Michael Rustad's Memories

St. Anne's of St. Vincent, Minnesota

Submitted to website: 19 Sep 1999

 

This summer I drove past St. Anne's Catholic Church whichwas the venue for much of my earliest religious education. St. Anne's wasa Mission Church and in the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Crookston. TheBishop visited humble St. Anne's principally when there was a confirmationceremony. I remember my own Confirmation at age 13. Tom Baldwin, a familyfriend and good role model, was my sponsor. We each took a new name as wewere confirmed into the faith. My confirmation name was Gregory named afterSt. Gregory. I was of the generation in which the Mass was said in Latin.I still remember some of the Latin. Dominus vobiscum, Et cum spiritu tuo.It was years later that I learned that this was short for The Lord be withyou, And with thy spirit.

My favorite priest was our family friend Father AloysiusSeitz. Father Seitz was a bear of a man who smoked big cigars and drovelarge black cars usually Chrysllers. Father Seitz was a superb speaker.I still remember his admonition for his parish to reject the racism of GeorgeWallace. The year was 1964 and Wallace had considerable momentum and madea good showing in the primaries. I remember the ferocity with which FatherSeitz attacked the racism of Wallace. I think Father Seitz would have beenpleased that Wallace repented and apologized to the black community shortlybefore his death in the Fall of 1998.

Father Seitz died a couple of years ago but is alive inmy mind's eye. I can still hear him Gloria patrie, et Filio et SpirituiSancto. Sicut erat in principio et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum.Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. The CatholicChurch changed dramatically beginning in the early 1960s after Vatican II.Pope John XXIII laid the foundation for the abandonment of Masses in Latin.I remember missing the beauty of the Latin phrases: Kyrie eleison, Kyrieeleison, Kyrie eleison, Christie eleison, Christe eleison, Christe eleisonor Lord, have mercy upon us. Christ, have mercy upon us.

As a child, I did not know the meaning of many of the Latin phrases thatI can still remember to this day. However, the phrases had a beauty anda majesty that became demystified when the phrases were translated. I learnedmany of the Latin phrases because I was an altar boy. I was an altar boybefore my time. My friend David Boatz convinced me to tell Father Seitzthat I wanted to be an altar boy. Dave told him that I was fully trainedas an altar boy and knew my Latin. I had uncomprehending eyes and ears whenit came to the elaborate rituals of the Mass. My first Mass was a disaster.David's main objective was to make me laugh all of the way through the Mass.At the conclusion of the Mass, we went to the vestry and Father Seitz lambastedboth of us. I remember being surprised when he called David a horse's a--.I did become a proper altar boy and have many memories of serving diligentlyat St. Anne's. I remember once when poor Mrs. Friebohle sneezed and I wasable to catch the communion wafer before it hit the ground. In modern communionservices, the wafer is handed to the communicant. However, in those daysthe wafer came from the Priest's hands. The communicant would stick theirtongue out. I could have become a dentist because of the close view I hadof many communicants dentures, oral hygiene etc.

As I drove past St. Anne's this summer, I noticed thatthe old church building looked rather forlorn. The lawn was unkept and therewas an abandoned car in the yard. When St. Anne's was in its peak as a Missionchurch, the yard was beautifully manicured. I could faintly make out ourold designated parking space between two trees next to Hilson Stewarts.

I found St. Anne's to be a very entertaining church toattend. There were frequently squirrels or birds making their appearanceduring the service. I remember thinking that the appearance of a sparrowin flight during a discussion of the Holy Spirit was proof positive of theTrinity. As a very young children, I was fascinated by the collection basket.Bob Boatz, Hilson Stewart and my Dad frequently took the collection. I remembertrying to put a beloved toy car in the basket and on another snatching acoin out of the basket before becoming properly socialized.

As I drive past St. Anne's, my heart was warmed. Pax Dominisit semper vobiscum!

The peace of St. Anne's will always be with me. >The peace of St. Anne's will always be with me.