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

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