Parishioners and visitors to All Saints in Minneapolis gathered after Mass recently to welcome Father John Berg, a Bloomington native who now heads a group of priests dedicated to offering the traditional Latin Mass.
The priests, members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter established by Blessed Pope John Paul II in 1988, serve around the world, including in 34 U.S. dioceses. Two priests of the fraternity — Father Peter Bauknecht and Father Simon Harkins — began serving at All Saints in July.
Father Berg, who lives in Fribourg, Switzerland, is serving his second six-year term as the fraternity’s superior general, often traveling around the world to visit its 250 priests and apostolates. He offered a solemn high Mass at All Saints Aug. 11 and then met with worshipers in the parish center.
Archbishop John Nienstedt accepted the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter’s offer to serve after consulting with All Saints’ parish trustees, parish pastoral council and archdiocesan presbyteral council, a representative body of priests from across the archdiocese. The parish had been without a pastor for more than a year.
“The service that we typically provide is what we’re doing here at All Saints, which is to provide a parochial life for those who desire to have the sacraments in what we now call the extraordinary form,” said Father Berg, a graduate of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary School in Bloomington and Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield.
“We are priests who live in community,” Father Berg said. “Our priests are expected to get up in the morning and pray together, pray together at night and have meals together. So, it’s a more structured life than maybe a diocesan priest has.”
In addition to celebrating the Mass using the extraordinary form of the liturgy according to the liturgical books of 1962, the priests of the fraternity also celebrate the other sacraments using the extraordinary form.
“All of those differ a little bit in the extraordinary form,” Father Berg said. “It’s not just a question of Latin, but also a lot of the symbols, moments of silence and things like that.”
A priest of the archdiocese, Father Jim Livingston, continues to offer the Mass in the ordinary (English) form on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings.
Taking a look back
The history of the Mass using the extraordinary rite in the archdiocese dates back to Archbishop John Roach, who granted permission for it to be celebrated Augustine in South St. Paul on Dec. 8, 1984, in response to a petition from 500 parishioners requesting a Latin Mass.
A year later, he granted an indult to St. Augustine parish, allowing for the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass on the feast of the Immaculate Conception each year and the first Friday of each month.
In 1988, Pope John Paul II urged bishops to be generous in granting dispensations for the rite to be celebrated. Later, Archbishop Harry Flynn allowed the rite to be used for other sacraments as well.
And, in 2007, Pope Benedict XVI, in the document “Summorum Pontificum,” allowed priests to offer the Latin Mass at their parishes as part of their regular schedule in consultation with the bishop.
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter does not serve in any other parishes in the archdiocese, although traditonal Latin Masses are celebrated on a regular basis at a few others, including Holy Trinity in South St. Paul (Holy Trinity and St. Augustine campuses) and St. Agnes in St. Paul.
Father Berg said that, unlike a territorial parish, which is defined by a specific geographical boundary, All Saints serves those throughout the archdiocese who desire to celebrate the sacraments using the extraordinary form. The parish will also offer faith formation for both children and adults.
“There will be a lot of what you typically find in other parishes,” he said, “not only preparation for the sacraments, but also ongoing education at every level.”
“As members of the fraternity, we live with the conviction that the entire effectiveness of our apostolate flows from the Sacrifice of Our Lord, which we daily offer,” Father Harkins said. “Our goal for the parish of All Saints is that through that selfsame sacrifice and the treasures of Catholic culture — whether liturgical, educational or artistic — we may draw all people, young and old, to an ever-deepening love of Christ and his Church.”
Both priests serving the parish are newcomers to the archdiocese.
Father Harkins was born in Glasgow, Scotland, and worked for 10 years as a civil engineer before joining the Fraternity of St. Peter at its seminary in Denton, Neb., in 2003. He was ordained in 2010. He served as chaplain at St Gregory’s Academy in Elmhurst, Pa., and then as assistant pastor of North American Martyrs parish in Seattle, Wash., before coming to All Saints.
Father Bauknecht, pastor of All Saints, was born and raised in northern Wisconsin. He spent seven years in the Navy as an aviation electronics technician with tours in Japan, Spain and Diego Garcia. He entered the fraternity’s seminary in Denton and was ordained in 2010. He previously served in the Archdiocese of Edmonton and the Diocese of Calgary, both in Alberta, Canada, and the Diocese of Dallas.
Read more about the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter online.
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