Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Archbishop Carlson on the Current Situation

FROM THE ARTICLE Archbishop Carlson calls for peace as grand jury says no indictment for Ferguson police officer:
“I implore each of you: Choose peace!” said Archbishop Carlson, who prayed at the memorial site for Brown in the days after the shooting and led a Rosary on Nov. 5 in January-Wabash Park. “Reject any false and empty hope that violence will solve problems. Violence only creates more violence. Let’s work for a better, stronger, more holy community— one founded upon respect for each other, respect for life, and our shared responsibility for the common good.”

Friday, November 21, 2014

Newsletter from the Oratory


2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
November 20, 2014



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

Saint Francis de Sales church   c.1900


"Kirchweihfest" is a German word that means "church dedication feast," a celebration that highlights the importance of reserving a church building for sacred actions and sacred things, for the glory of God and the sanctification of man. The German roots at St. Francis de Sales are deep, reaching back to the German immigrants of St. Louis, who built this church in 1867, and rebuilt it after a tornado destroyed the first in 1896. The present church building was dedicated on November 26, 1908.

Seminary Society breakfast

In addition to marking this milestone, this year's Kirchweihfest will be an occasion for us to show our support for the seminarians, the future priests who will serve the Church and oversee many more “Kirchweihfests” in the coming years. Please join us, and the Seminary Society which organized this year’s event, for this double celebration!

Waterloo German Band

The festival will include: Christkindl Market, Rector's Raffle, Chocolate Cake Contest, entertainment provided by the Waterloo German Band, and much more!

Menu: Sauerbraten, Bratwurst, Chicken Tenders (for children), Sauerkraut, Braised Cabbage with Apples, Mashed Potatoes with Gravy, German Potato Salad, Rolls, Chocolate Cake, Coffee and Tea. (Catered by Two Mike’s Catering.)


The Immaculate Conception

This year we will again have our Novena to the Immaculate Conception with guest homilists nightly.
Please mark your calendar and bring a friend.
Confessions 30 minutes before Mass and devotions

Sunday, November 30, 10:00AM:

Rev. Canon Matthew Talarico
Monday, December 1, 6:30PM:
Rev. Father Anthony Ochoa
Tuesday, December 2, 6:30PM
Rev. Father Eric Kunz
Wednesday, December 3, 6:30PM
Rev. Father Henry Purcell
Thursday, December 4, 6:30PM
Rev. Father Fadi Auro
Friday, December 5, 6:30PM
Rev. Father Brian Harrison
Saturday, December 6, 8:00AM
Rev. Father Thomas Keller
Sunday, December 7, 10:00AM
Rev. Canon Joel Estrada


The Sheldon Concert Hall

Advent will be here soon. As the new liturgical year unfolds before us, what a great blessing it will be to be immersed in the unfathomable spiritual riches of Holy Mother Church! In the midst of Advent is Gaudete Sunday, whose theme, “Rejoice!”, will fill our hearts with joy as we anticipate the coming of our Blessed Savior.

More than a fundraiser, the Oratory’s Gaudete Gala, now in its fourth year, is a unique and festive musical expression of the joy of Advent, and the gratitude for the blessings of the sacred liturgy. The Gala will give the Oratory faithful and clergy an opportunity to share the Church’s rich Sacred Music tradition – something we experience every Sunday - with one another, with our friends and family, and with our city community at large. Featuring the choirs of the Oratory under the direction of Mr. Botkins, the Gala will also highlight the wonderful talents developed through the Oratory’s Sacred Music Program in the past nine years. All proceeds from the Gala will be used to support the Sacred Music Program.

Gaudete Gala 2012

Two examples of the Oratory choirs’ repertoire may be heard here: O Sacrum Convivium, composed by Mr. Kevin Allen, and a Kyrie from Max Filke’s Mass in Honor of the Blessed Virgin. These are the fruits of our labor – a joyful expression of love of music and love of the Sacred.

