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Fraternity of St. Peter Superior Offers Solemn High Mass at New FSSP Parish in Minneapolis

Fr. John Berg, assisted by Fr. Bauknecht (r) and Fr. Simon Harkins, FSSP

by Michael J. Matt POSTED: 8/15/13

Editor, The Remnant

Photos provided by John Hastreiter


The new FSSP pastor, Fr. Peter Bauknecht chants the Gospel

On Sunday August 11, 2013, some  400 Catholics from the St. Paul/Minneapolis Archdiocese packed the Church of All Saints in Northeast Minneapolis for a solemn high Mass offered by the superior general of the Fraternity of St. Peter, the Very Rev. John Berg—a Minnesota native.  There was standing room only in the old church, which until only recently had been selected to close its doors forever due to a dramatic decline in the number of parishioners. With the arrival of the FSSP, of course, that decision was rescinded.

Father Berg was assisted by the new pastor of All Saints, Fr. Peter Bauknecht, FSSP, and his assistant, Fr. Simon Harkins, FSSP, two young priests who have been laboring to get the new parish off the ground ever since they arrived in mid-July.

So far, so good.  The Mass was well attended, obviously, but what was so striking was the high number of children and large families on hand, which is evidently the main reason there is already talk of initiating a home-school co-op this fall and starting a choir and catechism classes, along with the full Mass and Sacraments schedule.

Of course, the usual boo birds are already out on the blogosphere firing up the crepehangers with horror stories about how All Saints will be “bi-ritual”, since the Archdiocese is still providing a priest to come in and offer the New Mass once a week.

Let's set the record straight.  Father Bauknecht is a capable and charitable young priest. The Church of All Saints has a few remaining parishioners who are not traditionalists, and Father has no intention of throwing them out on their ear. He’s working with the Archdiocese to care for these souls until other arrangements can be made. This, of course, is exactly what the virtue of Christian charity requires of a good priest, as he explores the ways and means of making the transition to an exclusively traditional parish. He himself is NOT offering the New Mass (and never has offered it!) nor is his assistant.

My own father used to say this:  “When the Latin Mass comes back we must be sure never to do to the Novus Catholics what was done to us.” The priests of the FSSP here in Minneapolis have a similar concern.  They are not bi-ritual, they are not making false compromises, and All Saints is for all practical purposes already a traditional Mass parish. I myself have been in contact with some of the Novus Ordo Catholics from All Saints, trying to do what I can to help them find a solution.

The priests of the Fraternity of St. Peter have come to St. Paul/Minneapolis because they were invited in by the large traditionalist community here. They did not accept that invitation as part of some nefarious plot to help shut down our thriving SSPX chapel, for example. In fact, the only traditional Mass centers that may feel a pinch since the arrival of the FSSP are the others in the area that are diocesan-approved.  In other words, the Traditional Mass is very popular here in St. Paul/Minneapolis with some six churches now offering the Traditional Latin Mass just in the metro area. The FSSP was invited into this diocese because the demand for the Latin Mass is just that high.  

In other words, this is all good news. There is no anti-SSPX conspiracy afoot.  In fact, I believe we may finally be moving past all that, not only here in St. Paul but all across the country. And this with good reason. People are frightened by the way things are going in our brave new world, and they’re seeing the need to unify wherever possible. The internecine squabbling among traditionalists is for the most part dying down as Catholics brace for persecution.

Personally, I’m grateful to God to live in a town where the SSPX is strong, where we have courageous diocesan priests who are fighting the good fight and offering the Latin Mass, and where the Fraternity of St. Peter has established a thriving traditional Mass center that can only benefit souls and the common good. From a traditional Catholic point of view, the Twin Cites are fast becoming the place to be.

For Remnant TV, we did a special report on the FSSP Mass last Sunday which included sidewalk interviews after Mass. I was struck by the number of Catholics new to Tradition in attendance and overwhelmed by the Mass they’d just witnessed.  With tears in their eyes, some of them expressed great joy at discovering the Mass of all time—and these are folks who never in a million years would have walked into a chapel of the SSPX.

