Special Announcement

For the foreseeable future, Mass on Sundays and occasional feast days will be livestreamed on our Facebook page at 8am.

We are working on other livestream options as well.

Spera in Deo!

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Stella Caeli (Prayer to Our Lady in times of Pestilence)

The Star of Heaven that nourished the Lord drove away the plague of death which the first parents of man brought into the world. May this bright Star now vouchsafe to extinguish that foul constellation whose battles have slain the people with the wound of death. O most pious Star of the Sea, preserve us from pestilence; hear us, O Lady, for Thy Son honors Thee by denying Thee nothing. Save us, O Jesus, for whom Thy Virgin Mother supplicates Thee. Amen!

My Dear Faithful of the Oratory of Ss. Gregory and Augustine

The end of the week has come upon us. With our new normal the weekend has a whole new meaning because it does not differ too much from the rest of the week. With the suspension of all our normal activities, one day can bleed into the next.  As a word of encouragement, I would ask everyone to consider their plan of life and strive to remain faithful to it throughout these days of mandated separation.  What this mean concretely is that you will truly need to be resolute in getting up at the same time, staying to a schedule, and being disciplined in your routine.  If you have a family at home this might be somewhat easier because many of our young people are completing their assignments and work online. Nevertheless, all of us, myself included need to remain diligent in organizing and structuring our days.

This exhortation to a plan of life is particularly significant in relationship to our prayer lives.  Given the time that is now before us, there is no excuse to not being praying daily and actually praying multiple times a day.  Often times the question that arises is what should the content of my prayer be? That answer is both simple and complex. It is simple because our prayer can consist of the recitation of the Most Holy Rosary, reading Sacred Scripture and/or the daily readings or other spiritual reading material. It is complex because now we have time to do more and therefore more can be done.  You can incorporate all the activities mentioned above in your daily prayer or your family prayer.  I would also encourage reading through the prayers of Holy Mass each day. Not only the Epistle and the Gospel, but also the Collect, the Gradual and Tract, the Secret and the Postcommunion. The prayers of Holy Mass, especially during our Lenten season, are truly spiritually rich and a great wealth of spiritual reflection and comfort.

Some practical information: the celebrations of Holy Week and the Sacred Triduum will not be public celebrations. We are intending to livestream these celebrations and will communicate both the times and the ways that you are able to watch these online.  The celebration of Tenebrae is going forward and will also be livestreamed if technology cooperates with us.  Remember Tenebrae is being celebrated on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of Holy Week beginning at 10 pm. It is a late evening, but well worth the opportunity to pray and enter more deeply into the Paschal Mystery.  Beginning the Monday of Holy Week and going forward, Confessions will be heard Monday through Friday from 11 am until 12 Noon.  This means the Church will be open beginning at 11 am and remain open until 1 pm for private prayer. We will also continue to hear confessions on Wednesday evenings at the normal time of 5:30 pm.  It is important to check the website often because some of these celebrations will be contingent upon the availability of other sacred minsters, servers and musicians. I will do my best to communicate all this information to you in a timely manner.

Today’s Gospel for Holy Mass details the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Remember that Christ Our Savior has conquered sin and death and that any cross carried with and through the Lord leads to the everlasting life He has gained for us.  Stay strong, steadfast, and most especially joy-filled. Do not let despair, doubt, fear or anxiety way you down.  Have recourse to Our Lady and the Saints to assist you and your family.  Our Savior Jesus Christ is with us always until the end of time. Let us find our strength in Him alone!

In Christ,

Msgr. Morris, Rector

Greetings in the Lord!

It has only been a week since the mandated suspension of Holy Mass and if you are like me it feels as if we have been in this posture for a month or longer. When I found myself thinking in this vein, I immediately reprimanded my thoughts realizing that I needed to pace myself. All of us are running a marathon, not a sprint, and the enforced separation and quarantine may go on for some time. This is not welcome news; however, it is the reality with which we are confronted. In order to successfully run this race – the race of the pandemic or the race of the spiritual life – requires that we trust in the Lord and allow Him to set the pace and give us strength when our energies fail us.

Many have already heard that we will still be under the mandated suspension of public Masses for the Sacred Triduum and for Easter Sunday. Both of these realities are unheard of and unprecedented and generate more sadness and confusion. In all honesty, I spend a great deal of my time in prayer of late trying to make sense of the current state of affairs, in the world and in the Church. The conclusion to which I often come is that I will never fully understand everything, and as a consequence, I must trust in the Lord. This current situation forces us to make these sentiments a reality in our daily existences. We cannot only trust in the Lord when it is clear what the outcome will be. It could be rightly argued that the nature of trust requires the unknown, the unseen, but nonetheless confidence and fidelity. We have to maintain a firm resolve over the next several months and when we are tempted to turn toward the news, the internet, the blogs to find answers, to also listen to the voice of peace and calm provided by Christ and by Him alone.