We cordially invite you and your families to come to the Oratory’s Fourth Annual Gaudete Gala, and urge you to invite others to come share the beauty of sacred music with us. 

Date: Sunday, December 14, 2014
Place: The Sheldon Concert Hall (3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis)
Tickets: $150 for Gala Reception & Concert
Special Offer: $1,000 for a Group of Eight Tickets
Concert only: $45

Tickets for the Gaudete Gala 2014 are now available for purchase from the Oratory office by phone (314) 771-3100 or email, or by mail at

Saint Francis de Sales Oratory
Gaudete Gala 2014
2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118

They may be ordered online, by credit card, at

Admission to the Gala will include a festive Hors d’Oeuvres Reception before the concert. After the Concert, there will be a brief opportunity to gather again to meet and greet the choir.

Gala Reception 6:00 PM
Concert Performance 7:15 PM
Choir Meet & Greet 8:30 PM

Acknowledgments: The Oratory would like to express our deeply felt gratitude to several supporters for their generous donations to defray the cost of the Gala. We would also like to thank Mr. & Mrs. David Schlafly, Mr. Chris Poehler, and Ms. Susan Barrett for co-chairing the Gaudete Gala Committee this year.


Artisans carefully working Summer 2014
Lauds. The first light of the day has penetrated the stained glass windows of the Oratory, bringing the saints and angels into the sanctuary in an array of colors: reds, blues and greens. By Compline, the ever-present images in windows recede into the shadows amidst the prayers of the Oratory community, waiting again for Lauds and the first light of morning.

As illuminated decorations of churches since the Middle Ages, stained glass windows have been a part of the rhythmic daily life of the Church. St. Francis de Sales Oratory has been blessed with many well-crafted windows that beautify the interior of the church, highlighting various saints throughout the day with the movement of light and time. They are part of the distinctive attributes that make this church the “Cathedral of South Saint Louis.”


Stained glass windows are known to withstand the test of time, but never without periodic repair and restoration. Our windows are close to 100 years old; weathering and the ravage of time have made repairs an unavoidable task for us.

Within the last five years, several windows were so badly damaged by storms that decisive actions had to be taken to preserve them. In December 2009, a window in the choir loft had to be removed and stored until suitable repairs can be made.


Then last winter, the beautiful window in the sanctuary, featuring Sts. Jerome and Gregory, was so damaged by the storm that it had to be repaired immediately. Working with the Emil Frei and Associates, the original crafters of our windows in the last century, it took several months of work to complete the repairs, but the process has gained us many insights into the methodology we will need to restore all our historic windows in the future.

Typical of windows of this age, the level of restoration depended on the condition of the glass and support structure, and, unavoidably, budgetary constraints. The Frei experts found the outer protective glass and the glazing had deteriorated badly from normal wear and tear, and the supporting terra cotta mullions were cracked and failing, thus unable to completely support the glass. Instead of rebuilding the terra cotta support for this glass, a larger, thicker protective glass was installed farther out from the stained glass and a new support constructed, thereby retaining the architectural quality without overloading the terra cotta mullions. Both the inside stained glass and the outside protective glass were cleaned and re-glazed.


This repair also has a large thermal benefit since a recent study of the heating and cooling needs of the church building has shown that the windows, by far, are the worst contributor to heat loss in winter and would be detrimental to any attempt to air condition in the summer. By moving the protective glass farther away and using thicker glass material, there will be a significant improvement to the obvious thermal inadequacies of the building.

In addition to structural integrity that is leak-proof, the restoration has made a big difference in the appearance of the window from inside the sanctuary: clearer, brighter, and more vibrant. The brighter Jerome-Gregory window can now serve as a model for the repairs that we will need to do on all of our iconic windows. We will work with Frei to determine the next window that is in most need of repair.
Update on the last matching gift of $4,300.00: There is still an opportunity to help with this generous initiative. We still need $3,940.25 to match this donation. The deadline has been extended to December 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. 


