Tuesday, December 2, 2008

100th Anniversary Celebration of St. Francis de Sales Oratory in Saint Louis

The occasion was none other than the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the dedication of this church, and the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales was packed to standing-room only last Sunday, the 23rd of November. An estimated 1,200 souls came to assist at the Pontifical Solemn High Mass celebrated by the Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Bishop Robert Hermann.

This magnificent church, now an Oratory administered by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest was completed and dedicated for sacred use on November 26, 1908. One hundred years later, in his sermon Bishop Hermann pointed out the Oratory as a treasure for the whole Archdiocese, with the verticality of its architecture and its liturgy, and with the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales.

“We are not drawn to God by iron chains, but by sweet attractions and holy inspirations,” wrote St. Francis de Sales (d.1622), affectionately known as the “Gentleman Saint,” a Doctor of the Church, and the patron saint of this church. The splendid liturgy on Sunday was a perfect illustration of “sweet attractions and holy inspirations” meant by St. Francis de Sales, and the “verticality” spoken of by the Bishop. The same liturgy did for us last Sunday as it did for the congregation of one hundred years ago: it lifted our gaze and expanded our hearts upward, toward things eternal and toward God....

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