In other words, God is good and the winds of change are still blowing in the direction of Tradition. We need to do everything possible to promote the Latin Mass.  Period!  If you prefer the SSPX for good and important reasons, fine!  Carry on.  If you prefer the FSSP, you’ll get no argument here. We can and should discuss our opinions of approved vs. unapproved Mass centers behind closed doors and amongst ourselves. These are important issues, but they need not be publicly debated at every opportunity. In public, traditionalists must remain outspoken advocates of the Latin Mass and the traditional Catholic restoration.  That’s what matters most. God in His grace and good time will see to the rest.

It is the old Latin Mass that matters. If that Mass and the thought of three fine young FSSP priests celebrating it at All Saints in Minneapolis—a church due to be shuttered forever just months earlier—doesn’t stir your Catholic soul then someone has already achieved remarkable success in robbing you of your sensus Catholicus.

If you hate the very sight of that Mass you have become at least to a degree, a self-loathing Catholic with a semi-Protestant worldview.

If you know nothing about that Mass, you must understand that it is the Mass of the saints, martyrs, virgins and doctors of the Church.  It is the Mass of your grandmother and hers and hers. It is your liturgical patrimony; it is your Catholic birthright; it is the great jewel of Christendom and the most beautiful thing this side of heaven. If you don’t know that Mass then you don’t yet know what it means to be truly Catholic because through no fault of your own, you have been separated from your Catholic roots by the very thing which should be the touchstone of the Catholic Faith: The Mass

Restore this Mass and Catholic identity will be restored along with it. Learn this Mass, love this Mass, and your faith will not fail you in the days and nights to come.  As the Catholics of the Western Uprising in England cried out over and over again as they gave their lives for this Mass—”It’s the Mass that matters!”

Anti-Catholic revolutionaries have always hated this Mass. Freemasons, tyrants and heretics outlawed it in 16th century England, deformed it in 17th century Germany, banned it in 18th century France, and crushed it in 20th century Mexico. Modernists even tried to abrogate it from the very heart of the Catholic Church after Vatican II. But they failed.

The old Mass has survived and is now available to millions, even as the whole world prepares for yet another persecution of all things Catholic. Pope Benedict XVI restored this Mass, and changed the course of history. Over our dead bodies will it be taken away from us and our children again. The future of the world and the salvation of our souls depend on the survival of the ancient Latin Mass of the Catholic Church. Why? Because lex orandi lex credendi. The law of prayer is the law of belief. How we pray is how we believe.  And everywhere where this Mass is celebrated no more the Faith is dying.



As the late William F. Buckley wrote of the Mass back in 1979, “As a Catholic, I have abandoned hope for the liturgy, which, in the typical American church, is as ugly and as maladroit as if it had been composed by Robert Ingersoll and H.L. Menchen for the purpose of driving people away. Incidentally, the modern liturgists are doing a remarkably good job, attendance at Catholic Mass on Sunday having dropped sharply in the 10 years since a few well-meaning cretins got hold of the power to vernacularize the Mass, and the money to scour the earth in search of the most unmusical men and women to preside over the translation. The next liturgical ceremony conducted primarily for my benefit, since I have no plans to be beatified or remarried, will be my own funeral; and it is a source of great consolation to me that, at my funeral, I shall be quite dead, and will not need to listen to the accepted replacement for the noble old Latin liturgy. Meanwhile, I am practicing Yoga, so that, at church on Sundays, I can develop the power to tune out everything I hear, while attempting, athwart the general calisthenics, to commune with my Maker, and ask Him first to forgive me my own sins, and implore him, second, not to forgive the people who ruined the Mass.”

Indeed, and let us see to it that their spiritual sons will not do so again.

Long live the Traditional Latin Mass of our fathers!

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