The annual Summer at the Oratory event was a big success this year:
Weeks of planning culminated on a bright sunny day. By Sunday morning, the empty courtyard bounded by the rectory, the church and the convent had been transformed into a festive little piazza. A large covered tent provided a cozy outdoor room for visitors to share their meals and visit. Against the brick backdrop of the buildings were various booths set up for games and prizes, a country market, “cake walk,” silent auctions, live jazz band, and, most important of all: the Bar-B-Q stand and the refreshment station.
The crowd poured into this outdoor festival as soon as Mass ended, ready for lunch and an afternoon of family fun. Smiling faces of all vintages soon filled the festive scene. Until 7:00 PM, this celebration in honor of King Saint Louis, patron saint of the city of St. Louis, rolled through the summer heat, lubricated by live jazz music, plenty of cold beer, a full menu of quintessential summer foods, friendly conversations, and terrific deals from the country market and the auctions.
Friends of St. Francis de Sales Oratory is deeply indebted to many volunteers who organized and ran this great community-building event, especially to the young adults who helped in various ways throughout the day. We are also grateful for the many individuals and businesses who provided auction and raffle items and donated the proceeds to the restoration effort.
The TforT site also has some updates and photos of recent Oratory renovation projects:
In an on-going effort to beautify the exterior of the St. Francis de Sales campus, a few projects were completed at the Oratory this summer.
In June, thanks to the initiative of a dedicated family, the gardens around the church underwent a complete facelift. New plantings of perennials flourished over the summer months, bringing a new verdant liveliness to the landscaping around the Oratory.
In July, a new lighting system was installed to highlight the church tower at night, making the illuminated tower as prominent a part of St. Louis’ nightscape as it is during the day.
In August, the crumbling concrete steps leading up to the convent, unsightly and a potential safety hazard, were torn down and rebuilt.