We had success this past Sunday with livestreaming Holy Mass at 8:15 am through our Facebook page and will be livestreaming Holy Mass tomorrow morning, the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary at 8:15 am. We are working on adding other platforms for accessing the live stream for those who do not have Facebook. However, at the writing of this reflection, the livestream is available only through Facebook. Please check the Oratory website for more information about livestreaming Holy Mass and other information as it becomes available.

Today we celebrate the Archangel Gabriel who assists us in preparing to celebrate tomorrow the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What wonderful feasts to encourage and inspire us. The Archangel Gabriel brings good news to Zechariah about the birth of St. John the Baptist, unfolds the plan of salvation to Saint Joseph, and most especially proclaims the mystery of the Incarnation to Our Blessed Mother. We pray in the Postcommunion prayer that through the intercession of the Angel Gabriel, who gave us the message of the Incarnation, we may obtain the benefits of the same Incarnation he proclaimed. Let us continue to pray for each other through the intercession of All the Saints, today particularly St. Gabriel. Let us entreat Our Lady to give us the courage we need to respond immediately to the will of God without knowledge and understanding of the future, only with joy and confidence in the providence of God.

In Christ,

Msgr. Morris, Rector

My dear Faithful of the Oratory of Ss. Gregory and Augustine,

We are at the very beginning of what appears to be a long and protracted time of physical separation from each other and from the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  I have continued to celebrate Holy Mass not only for the particular intentions printed in the bulletin but for each and every one of you.  You are in my daily prayers as we strive to respond both materially and spiritually to the impact of COVID-19.  I cannot encourage you enough to pray for each other and to remember especially those in our community who live alone. Reach out to each other through the various forms of communication to make sure everyone is healthy, sane, and striving for holiness.  Particularly, I would ask the following: if you are aware of a member of the Oratory community who is not adept at accessing all of this information either through email, the Oratory website or through Facebook, please share all this information with them by phone.

Yesterday we celebrated the great Feast of Saint Joseph, patron of the Universal Church, Foster-father to Our Savior and Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary. How blessed we are to have his intercession and care for each of us. Throughout our current and future tribulations let us invoke his powerful intercession and have confidence that Our Heavenly Father will hear our prayers:

Oh glorious St. Joseph, thou who hast power to render possible even things which are considered impossible, come to our aid in our present trouble and distress. Take this important and difficult affair under thy particular protection, that it may end happily. (The particular request: an end to the COVID-19 and all who are sick from it and all those suffering from its effects.)

O dear St. Joseph, all our confidence is in thee. Let it not be said that we would invoke thee in vain; and since thou art so powerful with Jesus and Mary. Show that thy goodness equals thy power. Amen

St. Joseph, friend of the Sacred Heart, pray for us.

Also, I want to remind everyone to please check the website for times for confession.  Confessions are heard for at least an hour, and more if necessary, and the Church is open during those times for private prayer. The Church is also open Monday – Friday from 11:30 am until 1:00 pm.  Please use the handicap door to the Church located between the school and the Church proper.  We are using that one door in order to keep it clean. We are cleaning that door and the handles as well as the bathroom every day.  Also, we want to safeguard people in the church since that entrance is monitored through the ring system we have in place. 

We are currently working to live stream Holy Mass from the Oratory.  Once this is available, we will share the time and information with everyone and encourage to make every effort to participate in Holy Mass and make a spiritual communion. The bulletin for this Sunday provides a prayer for spiritual communion and also what you can do this coming Sunday in the absence of Holy Mass.

I have included two links in this letter: the first link is the Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on the granting of special Indulgences to the faithful in the current pandemic given today from Rome. The Apostolic Penitentiary is chiefly a tribunal of mercy, responsible for issues relating to the forgiveness of sins in the Catholic Church.

The second link is a video message from Archbishop Carlson to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. Please take a moment to watch this brief video.

Finally, it is my hope to communicate with you every Tuesday and Friday and more so if there is immediate information that needs to be shared with you. The primary purpose of these communications is to continue to hold us together even when we are separated. Also, it is important that we remain spiritually rooted in the things that truly matter and this is our Catholic faith and the strength provided by it in all times and seasons.  Please feel free to contact me at any time with your concerns: msgrmorris@gmail.com; parish phone – 314/925-8989; cell phone – 314/606-2461.

