming Sunday. Attention: There will be no excuse for not attending since you all will be able to sleep one hour longer than usual: Day Light Savings Time will end this weekend. Please make sure that you set back your clocks by one hour Saturday night before retiring.

With my sincere best wishes and the assurance of my prayers for all friends and faithful at the Oratory,

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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Piasa Bird

THIS TERRIFYING CREATURE is the Piasa Bird, painted on the river bluffs upstream from Alton, Illinois.

Piasa Bird, Alton, Illinois, USA

This is a loose, modern interpretation of original paintings mentioned by Fr. Jacques Marquette, S.J., who explored this area with Louis Joliet in 1673. From his journal:
“While Skirting some rocks, which by Their height and Length inspired awe, We saw upon one of them two painted monsters which at first made Us afraid, and upon Which the boldest savages dare not Long rest their eyes. They are as large As a calf; they have Horns on their heads Like those of deer, a horrible look, red eyes, a beard Like a tiger’s, a face somewhat like a man’s, a body Covered with scales, and so Long A tail that it winds all around the Body, passing above the head and going back between the legs, ending in a Fish’s tail. Green, red, and black are the three Colors composing the Picture. Moreover, these 2 monsters are so well painted that we cannot believe that any savage is their author; for good painters in france would find it difficult to paint so well, — and, besides, they are so high up on the rock that it is difficult to reach that place Conveniently to paint them.”
We are told that ‘piasa’ means man-eater. A legend of the Piasa bird was written by a classics professor from Alton, John Russell, in about 1836, which can be read in its entirety here:
“…Each morning and afternoon thereafter, the Piasa Bird came, shattering the peace of the village with its blood-chilling screams and the thunderous beat of its wings. More often than not, it returned to its lair with a victim.

“The Illini looked to their chief, Ouatoga, for a solution to this menace. Time and time again he had led them through the trials of famine, illness, and the threat of warlike tribes. But Ouatoga felt helpless before this danger and the years weighed heavily upon him. The beast seemed invulnerable. His body was covered with scales, like a coat-of-mail. The best efforts of Tera-hi-on-a-wa-ka, the arrow maker, and the tribe’s finest archers were to no avail.

“Then Ouatoga appealed to the Great Spirit. For nearly a full moon he prayed and fasted. Then in a dream he found the answer. The body of the Piasa Bird was not protected under the wings. After offering thanks to the Great Spirit, Ouatoga called the tribe together and devised a plan that could destroy the Piasa Bird…”

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Canoe Trip on the Mingo River

LAST SATURDAY, I went on a canoe trip at the Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, in the southeastern part of the state of Missouri, near the town of Puxico.

Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, in Puxico, Missouri, USA - canoers

Autumn is perhaps the prettiest time of year in this part of the world, narrowly beating out Spring due to typically dry weather. This was a cold day — not the best for canoeing, due to the risk of capsize — but a beautiful one. The lack of mosquitoes and deadly vipers during this time of year makes a fall visit even more appealing.

Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, in Puxico, Missouri, USA - fall colors

The Mingo River meanders through the Mingo swamp, which is a small remnant of a formerly much larger swamp that covered the lowlands near the Mississippi River, south of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Much of these lowlands were drained and logged a century or more ago, with the land now being used for crops. But flooding is always a concern here; nearly the entirety of nearby Mississippi County is sacrificed as a floodway when the waters get too high.

The land is flat and featureless, with only the nearby Crowley’s Ridge giving relief to the topography of the region. In the forest itself, it is quite easy to get lost, for all directions look the same, and the bends of waterways can trap the casual hiker.

Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, in Puxico, Missouri, USA - green carpet of duckweed

Duckweed, which is perhaps the smallest of all flowering plants, covers a stretch of the gently flowing river. The sound of the canoe pushing through the duckweed is not unlike the sound of a sled in snow.

Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, in Puxico, Missouri, USA - duckweed

A common tree in these swamps is the Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum). While a relative of the evergreens, this cypress loses its leaves in the winter. The leaves turn a dull reddish-orange color in the Fall, as seen in these photos.

Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, in Puxico, Missouri, USA - cypress trunk and duckweed

These cypresses have a distinctive wide base, as well as ‘knees’ that stick up out of the water around the base, as seen here.  Some individual trees here are older than a thousand years. Cypress wood is valued because it does not rot when wet; in Europe, cypress and cedar (also found here) were valued for the construction of churches, as we find in the stave churches of Scandinavia. The First Jewish Temple of Solomon was constructed of these woods, imported from Lebanon.

Architecturally speaking, this is a much-neglected wood. And as it happens, cypress swamps are the most productive of all forestlands. As land can be inexpensive here, it would seem to be reasonably easy to reestablish larger cypress forests.

Tupelo trees, which also grow here in the water, have smoother, somewhat rounded bases.

Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, in Puxico, Missouri, USA - trees and reflections, big X

These photos are best displayed on a dark background; click the photo to be taken to Flickr, where you can get a better view of them.

This is about the northernmost range of cypress, which is found throughout the Southeastern US. While it will grow farther north (many are planted in Forest Park, in Saint Louis), the tree does not reproduce well if it gets too cold.

Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, in Puxico, Missouri, USA - line of trees

Like the Nile delta in Egypt, the Mississippi River delta is vast, and relatively unknown to most Americans. Stretching for about 600 miles from southern Missouri, through Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, it ends in the swamplands of Louisiana at the Gulf of Mexico. While this region is heavily modified by humans, frequent flooding shows nature’s dominance.

The Mississippi River, which is placid and clear in its northernmost stretches, becomes deep, narrow, muddy, and swift, starting just north of Saint Louis at the river’s confluence with the Missouri River: this is also a dangerous stretch of river, where perhaps on average one steamboat wreck per mile can be uncovered, and many sunken modern barges can be see here in low water.

But after the confluence of the Ohio River — which forms the southern border of Illinois — the Mississippi becomes sluggish, laden with silt, and meandering, splitting off into innumerable islands, and bordered by vast swamps, even to this day. A major flood could cut off one part of a state and attach it to another, as we find in many places hereabouts, including one large part of Kentucky, located across the river from New Madrid, which is not connected to the rest of the state.

At about this point, Fr. Jacques Marquette, S.J., who explored this area for the King of France and the Church, in the year 1673, wrote:
“Here we Began to see Canes, or large reeds, which grow on the bank of the river; their color is a very pleasing green; all the nodes are marked by a Crown of Long, narrow, and pointed leaves. They are very high, and grow so thickly that The wild cattle have some difficulty in forcing their way through them."
Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, in Puxico, Missouri, USA - bald cypress

Missouri is typically considered to be a midwestern state in culture, and central Missouri’s dialect is the standard for national journalism in the USA. But the southeastern part of the state shows its historic southern roots as accents and other artifacts of culture change quickly the farther south you travel.

It is in this region that developed the distinctive American style of music known as the Blues, which greatly influenced popular styles of music worldwide. Here we find both fertile soil and great poverty; mixed with Calvinist religion, we then have a culture and its music which is haunted by the Devil, in every impenetrable swamp and at every crossroad. Singing the Blues, they say, gives you the blues.

Mingo National Wildlife Refuge, in Puxico, Missouri, USA - canoers -2

But this was a pleasant and beautiful day, helped by an expert guide and pleasant company.