Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Newsletter from the Oratory


2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
March 20, 2013


Dear Faithful and Friends of Saint Francis de Sales Oratory,


In thankgiving for the election of His Holiness, Pope Francis, the clergy and faithful sang the Te Deum after Mass last Sunday.  The Te Deum is the great hymn of thanksgiving attributed to Saint Ambrose, a fourth century Doctor of the Church.  We offer our new Holy Father our prayers, as he begins his Petrine Ministry.  Viva il Papa!


*Confessions 30 minutes before all Masses and Devotions

"But our mother [Holy Mother Church] asks something more of us than compassion and tears; she would have us profit by the lessons we are to be taught by the Passion and Death of our Redeemer.  He Himself, when going up to Calvary, said to the holy women who had the courage to show their compassion even before His very executioners: 'Weep not over Me; but weep for yourselves and for your children.' It was not that He refused the tribute of their tears, for He was pleased with this proof of their affection; but it was desired, above all, to see them appreciate the importance of what they were witnessing, and learn from it how inexorable is God's justice against sin." --Dom Gueranger, Liturgical Year.
March 24th - Palm Sunday - 8am Low Mass; 9:30am Blessing of Palms & Procession followed by High Mass
March 28th - Holy Thursday – 5:30pm Confessions; 6:30pm High Mass with Procession to the Repository and Adoration until Midnight

March 29th - Good Friday – 8am Stations of the Cross and Confessions; 2pm Confessions; 3pm Liturgy of the Passion and Death of Our Lord

March 30th - Holy Saturday – 8pm Confessions; 9pm Easter Vigil followed by Blessing of the Easter food (Bread, Eggs)

March 31st – Easter Sunday – 8am Low Mass; 10am High Mass
"The Pasch of the Lord! Easter! Again Easter in honor of the Trinity! It is the feast of feasts, the solemnity of solemnities which is grander than all of the others, just as the sun over the stars." Saint Gregory of Nazianze 

“I will sing praise to Thee in the sight of the angels: I will worship towards Thy holy temple, and I will give glory to Thy name.” Psalm 137: 1-2
Since their creation from the loving hands of God, the angels have worshiped and adored Him. In the heavenly liturgy, they minister before Him and offer the prayers of Christ’s faithful before the throne of the divine majesty. “And the smoke of incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel.” (Apocalypse 8:4) Angels are purely spiritual beings, and therefore cannot be perceived by the senses. We know by faith that they are there adoring our Lord, but like many things that we cannot see, we easily forget this.

Therefore Holy Church, since time immemorial, has utilized the arts to make the invisible visible and to bring the divine realities closer to us. Often times we find in churches images of angels in adoration near the Blessed Sacrament altar. They are there to remind us of the presents of angels and our own duty to adore God.

Many years ago, a pair of adoring angel statues was given to Saint Francis de Sales parish. They were in need of repair and sent to a local company for refurbishing. However they were then forgotten, and the years passed by. Today, with the charitable help of generous benefactors, we are happy to announce the triumphant return of these beautiful works of art to St. Francis de Sales Oratory.

About 5 years ago, these statues were discovered by accident while looking for other liturgical items at Restoration Plus. According to records they were sent there by a previous pastor of the former parish for repairs in the early 1990s and never retrieved.

Restorations Plus, a long time staple of South Saint Louis City, is a company dedicated to restoring Church Art. Taken from their website, “Our first love is the Restoration of lovely old Religious Art. We repair and restore pieces to their original palette or to your particular artistic preference. We also have conservators in the fields of: Fine Art Paintings, Clock and Bell Restoration and Artglass Artists on hand for your special needs.”

We are truly thankful to Ms. Michelle Bowman-DuMey for her expertise and long hours of dedicated work to truly bring these pieces back from a state of disrepair.

The winter weather limits the work of maintenance and improvements to inside projects. The volunteers continue to provide a very valuable asset to this work. Some of their work includes:
  • Phil Roussin and Phil Winslow finished the repainting of the Co-op entrance to the 1888 building.
  • Painting the walls and woodwork in the Rectory basement has been an on-going improvement project undertaken by Chris Koziatek, who has been devoting many Saturdays to this effort.
  • In the church hall, Phil Roussin and Chris Petersen have wired and installed a media facility in the stage area with projector, sound and screen to show videos and movies via computer.
Our charter school tenant, KIPP, through a funding grant, has provided padding in the gym along the walls and columns to improve safety for the children’s activities.


The much needed tuck-point work on the steeple is scheduled to start as soon as the threat of freezing weather has passed.

A recent development is the roof leak in the church near the south confessional. We have had a restoration company investigate the origin of the leak and they have promised an expedited repair, since the ceiling plaster has been damaged.

Wishing a blessed Holy Week and Easter!
In Christo Rege et Maria,

Canon William E. Avis, Pro-Rector
Saint Francis de Sales Oratory

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