Excerpts from the latest Oratory newsletter. Full version here.
Dear Faithful and Friends of St. Francis de Sales Oratory,
“Only if you join us in giving witness to the right to life and the right to religious freedom!” In his strong pastoral message concerning the “contraceptive mandate” His Grace, Archbishop Carlson, together with the entire United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is calling upon us to do our part in the fight for religious freedom and the rights of Catholics to live their faith. “Forcing all of us to buy coverage for sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that induce abortion, is a radical incursion into freedom of conscience.” On January 19th Pope Benedict XVI., addressing himself to the US Bishops, expressed his deep concerns with regard to the dangers of a “radical secularism” of US society: “Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society.”
From our Holy Father and from our Archbishop, the words “giving witness,” being “engaged” and “well-formed” pertain to our daily lives as Catholics in a secular society; these are words not to be easily ignored. It’s clearer than ever that our activism must be founded on a solid spiritual formation – always. Faced with the serious issues before us, it is imperative that we employ the practical venues recommended by Archbishop Carlson, all the while fixing our gaze on the Cross. Please see the website of the Archdiocese of St. Louis www.archstl.org. (I recommend also to join the “Stop The Birth Control Mandate” petition promoted by St. Gianna Physician’s Guild, with the support of Cardinal Burke, at www.stopthebirthcontrolmandate.org.).
PASTORAL LETTER FROM ARCHBISHOP CARLSON
“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” — Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York & President of USCCB
Archbishop Carlson, together with the entire United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, under the leadership of Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, is calling upon ALL CATHOLICS to contact their representatives about the contraceptive mandate to be imposed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
This mandate violates the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights. It represents unprecedented trampling upon human rights in the United States, specifically, freedom to live by one’s religious convictions. The bishops are speaking out loudly, but that is not enough: They are asking for our support.
CARDINAL BURKE’S VISIT TO THE ORATORY
A profound reverence for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and a genuine affection for a Cardinal of the Church took center stage last Tuesday evening when Raymond Cardinal Burke came to visit and celebrated a solemn Benediction at the Oratory. More than 500 people, both clergy and faithful, took time from their evening to attend the 5:00 PM ceremony. They were not disappointed in this grace-filled event.
To the lofty notes of the organ and the choir’s rendition of Victoria’s “Ecce Sacredos Magnus,” the Cardinal processed into the church, accompanied by a retinue of servers and clergy. Upon reaching the High Altar, Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament began solemnly with “Homo Quidam,” composed by Cardinal Bartolucci (who was made a Cardinal recently) and “Alma Redemptoris Mater” by Palestrina. The rest of the Benediction ceremony unfolded with equal ceremonial beauty. Throughout, the choirs of the Oratory sang ancient hymns, in words composed by St. Thomas Aquinas among others, and set to sublime melodies which lifted up each heart in prayer.
The prayerful time in the church was followed by a festive reception in the Oratory Hall, attended by many faithful to welcome and greet the Cardinal. Cardinal Burke is appreciated by the faithful at the Oratory not only as a beloved Cardinal who was once the shepherd of the people in St. Louis, but also as a fatherly figure whose vision had been the crucial impetus for the canonical erection of St. Francis de Sales Oratory. His return visit to the Oratory was a joyous and inspirational occasion for many individuals and families. It was most touching to see our youngest members greet the Cardinal and kiss his ring. All of us – the faithful and the Oratory staff alike – are deeply grateful for the many graces from this solemn Benediction, and for the fatherly care that the Cardinal continues to give to the Oratory and the faithful. More than ever, we offer our fervent prayers for the Cardinal and his fruitful ministry in the Church.
For more photos of this event please click here.
We have begun to organize classes to prepare candidates to receive the sacrament of Confirmation on October 20, 2012. The Most Reverend Edward Rice, Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis, will administer the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form, and attend the celebration of the Solemn High Mass following Confirmations, as well as the reception afterwards. To all who wish to receive this important sacrament in October: please register with the Oratory office for classes as soon as possible. Class schedule will be published soon.
FORTY HOUR DEVOTION
Sunday, February 19
10:00am: Solemn High Mass with Procession of the Blessed SacramentAdoration all afternoon
Monday, February 20
8:00am: Low Mass followed by Exposition
12:10pm: Low Mass with organ
6:30pm: Solemn High Mass – Reposition
Tuesday, February 21
8:00am: Low Mass followed by Exposition
12:10pm: Low Mass at St. Joseph’s Altar
6:30pm: Solemn High Mass with Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction
Confessions heard 1/2 hour before each Mass.
With the sincere assurance of my prayers in Christ the King,
Canon Michael K. Wiener
Rector, St. Francis de Sales Oratory