Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Posted in General on April 9, 2011
Priest retreat

Canon Law stipulates that every priest must make an annual retreat to renew his interior life. This year was, however, the first time that all the priests of the American province of the Institute made their annual retreat together. And their retreat master was none other than our founder and Prior General, Monsignor Gilles Wach.

For five early spring days, St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis hosted fifteen Institute priests from the American province and beyond, as well as some priest friends who are spiritual affiliated with the Institute, for a series of spiritual instructions delivered by Monsignor Wach. The priests were amply lodged in the rectory and in the former convent adjacent to the house. The faithful of the Oratory were amazed to see all the altars of the church in use throughout each morning for the offering of Holy Mass. Vespers and Compline were chanted every evening. The retreat concluded on Thursday with a Solemn Votive Mass of Jesus Christ Eternal High Priest celebrated by Monsignor Wach. On this occasion, Father Jean-Pierre Hermann of Belgium was received as an affiliate priest of the Institute. Mr. Francis Bennell received the cassock as an Institute oblate, and one of the Oratory families in St. Louis received the Cross of St. Francis de Sales, thus becoming members of the Society of the Sacred Heart.

The retreat was a poignant reminder that the Canons of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest are called to a common life founded on the solemn celebration of the liturgy. No retreat is more suited to our vocation than five days spent together in community under the direction of our superior. Although the urgent needs of the American apostolate require that our priests spend most of their time in small communities or even alone for the time being, it is a great encouragement to know that retreats and other community exercises will be a regular part of their priestly life. The Canons and affiliate priests of the American province are deeply grateful to Monsignor Wach for his fatherly care.

Old altar serversSt. Francis de Sales' servers, 1917

The visit of our Prior General was also the occasion to inaugurate the special attire adopted by servers in the Institute's apostolates around the world: the blue cassock and shoulder cape, together with the cross bearing the crest of the Institute. The blue color manifests the consecration of the Institute to Mary Immaculate. Such attire, which has been inspired by the choir habit of the members of the Institute, is very similar to the server attire traditionally worn by altar boys in many places, including St. Francis de Sales Oratory (picture at left dates from 1917). The Institute is happy to restore this long-established custom which contributes to its worldwide family spirit.

Click the images below to enlarge them.

Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis
Priests' Retreat in St. Louis