ST. John the Baptist PROJECT UPDATES


Completed Sanctuary Renovation





Video Tour (9/21/18)

Watch Parish Trustee and Campaign Co-chair, Barb Thomas, give us a sneak peak into the construction progress! Watch the YouTube video by clicking on the picture below.

Logistics of Mass in the Gathering Place (8/18/18)


Thank you again to all of our Ushers, Lectors, Altar Servers, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, and Parishioners for going with the flow!

As a Catholic at Mass, do you ever feel like you're doing Catholic aerobics? I'm so used to genuflecting, I even have been known to accidentally genuflect at a movie theater! So when do we sit, stand, kneel and genuflect? Mass in the Gathering Place requires us to do things a little differently. Here are some points I presented in my homily:

1. We will utilize Worship Aids with the music printed instead of hymnals. You will receive those as you enter the Gathering Place for Mass. You may also pick up a Liturgy of the Word book to follow along with the readings and Mass parts if you so choose. *Please return those to the wicker baskets at the end of Mass.

2. There are several places for wheelchair seating, as well as the red larger chairs in the back row for persons with disabilities. As always, the front row will also be for those who need extra assistance.

3. PLEASE PLEASE reserve the back section of four rows for those who come late to Mass. It would be much less disruptive for the late-comers to sit there. Of course, please make sure to show up before Mass begins.

4. During the Offertory, we have Ushers pass around the baskets for your monetary donations. You will also notice outside on the sidewalk, you can drop off your ICA food donations in the shopping cart and your baby items in the basket.

5. During the Eucharistic Prayer when the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, you are welcome to remain standing or kneel. Now, we do not have kneelers, so do what is comfortable for YOU. If you unable to stand or kneel for that length of time, feel free to sit.

6. During the Consecration when the priest genuflects, please make a profound bow. Something very important, holy and special is happening right here!

7. During Communion, everyone will come down the center aisle. Ushers will dismiss the main sections first, followed by the side rows (by the windows and kitchen). Anyone coming up from the cry room downstairs will then go next. And lastly, the Ushers will dismiss the back section.

8. There is a Cry Room. It is located downstairs in the Lower Gathering Place Room 2 (which is also the Confessional during confession times). Audio and live-feed video are playing during Mass. *Please note this is a designated space for families with young children. It is not meant to be overflow seating. There are always PLENTY of seats available in the front of the church. Ushers will assist in finding seats for everyone.

9. Thank you for your patience during this project! Please let us know any concerns and if you have any questions during this renovation process, we have set up an email address to assist you. Inquiries can be sent to Parish Trustee and Campaign Co-chair, Barb Thomas, at Please know of my prayers for you and your family.

God Bless,

Rev. Alex B. Carlson


It's About To Happen; It's About To Become A Reality!!! (8/2/18)

At long last we will be starting construction on the renovation of the church on Monday, August 6th. What an exciting time for our parish!!! 

This upcoming weekend of August 4th and 5th will be the last celebration of Masses in the church, until the renovation is complete, scheduled for late fall. I would like to address some questions that we anticipate will come up.

Where will Mass be held during the construction?
   -All Weekend Masses will be held in the Gathering Place. We will have seating capacity with at least 300 seats, which should be sufficient for most Masses. This will include handicap seating as well.

Why not have Mass in the gym during this time?
   -The Gathering Place is better suited for handicap accessibility, has more restrooms, and has better systems in place to control the temperature, as there is no air conditioning in the gym. 

What changes will there be to the liturgy?
    -We will be using worship aids instead of hymnals for our music. The worship aids will be available to you as you walk into the Gathering Place. We will have the Liturgy of the Word books available on a back table for you to pick up if you want to follow along with the readings.
    - The only Species of the Eucharist will be the Body of Christ. Due to limited space, as well as being on carpet, the Blood of Christ will not be distributed. Parishioners with celiac disease should contact Fr. Carlson to discuss arrangements while we are in the Gathering Place.
    -Due to limited space in the rows of chairs, we will not have an offertory procession while Mass is celebrated in the Gathering Place. Baskets will be passed for monetary offertory gifts. Additional receptacles will be placed at the entrance to the Gathering Place for food for ICA Food Shelf and baby items for South West Options for Women Life Care Center. 
    - During the months that we are celebrating Mass in the Gathering Place, it is acceptable to stand or kneel during the Eucharistic Prayer, according to each person's comfort and ability.

What about Daily Mass, the Adoration Chapel, and the Confessional?
  -Not everyone may know that we are fortunate to have two large meeting rooms in the basement level of the Gathering Place, the basement also has additional restrooms. Lower Gathering Place Room 1 will be utilized as our adoration chapel during construction; this too will have handicap seating available. Depending on the noise from the construction going on in the church, daily Mass will either be held in the Upper Gathering Place or Lower Gathering Place. The confessional will be set up in Lower Gathering Place Room 2, with the same confession times we currently have.