Saint Louis IX, King of France

On October 19, 2014, His Grace, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, came to visit with the Institute’s community and faithful at St. Francis de Sales Oratory to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the birth of King St. Louis and the 250th anniversary of the founding of our city. Led by Archbishop Carlson, the clergy of the Oratory and 300-plus faithful honored King St. Louis with a procession of his sacred relic.

The relic of St. Louis IX venerated in procession led by Archbishop Carlson
with Canon Wiener and clergy and faithful 


His Grace, The Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson
Archbishop of Saint Louis

After the sermon of Archbishop Carlson the celebration then continued with Vespers and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The evening ended with a joyful and festive reception in the church hall, where many faithful gathered to greet the Archbishop, and to celebrate a noteworthy milestone in Catholic history, a milestone that drew together a saintly Old-World French king, missionaries to the New World, and our present day work toward a future filled with hope and charity.
Here's the link to the coverage of the local archdiocesan newspaper St. Louis Review.
Photo credits: Jerry Naunheim Photography
On the occasion of the anniversary of the consecration of the church building St. Francis de Sales, I wish to thank you all for your many sacrifices and joyful work you have done and continue to do for the benefit of countless families and individuals.

I assure you of my faithful prayers and devout priestly service in Christ the King, 

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

Friday, November 07, 2014

Newsletter from the Oratory


2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
November 6, 2014

Special Edition


Dear Faithful and Friends of Saint Francis de Sales Oratory,

Tickets for the Gaudete Gala 2014 are now available for purchase from the Oratory office by phone (314) 771-3100 or email, or by mail at

Saint Francis de Sales Oratory
Gaudete Gala 2014
2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118

They may be ordered online, by credit card, at

Blessed Virgin - Jean Fouquet (1420-1481)

The Oratory’s Fourth Annual Gaudete Gala will take place on Gaudete Sunday, December 14, 2014, at the Sheldon Concert Hall (3648 Washington Blvd.) in St. Louis.
This year, as we anticipate Christmas with hope and joy, let us also share the beauty of music with one another and with friends and family. As in previous Galas, we can expect a joyful, festive, and sublime performance from the Oratory’s talented choristers – in St. Louis’ premiere concert venue.
All proceeds from the Gala will be used to support the Sacred Music Program at the Oratory.
This year’s Gala will offer a delicious Hors d’Oeuvres Reception before the concert.

After the Concert, there will be a brief opportunity to gather again to meet and greet the choir.

Gala Reception                6:00 PM
Concert Performance       7:15 PM
Choir Meet & Greet         8:30 PM

Tickets: $150 for Reception & Concert; $45 for Concert Only

It is said that music is the handmaid of the liturgy, and that this bond has propelled the musical arts to great heights, from medieval times to the present day. 
Since 2005, the Sacred Music Program at St. Francis de Sales Oratory has aimed, in our small way, to reflect this timeless bond, allowing the Liturgy to inform, guide, and inspire the creativity of everyone involved in the program, from the youngest chorister to the most experienced performer.

Warmly, we invite you to come to the Gaudete Gala to enjoy the fruits of our labor – a unique and joyful expression of love of music and love of the Sacred.
Come hear the voices of mere mortals converse in music, the language of angels!


The Oratory would like to express our deeply felt gratitude to several supporters for their generous donations to defray the cost of the Gala.

We would also like to thank Mr. & Mrs. David Schlafly, Mr. Chris Poehler, and Ms. Susan Barrett for co-chairing the Gaudete Gala Committee this year.

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

Photo of Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine

I came across this shrine in Saint Charles County, the other week.

It is called Mary, Queen of Peace Shrine, and it is located in Coronation Heights, a neighborhood in O’Fallon, Missouri.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Newsletter from the Oratory



2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
September 18, 2014

Choir Camp 2014
Visit of Archbishop Carlson on October 19
Gaudete Gala 2014 – Welcome New Candidates
Oblate Retreat – Confirmations

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

Choir Camp 2014

Choir Camp 2014

Returning to the Mount St. Joseph Retreat Center in Kentucky, the Institute of Christ the King held its 5th annual Choir Camp bringing together many musically talented students from far and wide. With its beautiful grounds, wonderful staff, and accommodating setup, St. Joseph’s has always been a perfect place to have this very edifying camp. Having been with the camp for three years, I already feel like it is my “home away from home”.

