As a vibrant co-cathedral parish with almost 6,500 families and one priest, we rely on additional priests to assist with the six masses held every weekend. Meet three of The Basilica’s newer weekend presiders.
Fr. John Berger
Originally from North Dakota, Fr. John Berger moved west and was ordained for the Diocese of Honolulu in 1991. He served as Rector at the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu until 2013, when he suffered a dama
ging heart attack and blood clot. He received a medical retirement from that diocese and relocated to the Twin Cities to be near to his sisters.
Fr. Berger has always been drawn to helping people, and enjoys the unique opportunity afforded to parish priests to restore people's ability to participate fully in the life and liturgy of the Church. Through ministry and his own personal challenges, he understands how “the experiences of human frailty and disappointment can actually become opportunities for growth and, by the grace of God, segues to new perspectives and a renewed purpose.”
He occasionally attended The Basilica over the years during visits with his sisters, and got to know Fr. John Bauer through the bi-annual Cathedral Ministry Conference. Fr. Berger enjoys presiding at weekday and weekend Masses. “Though my time here has been relatively short,” he shares, “I have been glad to get to know parishioners, and to do what we in Hawaii call ‘talk story.’”
Fr. Peter Brandenhoff
Growing up in Duluth and then Fairmont, MN, St. John Vianney parish and school was a central part of Fr. Peter Brandenhoff’s life. It was there that his love of the liturgy grew as an altar server and budding organist. During his sophomore year of high school, a Rochester Franciscan sister gave him a rosary with the instruction: take this to the seminary with you. ”I still have that rosary,” he shares. “God truly does drop hints at unexpected moments.”
Fr. Brandenhoff was ordained for the Diocese of Winona and served as pastor for a number of parishes. IN addition he served as director of the diocesan Office of Liturgy and the Commission on Sacred Liturgy, as chaplain, and as a high school religion teacher. He later received a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Minnesota and worked in a metro area psychotherapy clinic for 18 years. He also served several churches in this Archdiocese as a weekend presider.
“The liturgy has been the highlight and greatest love of my ministry,” Brandenhoff says. “Being a weekend presider at The Basilica of Saint Mary is pure joy because the highest priority is given to the celebration of the liturgy, so beautifully enhanced by the sacred arts and the lively participation of the community.”
In his free time, Fr. Brandenhoff enjoys baking bread, cooking, and outdoor activities including camping, biking, cross-country skiing, and kayaking. He also is taking piano lessons and enjoys playing Scrabble.
Fr. Harry Tasto
Fr. Harry Tasto grew up on a western Minnesota farm near the South Dakota border. He was interested in building and architecture, but his parish priest (and the diocesan Vocations Director) was insistent that Harry go to the seminary.
His father’s cousin was the Bishop of Superior, WI, and Fr. Tasto was ordained in the parish church that had served three generations of his family. At his ordination almost 50 years ago, he invited the pastors from the seven Protestant churches to join in the procession with their spouses. One month later they formed a ministerial association, which still continues today.
Fr. Tasto came to the Twin Cities and earned graduate degrees in Speech and Education from the University of Minnesota. He also completed a doctorate in Communications and Preaching. While in graduate school, he worked at parishes in this Archdiocese and transferred to this Presbytery 36 years ago. He served as pastor at a number of parishes, including St. Timothy’s in Blaine for sixteen years.
Known as a man of a million hobbies, Fr. Tasto enjoys woodworking, home remodeling, vegetable and flower gardening, cooking, and baking, honing these skills over the years. He is also a Harley rider and avid bicyclist who has been bicycling around the world in almost twenty different countries. These international trips can average about 40 miles of bicycling per day.
He retired from active ministry almost four years ago and started presiding at the Monday and Tuesday noon Masses at The Basilica. Last fall, Fr. Tasto began helping as a weekend presider. “I am enjoying my ministry here,” Tasto shares, “and am grateful for the welcome and acceptance I’ve received. I hope that I may be here for years yet to come!”
By Melissa Streit, BASILICA Magazine Editor
Published BASILICA Magazine Spring 2017, A Revolution of Love and Tenderness