I have a soft spot for priests who were Lutheran converts who say the Traditional Latin Mass of the Roman Rite.
Hence, I ask your prayers for one. Fr. John E. Halborg died recently. I knew him only slightly. He helped out at Holy Innocents in Manhattan, a parish dear to my heart as an example of what can be done to rise, phoenix like, from the ashes of modern Catholic identity devastation.
A Requiem Mass with be celebrated in his suffrage on Tuesday 12 April at 7:00 PM at Holy Innocents in Manhattan (on 37th between Broadway and 7th).
Please pray for Fr. Halborg. Priests need prayers more than anyone and they are often forgotten.
I was sent this notice:
The Rev. Fr. John E. Halborg, one of the key celebrants of the Traditional Latin Mass in New York City, died on Easter Monday, March 28th, of this year. He was 86. His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, celebrated Fr. Halborg’s Funeral Mass on March 31st. The Rev. Fr. Christopher Salvatori, SAC, presided over his interment at St. Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx. There will be a Solemn Requiem Mass for the repose of his soul at the Church of the Holy Innocents in Manhattan tomorrow, April 12th, at 7:00 PM. After the Mass, there will be a Reception with refreshments in the Church Hall (some of which will honor Fr. Halborg’s Swedish heritage). His friends will have an opportunity to remember him at the Reception.
John Halborg was born in Rockford, Illinois on April 1, 1929 and baptized at Zion Lutheran Church that year. He graduated from Beloit College and Augustana Seminary and was ordained a Lutheran Minister in Los Angeles in 1954. As a Minister, he served congregations in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, as well as the Bronx and Manhattan in New York City.
In 1978, John Halborg converted to the Roman Catholic faith. Two years later, he was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New York. For most of the period of his active ministry for the Archdiocese, Fr. Halborg served as Parochial Vicar of the Church of St. Thomas Moore in Manhattan. In 1992, he published, along co-authors Jo Ann McNamara and E. Gordon Whatley, Sainted Women of the Dark Ages (Duke University Press), a collection of biographies of medieval women saints, many translated from the Latin for the first time.
Fr. Halborg retired in 2004. In his retirement, he became first the substitute and later the primary celebrant of the oldest weekly celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass in the Archdiocese of New York, the 10:30 AM Latin Mass at the Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in East Harlem. He was also one of the first priests to offer to celebrate the daily Latin Mass at the Church of the Holy Innocents when it began there in 2009. At Holy Innocents, Fr. Halborg proved to be one of the most reliable celebrants of the daily Latin Mass, arriving punctually every Tuesday without fail until his health began to fail. He was well-known for his quiet thoughtful sermons that reflected a rich intellectual life and made him a popular preacher. It was only during his last year or two that health problems impaired his mobility and forced him to give up celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass at Mt. Carmel and at Holy Innocents. For many years, Fr. Halborg was editor of the St. Ansgar Bulletin. He had a lifelong interest in hymnody and the liturgy and published articles on these subjects.
Please take a moment today or tomorrow to pray for the happy repose of his soul.
Sainted Women of the Dark Ages is a wonderful book. I am sorry to hear that its author has passed away, but glad to hear that he lived and died well.
Priests like Father Halborg are a truly uplifting factor in my spiritual thoughts, may he rest in peace.
I met Fr. John in 1977, when he was still a Lutheran pastor: I had seen an advertisement for a translation from Swedish which he had done of a booklet I was desirous to read, and came down from New Haven to get a copy from him. Over the years we came to be good friends: we met up in Sweden in 1982 (when he was supplying as a priest for a month in Visby, on the island of Gotland), we travelled together in Italy in 1983, he came to visit me in Wales in 1986, and we travelled together in England in 1989 (among other things, searching out the Victorian graves of some of his maternal ancestors in eastern London). He officiated at my wedding in 1990, and baptized my eldest son in 1992. He was a learned man, and had, at times, something of a “prickly” disposition, but he was a firm friend. His two last “declining” years were a great trial to him, but I was pleased to be able to visit him for the last time on Palm Sunday, and in effect, although he seemed at that time to be on the mend, to bid him Adieu.