On Easter Sunday, April 8, 2007, the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest reestablished the Archconfraternity of Our Mother of Perpetual Help at St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis. This Archconfraternity was canonically erected exactly 75 years ago, but had, in recent times, ceased to function at the former St. Francis de Sales Parish.
Starting tomorrow, and on every Tuesday thereafter, there will be Mass offered at this altar at 6:30 p.m. (not a.m.), followed by devotions to the Mother of Perpetual Help. Confessions will be available from 6 p.m., and the Rosary will be said prior to Mass.
There is a beautiful side altar of Our Mother of Perpetual Help at the Oratory, and the original decree of erection will be permanently installed there. All those who wish to become members will have their names inscribed in a new enrollment book, and will receive a certificate of membership.
The enrollment in the Archconfraternity does not imply any further obligations for the faithful, but to truly venerate Our Mother of Perpetual Help and to attend frequently the devotions on Tuesdays, as far as possible. Membership in the Archconfraternity gives the faithful the opportunity to participate in the spiritual fruits of the Archconfraternity, particularly in the indulgences granted by the Holy See. These will be published as soon as they are confirmed by the Apostolic Penitentiary in Rome.
I invite any reader of this blog to seriously consider becoming a member of this revitalized Archconfraternity. If you are reading this, you probably don’t need any testimony of the wonderful power and grace of Mary’s intercession on our behalf. That being a given, note above that the obligations upon the member are to venerate Our Mother of Perpetual Help, and to attend frequently these devotions as far as possible. For those of you who are out of town, the obligation to attend devotions in person therefore may not be possible. But don’t let that discourage you.
I read today the original decree of erection, and there are several indulgences for membership. The reason for the need to secure the affirmation of the Apostolic Penitentiary before publishing them is, I assume, due to the fact that the original indulgences were promulgated before the new Enchiridion of Indulgences came out. Thus, I suppose that the Institute wants to make sure the Penitentiary will confirm that these indulgences still apply, or otherwise will “re-promulgate” them. Obviously, Mary will still act on our prayers even before the Penitentiary acts.
The Institute of Christ the King is a blessing for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis and the universal Church as well. These holy priests are dedicated to the preservation and promulgation of the traditional sacramental rites and to promoting the bond between the practice of the Faith and authentic Catholic culture. This Archconfraternity will be oriented in a special way to the success of the Institute, but even more specifically to the good of St. Francis de Sales Oratory. This apostolate wins souls for Christ. I submit that this is a worthy cause for any serious Catholic to support. Your prayers and solidarity will honor Our Lady and help win souls.
The contact information for St. Francis de Sales Oratory:
St. Francis de Sales Oratory
2653 Ohio Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63118
Update: April 11, 2007: Last night the first of these Masses at the Mother of Perpetual Help altar took place. The space in front of the altar itself would seat about twenty people, if they squeezed.
There were at least 100 people there, possibly 150 or 200– I was in front and it was hard to tell. Because the Institute set up a table to enroll people in the archconfraternity, the space in front of the altar had the pews (temporarily, I hope) removed. So, most people had filled the pews in front of the St. Joseph altar, which is to the left, and also the aisle in front of the high altar next to that.
Fr. Keller, from the Cathedral Basilica, and several seminarians were also in choro.
Because of my perspective to the side and front, I was able to see the Host and Chalice at the moment of consecration. It felt like it was an intimate moment I shouldn’t have seen; I am so glad I could, though. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I know that sounds like hyperbole, but I truly mean it.
It was a wonderful occasion, an inspiring sermon, a beautiful Mass.
Mother of Perpetual Help, pray for us who have recourse to thee.