A field trip to St. Augustine’s in S. St. Paul, MN

On Sunday morning I stuck my head into St. Augustine’s parish in South St. Paul.  This is the parish where the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis had approved the celebration of the older form of Mass, many years ago. 

Now, under Summorum Pontificum, my friends Fr. John Echert and the assistant Fr. Bryan Pedersen with the help of Fr. Robert Altier celebrate the older form.  I have written of Fr. Echert here and here.  I have written of Fr. Altier as well, for example, here.

I used to help out there years ago, and I have my own memories.  However, I wanted to see what was going on today.

I figured there were about 250-300 people present, though I was told the crowd was down a little.

There were, as you might expect, rose vestments, though they were a bit on the pinker side.


I saw a lot of people I knew, for example, families and individuals who once might have frequented St. Agnes and other sound parishes in the area.  Apparently they are looking more for the Extraordinary Form.

After Mass Fr. Pedersen was training young men who will be serving the solemn liturgies of the Triduum.

I simply took a pew in the very back and watched and listened.

There were, in the back, many young families with several children.  They were very well behaved indeed.  The people were quite devout.   After the consecration there was some organ music until the end of the Canon, which I could have done without I think: silence is good.

It was a very nice glimpse into a normal parish where normal people can have the older form of Mass normally.

BTW… since the hideous red shag carpet was stripped from the sanctuary, the old ironing-board altar never found its way back to its place.  They use the main altar for all Masses now, older and newer.

Wonderful things are happening there.

Brick by brick.

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  1. “I saw a lot of people I knew, for example, families and individuals who once
    might have frequented St. Agnes and other sound parishes in the area.
    Apparently they are looking more for the Extraordinary Form.”

    Dear Father, why isn’t St. Ages offering the Extraordinary Form? It would be
    the logical home of the EF in St. Paul, MN.

  2. Ray from MN says:

    The Extraordinary Form of the Mass is offered at St Augustine: 11:30 a.m. Sundays; also Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:00 a.m.; 7:30 p.m. on First Fridays and Holy Days of Obligation and First Saturdays at 10:00 a.m.

    Father Echert is also pastor of Holy Trinity in South St Paul where the Extraordinary Form is offered: Mondays and Wednesdays at 5:15 p.m. and Fridays (except First Fridays) at Noon

  3. Patronus says:

    Why must St. Agnes offer the XF? If they choose to, fine. But it should be seen as an imperative. St. Agnes is part of a very important project – the elevation of the ars celebrandi in the OF.

  4. TJM says:

    I was very impressed by the youth of the congregation. A sharp contrast to the double-knit dinosaurs hankering for the 1960s over at the other
    parish in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area highlighted on this website. Tom

  5. Greg Smisek says:

    Fr. John Ubel, pastor of St. Agnes in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the deacons of the parish have been giving a series of talks on the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, including How-to information for those in the pew. The last talk will be after Stations of the Cross this Friday.

    The intention is to introduce an usus antiquior Mass into the schedule in the coming months. Currently the Saturday morning Mass is a sung Mass in Latin and the 10:00 a.m. Sunday Mass is a solemn sung Mass in Latin, both using the 2002 Missal.

  6. Mark says:

    I believe that St. Agnes will be offering the EF in the near future. My understanding is that it will be a weekday Mass on Saturday mornings.

    This is good especially because it shows that St. Agnes is not presenting their reform of the reform style liturgies as being in opposition to, or to the exclusion of, the Roman Mass as it was handed down prior to the Second Vatican Council.

  7. John says:

    This weekend you can come visit your friend Fr. Cloutier at St. Walburga’s, Sunday afternoon @1 p.m. BTW, Fr. Echert is in need of prayers as some of the parishoners from Holy Trinity upset about the loss of their altar table have complained and are forming a petition to the Archbishop seeking his removal.

  8. RichR says:

    John, if this is true, then it is sad. I think this deserves some big attention online…….

  9. Andrew says:

    That is terrific.

    Didn’t Fr Aliter have some problems with the archbishop of the Twin Cities, Archbishop Harry Flynn? I seem to remember there were some restraints placed on his ministry.

    I look forward to the full appointment of the coadjutor, Archbishop John Nienstedt, who is very good.

  10. btb says:

    I was visiting my folks in Minneapolis over Christmas and for the first time made the peregrination to St. Augustine for the midnight mass on Christmas eve, having learned of the existence of the Traditional Latin Mass celebrated there on this web site. Needless to say, it was a wonderful experience and I hope to attend again the next time I am in town.

  11. david andrew says:

    I find myself giggling a wee bit regarding the references to the EF at St. Agnes. Here’s why. Shortly after the MP was issued, I had a casual meeting with a highly-placed member of the archdiocesan staff. I asked if there would be any statements forthcoming from H.E. Harry Flynn regarding its implementation in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I wasn’t surprised to hear the party line: “We already have the N.O. in Latin at St. Agnes, and the indult Mass (note, he hadn’t figured out that the MP removed the need for an indult) at St. Augustine. I don’t think people who go to either really can tell the difference anyway.”

    I personally didn’t suspect that St. Agnes would move in the direction of the EF, after I had purely by accident met the woman who trains up the altar boys there. She said during a pleasant impromptu tour of the church that the retraining needed for the EF would be formidable, and at that point (this was last fall) she didn’t think it was going to happen. (I should point out that she was not being resistant to the idea, only remarking on the careful long-term planning that would be needed to do it right).

    Surprise, surprise!

  12. John says:

    if this is true, then it is sad. I think this deserves some big attention online…….

    Sad but true. There was a meeting of the parish last night and there will be further discussion tomorrow.

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