United with the common interest of achieving musical excellence for God’s greater glory, the 27 camp attendees were able to improve their vocal technique, Gregorian chant, Latin, and understanding of virtue under the capable direction of 
Rev. Canon William AvisAbbé Matthew Walter, Abbé Alex Barga, Mr. Nick Botkins and Mr. Joseph Reidy. In vocal technique class and choir rehearsals, the students learned how to sing with correct posture, cleaner sound, and better dynamics. The students learned about the history and progression of chant to its mastery at Solesmes, in Abbé Walter’s class, as well as how to sing the chant beautifully. Along with the captivating History of Rome and the early Church, Mr. Reidy took the class into some of the basics of the Latin language leading up to an exciting scavenger hunt using Latin commands. Along with daily Mass and confessions, Canon Avis also provided spiritual conferences for all of the students focusing on practicing virtues such as prudence and humility.


Aside from the camp’s music program, the campers were also able to do some fun activities guided by the four camp counselors and our newest addition to the camp staff as sacristan, Abbé Alex. Some of the engaging activities played this year were blind dodgeball, football, soccer, volleyball, and capture the flag, during which, even some of the staff joined in the fun. On Friday night the camp had a farewell party with a student talent show, fun games, treats, and finally a line dance conducted by Miss Ashley Hayworth, one of the camp counselers. It was really neat to see all of the friendships formed throughout the course of the week and the good camaraderie present among the campers in general.

During the entire camp, the classes and activities all presented the same theme of giving God greater glory. Whether we were singing as the voice of the Church, attending Mass, chanting the litany of the Sacred Heart, saying the Holy Rosary at night, practicing at rehearsal, or simply tossing a football to one another, it seemed as if we were always giving to God and continuously praying. To me, having so many likeminded Catholic musicians come together with the mutual intention of offering their talents to God is the most beautiful aspect of the camp.
Also, the campers annually hold a recital for the Ursuline Nuns after learning the camp repertoire every year. As one of the campers, it has always been a great pleasure to be able to give the Ursuline’s this unique treat which they always look forward to every year. This is just another way the choir camp allows the youthful singers to use their musical talent for God.

At the Saturday morning High Mass, all of the camp singers offered to God some of the most exquisite music I have ever heard. Clearly everyone put forth their best effort for God and really took to heart all of the good instruction taught by the staff throughout the week. And as I commented to others, “it was truly the best sounding camp I’ve been to so far.”
On the whole, the many new friendships made, the virtues of the Catholic Faith visibly practiced, and the musical excellence attained was very edifying to me and I hope it will continue to grow and edify others in the years to come for the greater glory of God!

Patrick Hanners, Choir Camp Attendee

Visit of Archbishop Carlson on October 19th at 5:00 PM 

October 19, 2014
800 Years King St. Louis IX - 250 City of Saint Louis

St. Louis IX, King of France

On Sunday, October 19, at 5:00 PM, His Grace, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, will come to the Oratory as we add our contribution to the city-wide celebration of the 800th birth anniversary of King St. Louis (Louis IX of France) and the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city of St. Louis that bears the holy saint’s name.
The program will begin at 5:00 PM, starting with honoring King Saint Louis with his holy relic in a solemn procession.

His Grace, Robert J. Carlson,
Archbishop of St. Louis

The entire program, including a sermon pronounced by the guest of honor, Archbishop Carlson, is as follows:

Procession of Relic of St. Louis
Solemn Vespers
Homily pronounced by His Grace, Archbishop Carlson
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
Reception in the Oratory Hall

Throughout this year, many civic as well as Catholic events have been organized in St. Louis to highlight the history, development, and accomplishments of our great city. Please join us as the Oratory marks this special anniversary year with the Church’s joyful and solemn liturgy.

