To the crib of the Oratory Saint-Joseph

News 23 December, 2017
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  • photo Courtesy of the Centre of archives and documentation Roland-Gauthier of the Saint-Joseph oratory, The crib outside of the oratoire Saint-Joseph, December 1950, 237c-1 creche_ext. Photo Ben Pelosse

    Centre d’histoire de Montréal, in collaboration

    Saturday, December 23, 2017 18:52

    Saturday, December 23, 2017 18:52

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    To the crib of the Oratory Saint-Joseph

    It was in December 1950 that the first creche outdoor larp is fitted to the oratoire Saint-Joseph. Lulled by the music of the Gloria in excelsis Deo, the faithful come to see the grotto of the Nativity to the output of the midnight mass. On Christmas day, Archbishop Paul-Émile Léger blesses the crib during a ceremony outside broadcast on CKAC. Despite the frigid weather, over a hundred children pay homage to the Child Jesus lying in his manger. This initiative of the committee of the Christian Christmas has the objective of rechristianiser the feast of Christmas, many of the faithful have noticed a drop of devotion since the end of the war. The tradition of christmas cribs is then put forward. Begun in 1223 by st. Francis of Assisi, this practice was widely disseminated in Europe, but still relatively new in Quebec. Gradually, the artists, but also school pupils, start to manufacture of santons, each with its own personal touch.

    A crypt centenary

    “It was like a small family,” wrote one of the masons who worked on the construction of the crypt, there are more than a hundred years. Regularly visiting the job site, the brother André watches over all, ensuring that they pay the workers even the donations collected at the door. Started in 1914, the project of construction of the crypt church was intended to accommodate more effectively with the many visitors who want to gather in the presence of brother André. Inaugurated on December 16, 1917 by Archbishop Bruchési, the crypt is receiving good crowds for the Festival of corpus christi and the feast of the Sacred Heart and the feast of the Work. When it comes to the death of brother André on January 6, 1937, nearly one million of the faithful marched to the crypt for a last tribute. Located today in the wing side of the crypt, the votive chapel of the tomb of brother André is decorated with ten thousand lanterns, and votive offerings, thanking the holy man for his miraculous healings.

    The Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal

    Photo courtesy of the Centre of archives and documentation Roland-Gauthier of the Saint-Joseph Oratory, The petits chanteurs du Mont-Royal in the crib, inside of the Oratory, 1957, 286i-8 PCMR_creche

    That would be the holidays without Christmas carols ? Overcoming the crypt, the basilica housed in the dome was finally inaugurated in 1955. It lacks a thing to the Saint-Joseph oratory to enliven the scene : a chorus of children voices. In the spirit of charity that has always inspired the work of brother André, are orphans or children who come from homes very modest, who are chosen to be a part of it. Welcomed as residents until 1972, the boys receive a music education of high level, while following the regular school curriculum. As early as 1962, the choir gives performances outside of the oratory. In 1978, the Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal have the privilege of recording a Christmas concert at the Notre-Dame basilica with the famous Luciano Pavarotti. Having travelled throughout the world, recorded albums and performed with artists and orchestras of renown, les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal are today recognized as one of the best children’s choirs in North America.