Traditional Latin Mass Returns to Minnesota Parish

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by Max Douglas  •  •  December 22, 2016   

Fr. Joel Hastings: The spiritual impact from learning the Traditional Latin Mass has been "incredible"

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DULUTH, Min. ( - Despite hostility toward tradition by various high-ranking clerics, the Latin Mass is returning, this time at St. Benedict's Church in Duluth, Minnesota.

Church Militant spoke with the pastor of St. Benedict's, Fr. Joel Hastings, who said, "It has been a phased-in process. There have been many [within the parish] that have been very excited."

Starting this Advent, the regular parish schedule for Sunday Masses on the first, third and fifth Sundays of the month will be the Extraordinary Form in Latin; second and fourth Sundays will be offered in the Ordinary Form in Latin.

A secular newspaper in Duluth picked up the story. "The people at St. Benedict's Catholic Church are worshipping like it's 1962."

Father Hastings told Church Militant that the spiritual impact on his life from learning the Traditional Latin Mass has been "incredible."

Speaking about the Second Vatican Council, Fr. Hastings said the changes were so "swift and dramatic" that people lost "what it means to worship." Before coming to St. Benedict's in July 2015, Fr. Hastings himself solely offered the post-conciliar form of the Mass.

Many clerics, including traditionally minded Cdl. Raymond Burke and Cdl. Robert Sarah, have spoken against man-centered liturgies. Cardinal Burke recently called for the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin to offer Masses ad orientem, or facing East, exclusively.

"We are called to worship and serve God," Cdl. Burke said, "we are called to make Christ, not ourselves, the center of our lives."

Father Hastings has credited his predecessor at St. Benedict's for introducing ad orientem worship back in 2010. When Fr. Hastings arrived in July 2015 he said, "I for my part had to learn. I had to be inspired to pray the Mass this way."

Father Hastings was trained to offer the Traditional Liturgy by the Canons of St. John Cantius in Chicago. Despite already earning a Master's Degree in Liturgy from Mundelein Seminary, Fr. Hastings said within the short time period spent with the canons in Chicago, his understanding of the Liturgy was deepened and broadened.  

While attending a Missa Cantata at St. John Cantius, Fr. Hastings remarks he had a moment when he knew he would offer the traditional Mass for his parishioners despite having doubts. "I was very moved by it, to the point where I found myself praying: OK, Lord, if you want me to be the guy in Duluth, please help me out with this."

Shortly after learning to offer the usus antiquior, Fr. Hastings introduced a traditional Low Mass on Wednesdays to get parishioners accustomed to the preconciliar rite.

Saint Benedict's is now offering more catechesis on the deep and sometimes hidden meanings in the traditional liturgy. Father Hastings told Church Militant, "First and foremost, worship is about God."


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