Do I have to remember all of these details as we move to new spaces in the next few weeks?
   -No. We realize that these descriptions represent a lot of information. You do not have to remember it all.  We will have ushers and greeters on hand at all of the Masses to help direct you and to answer your questions.

We have tried to think of every potential issue that may arise with Mass being in the Gathering Place, and have tried to address the issues. Despite all of this preparation, we still want to ask for your patience and cooperation in the coming weeks. I know that there will be some “hiccups” along the way, that we cannot foresee. However, I believe that having Mass in the Gathering Place will be a beautiful experience for our parish, and hopefully one day we will speak about it as joyfully as I have heard parishioners speaking about having Mass in the basement of the school in the 1950’s. 

If you have any questions during this renovation process, we have set up an email address to assist you. Inquiries can be sent to Parish Trustee and Campaign Co-chair, Barb Thomas, at Please know of my prayers for you and your family.
God Bless,
Rev. Alex B. Carlson


Photo 1: Gathering Place where Mass will be celebrated         

Photo 2: Lower Gathering Place Room 1 which will be the Adoration Chapel


Church Renovation Happenings: Removing the Altar (7/12/18)

What happened to the old altar?
On Sunday Archbishop Hebda celebrated the last Mass on the altar, and in turn decreed it permanently for profane use, according to Canon 1212 of the Code of Canon Law. Sunday afternoon we removed the relic from the altar, which will be installed in our new altar. Unfortunately, the relic had no identification of what saint it is, so that is still a mystery. On Monday we broke down the altar into pieces and buried it at the cemetery.

Why was the altar buried and not reused as an altar or something else?
With the renovation plans that we have in place, the current altar does not fit the design, nor would it be practical for another church to use the altar, due to its weight, etc. In consultation with the Archdiocese and other priests, we discerned that the best option would be to bury the altar, as we do with other sacred objects as well. It would not be appropriate to use the stone for anything else but an altar.

Where did the “temporary” altar come from?
The temporary altar was donated to us from St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Kelliher, MN. I actually found it while playing pool in the basement of the rectory while on my way to Lake of the Woods. The altar was in rough shape, but I thought that we could make it useable again, while we continue to have Mass in the church and soon in the Gathering Place. I enlisted the help of Jack Jasper and Mary Stumpfl to “touch up” the altar, and they went above and beyond anything that I could have imagined. They have made it a truly beautiful altar, as many parishioners have already mentioned. A special thanks to both of them for their dedicated service.

Project Plans


The new sanctuary layout will feature a 4 ft deep baldacchino over the altar of repose, a new altar of sacrifice engraved with Ecce Agnus Dei (Behold the Lamb of God), a walk-in ambo, new presiders' chairs, and new statues of the Holy Family. The original tabernacle and crucifix will be reused in the new sanctuary. The new sanctuary will also feature a handicapped accessible ramp access along the south side. 


Main Entrance

The main entrance to the church will be through the Gathering Place. In the back of church, you will now find a permanent baptismal font, with full-immersion capacity, the choir area, featuring a new digital organ, and removable overflow seating.



Adoration Chapel

The expanded adoration chapel will have increased seating capacity and feature both the Holy Family relief statues from the original 1st Street church and angel statues donated by Ernie and Mary Anne Pivec in memory of their children. 




Floor Plan

Progression of the Stained Glass Windows

The design of the 9 stained glass windows has been a beautiful process of studying the life of St. John the Baptist through sacred Scripture. Much like the artistic process for any work of art, the windows have undergone several stages of design and redesign. Here we would like to share with you a glimpse into the progression to the final rendering of the life of St. John the Baptist in stained glass, which is being produced by Gaytee-Palmer Stained Glass, and will be part of the church renovation project scheduled for completion this December.

1. The Angel Gabriel Appeared to Zechariah (Luke 1:5-15)
2. The Visitation (Luke 1:39-45)
3. The Birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:57-80)
4. John the Baptist Preaching in the Desert (Matthew 3:1-5, Mark 1:4-8, Luke 3:1-18)
5. The Baptism of the Lord (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22, John 1:28-34)
6. Behold the Lamb of God (John 1:29)
7. John the Baptist Preaches to Herod  (Matthew 14:4, Mark 6:18, Luke 3:19)
8. The Beheading of John the Baptist (Matthew 14:8-10, Mark 6:27)
9. The Burial of John the Baptist (Matthew 14:12, Mark 6:29)

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3