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

Msgr. Morris

Dear Faithful,

I want to let you all know that you are in my daily prayers especially during the celebration of Holy Mass.  Please pray for each other particularly the vulnerable in our community, those who are ill now and those who care for them.

Since the mandate that suspended the public celebration of Holy Mass, I have received a number of phone calls, emails and text messages trying to understand this decision and also how they can spiritually care for themselves during the several weeks and maybe even longer of this mandate and the response to the pandemic.

First, in order to provide an opportunity to spend time with our Eucharistic Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and in consultation with Fr. Blake, the pastor of St. Luke, the Church will be open and available for private prayer Monday thru Friday from 11:30 am until 1:00 pm beginning tomorrow Wednesday, 18 March 2020. I encourage you to make an effort to spend some time with Our Lord seeking His powerful intercession and the graces that come from the Most Holy Eucharist.

Second, the sacrament of confession remains available at the times already listed and I will be in the confessional for an hour each day or longer if needed.

For both private prayer and for confession, when entering and exiting the Church, the only door that will be open is the door between the Church and the school that is available for those who are disabled. This allows for better safety as well as hygiene as we will be able to clean this door on a daily basis.

In both of these instances, the normal exhortations and precautions remain in place: if you are not feeling well, please remain at home; keep a safe distance away from others when in the Church; take the necessary steps to keep yourself, your families and those around safe through good hygiene.

Again, I want to encourage everyone to patience and forbearance as we struggle to spiritually deal with this crisis. None of us want to be in this situation and we certainly do not want to have limited access to the sacraments; however, the decision to suspend public Masses and to limit communal gatherings is prudent and hopefully will serve to spare people from the virus and to save those who are ill. 

As I concluded my letter yesterday, so I will do the same today and ask that all of the faithful pray this daily throughout this time of pestilence:

The Star of Heaven that nourished the Lord drove away the plague of death which the first parents of man brought into the world. May this bright Star now vouchsafe to extinguish that foul constellation whose battles have slain the people with the wound of death. O most pious Star of the Sea, preserve us from pestilence; hear us, O Lady, for Thy Son honors Thee by denying Thee nothing. Save us, O Jesus, for whom Thy Virgin Mother supplicates Thee. Amen!

Msgr. Morris

Today, 16 March 2020 at 4:30 pm, the Archbishop of Saint Louis suspended the public celebration of Holy Mass.  This news is rightly unsettling, but I am confident that the decision is made in the best interest of all the faithful of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.

The Oratory will continue to celebrate the sacrament of confessions at the following times:

  • Tuesday and Thursday mornings @ 6:00 am (during the Lenten season)
  • Wednesdays evenings @ 5:30 pm
  • Friday mornings @ 11:00 am
  • Sunday mornings @ 7:00 am

During the times for confession, the Church will be open and available for private prayer. The same precautions remain in place: if you are not feeling well, please remain at home; keep a safe distance away from others when in the Church; take the necessary steps to keep yourself, your families and those around safe through good hygiene.

This new mandated information requires the Oratory to cancel Stations of the Cross on Fridays at 7:00 pm.  We also must cancel the Days of Recollection for the women and men of the parish.  These cancellations join the already cancelled events: the CCD program on Sundays; the Co-op on Thursdays; the Coffee Hours on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month.

The current situation related to this virus requires diligence and awareness on the natural level and confidence in the Lord in the supernatural realm.  The absence of public Holy Masses creates a seriously destabilizing impact on our lives. However, the spread and dangerousness of this virus is unknown and necessitates serious measures to stop it.  Let us intensify our lives of prayer and ask for a renewed faith in the crucified Lord who will assist us in carrying this cross and whatever other crosses arise during this crisis.

Please continue to check the webpage of the Oratory and emails for further information as the situation continues to evolve.

Yesterday at the conclusion of Holy Mass we prayed the Stella Caeli extirpavit asking for the intercession of our Blessed Mother in this time of crisis. I conclude with this prayer and ask that all of the faithful pray this daily throughout this time of pestilence.

The Star of Heaven that nourished the Lord drove away the plague of death which the first parents of man brought into the world. May this bright Star now vouchsafe to extinguish that foul constellation whose battles have slain the people with the wound of death. O most pious Star of the Sea, preserve us from pestilence; hear us, O Lady, for Thy Son honors Thee by denying Thee nothing. Save us, O Jesus, for whom Thy Virgin Mother supplicates Thee. Amen!

In Christ,

Msgr. Morris, Rector