Gaudete Gala 2014

Gaudette Gala 2013
Gaudete Gala 2014 will be glorious, elegant, and uplifting – a sublime moment of joy during Advent. This year the Gala will take place on Sunday evening, December 15, at the Sheldon (3648 Washington Blvd, Saint Louis), and will once again feature the Oratory’s choirs under the direction of Mr. Nick Botkins.

Sheldon Concert Hall  
Tickets for the Gala Reception and the Concert will go on sale November 5. 
Please reserve the date December 15 on your calendars, and plan on inviting your families and friends to share the joy of Christmas at the Gaudete Gala.

Welcome New Candidates

Welcome to 5 new candidates at the Oratory!

Candidates 2014-2015
On September 8, the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 5 young men from all over the United States arrived at the Oratory: Mr. Carlos Flores from California, Mr. Daniel Roach from Arkansas, Mr. Luca Maria Dittmer from Iowa, Mr. Paul McKown from Michigan who will spend one year of discernment before they are accepted to our seminary in Griciglinao/Italy, and Mr. Simon Whitaker from Wisconsin who will stay with us to discern his vocation to the oblatehood.
We wish these young men a grace-filled year here at the Oratory and assure them of our prayers. 

Oblate Retreat 2014

Oblate Retreat 2013
A spiritual retreat for the oblates of the US Province will take place from September 29 to October 3 at the Oratory.
On the feast of St. Michael, September 29, 6 oblates in the US-Province of the Institute (including our own Abbe Alex) and 3 candidates for the oblatehood will begin a week of spiritual retreat here at the Oratory. Canon Aaron Huberfeld will present the instructions on these days of spiritual renewal for our oblates. Please pray for these men who serve the Church and the Institute generously in various apostolates in this country.

Confirmation 2014

His Excellency, Robert J. Hermann
The Holy Sacrament of Confirmation will be conferred by His Excellency, Bishop Robert J. Hermann at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory on Saturday, October 11, 2014 at 10:30am.
A Solemn High Mass in the presence of His Excellency will be celebrated afterwards.


Bavarian Brass Music at the Kirchweihfest 2010
This year we will see again our Kirchweihfest, the celebration of the consecration of our magnificent church on November 26, 1908. According to the tradition here at the Oratory we will offer a festive lunch with German food, catered by Two Mikes Catering, after the 10:00 AM Mass on Sunday November 23, 2014, in the church hall.
The Kirchweihfest will include several features of the Summer at the Oratory event as well as theSeminary Society Breakfast. It will be an occasion for us to celebrate the many blessings God has bestowed on this wonderful Oratory community, especially the generosity and the fruitful hard work of its members, for which we are most grateful. Please mark your calendars and invite a friend.

With my grateful best wishes for you and the assurance of my prayers in Christ the King,

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

Monday, September 08, 2014

A MEDITATIVE GARDEN, located across the street from Saint Bridget of Kildare Parish, in Pacific, Missouri. In the background is a bluff and mine entrance, made of the St. Peter’s sandstone formation, used in making clear glass.

A.D.A.M.'s Garden, in Pacific, Missouri, USA - view of angel rose garden and cave in sandstone bluff

I’ve heard from quite a few people lately asking how I am doing — I am well, and have been occupied by various projects, as well as fixing up and moving into a new home in Washington, Missouri, to be closer to my parents.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Newsletter from the Oratory


2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
June 26, 2014


Dear Faithful and Friends of Saint Francis de Sales Oratory,




Corpus Christi 2014

Priestly Ordinations on Tuesday, August 5 at 10:00AM at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.

Priestly Ordination

For the past several years, sacred ordinations of new Institute priests have taken place in Florence, Italy, at the beautiful church of SS. Michele e Gaetano. This year, in addition to Florence where four French deacons will be ordained to the priesthood, St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis, MO, will be honored to be the setting for the ordination of four American deacons, by His Eminence, Raymond Cardinal Burke. This important event in the life of the Church will take place here at the Oratory, on Tuesday, August 5, at 10:00AM.

