100th Year Anniversary of St. Francis de Sales Church – Orchestra Mass and
Next week, on Sunday November 23rd, St. Francis de Sales Church
celebrates the 100th anniversary of its dedication. The Church was dedicated by John Cardinal Glennon in 1908 and went on to be called the “Cathedral of South St. Louis” for its size and its impressive Gothic
architecture, a classical gem reminiscent of European cathedrals. From that time to the present it has stood out as a landmark in South St. Louis, with the highest steeple of all buildings in St. Louis!
The building was saved from obsolescence byArchbishop Raymond
L. Burke, who placed it into the custody of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in 2005, when it was erected as an Oratory of the
Institute. Charged with the privilege of restoring the church to its former glory, the Institute is a young community in the Catholic Church, founded just recently in 1990. Having St. Francis de Sales as one of its patrons, the Institute celebrates the traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite). The large campus is composed of two school buildings, a convent, rectory, and the church, and is now destined to be a center of Catholic culture where classical art and music will have pride of place.
Over the centuries art and music inspired by liturgy has
strongly influenced the culture of the western world. The music program at
the Oratory is one of the foundational elements used by the Institute in
restoring a truly Catholic culture. The Pontifical High Mass that will be
celebrated on Sunday, November 23rd at 10:00 a.m., will feature music to
match the soaring beauty of the church’s interior: Charles Gounod’s St.
Cecilia Mass sung by the St. Francis de Sales Orchestra and Choirs,
conducted by Mr. Nick Botkins, the Oratory’s Director of Sacred Music and
Master of the Choirs. The Mass will be celebrated by the Archdiocesan
Administrator of St. Louis, Bishop Robert J. Hermann, in the Extraordinary
Form of the Roman Rite, also known as the classical Latin liturgy. The altar assistance will be provided by members of the Institute of Christ the King and the Oratory.
Following the Mass there will be a “Kirchweifest” in the church
hall. This is an old-fashioned German feast served by the Knights of
Columbus of St. Francis de Sales, Council 14067, with Sauerbraten,
Bratwurst, Black Forest Cake, and other German specialties. Dinner tickets
will be available for a modest charge. Everyone in St. Louis and beyond is
welcome. The church is at the intersection of Gravois and Ohio Avenues.
Parking is available in a lot behind the church as well as curbside.