The following day (August 6), the Oratory will again be honored to participate in the grace-filled First Masses of the newly ordained priests, according to the following schedule:

8:00 AM Rev. Canon Francis Altiere
9:00 AM Rev. Canon Benjamin Coggeshall
10:00 AM Rev. Canon Joel Estrada
11:00 AM Rev. Canon Andrew Todd

At 12:00 Noon, following First Masses, Solemn Te Deum and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will be celebrated by the Prior General and founder of our Institute, Monsignor Gilles Wach.

Already many visitors have made plans to come to St. Louis for the Ordinations. If anyone needs information on the accommodations available for this event in various hotels in St. Louis, please contact the Oratory office for the list and the special rates.

As we count down to this great event, I would like to express my deepest, heartfelt gratitude to all the generous volunteers who are working to prepare for Ordinations. The labor required for all the behind-the-scenes preparations can only be sustained by a great love for God and for the sacred. Thank you!


Choir Camp 2013

Many who attend Masses at St. Francis de Sales Oratory remark on the beauty of the liturgy and specifically on the music which is an integral part of the sacred liturgy. Occasionally on special events, such as the Gaudete Gala, many are deeply moved when they see the youthful faces behind the angelic voices. Regular weekly rehearsals are essential to our choirs, but the annual summer Choir Camp we have had since 2009 has been extremely effective in making our choirs what they are today.

Like many good summer camps, the Choir Camp is fun, educational, and beneficial to the individuals who are fortunate to attend it. The Church at large draws a benefit too, in that the Camp helps to prepare a future generation to sing the treasured repertoire of Sacred Music. When they learn it at a young age, the young people’s formative experience in sacred music will stay with them for a lifetime.

Whether you have a camper who will attend the Summer Camp this year or not, we cordially implore you to consider supporting the Choir Camp financially. We cannot minimize the fixed cost of running a summer camp, but if everyone contributes to it, we will be able to lower the cost and provide needed scholarships so that more children can participate.

You may send a check directly to the Oratory, earmarked “Sacred Music Summer Camp”, or use a crowd-funding site we have set up to accept donations.

The link is

Please invite your families and friends to visit this link too, so that they may consider supporting this worthy cause.


There have been an increasing number of sewer backups in the rectory in the past year, flooding the basement with smelly, brackish water. This happened every time there was a large rainfall, so we had a scope put down the drain and it was only able to progress several feet outside the basement, stopping under the parking area which indicated a sewer line break. We employed a sewer repair company to open the area to about a 10 foot depth and a surprising discovery was made that the problem area contained an old brick cistern about 12 feet in diameter and 10 feet deep that had caused some of the problem, along with sewer problems at the building foundation and another collapsed sewer cleanout.


All of the roof downspouts converge on this spot and were overwhelming the collapsed capacity of the sewer. New and larger plastic piping was installed and the hole was closed, hopefully resolving this irritating and unhealthy problem.



Last November we experienced a strong wind storm which damaged portions of several buildings on campus. A large stained glass window in the sanctuary was one of the damaged items. “Emil Frei and Associates” assessed the damage and provided a report which included the insurance covered storm damage but also the more comprehensive repair of the window to assure its long term health. Scaffolding was recently erected to make these repairs, which will serve as a model for what is needed for all the windows and show how these improvements will sustain and enhance our iconic windows for the future.


On Saturday, July 19, starting at 9:00AM, we will be cleaning the convent, where many priests of the Institute will be staying during the Ordinations.

On Saturday, July 26, starting at 9:00AM we will be cleaning the Church, in preparation for the priestly Ordinations and First Masses of the newly ordained priests.

If you are able to help out on either or both of these days, we would be most grateful. A sign-up sheet for each day is available at church every Sunday until July 13.

More hands make this work lighter for everyone!

If you have any questions, please contact Abbe Alex.

Thank you very much for your generous response!

With the assurance of my prayers in the Sacred Heart of Jesus,

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