Our Lady of Ransom Oratory, located in the small hamlet of Guckeen in Southern Minnesota is one of a growing number of places where the Traditional Latin Mass is offered each Sunday. Guckeen lies one- half mile south off Interstate 90 between the two cities of Blue Earth and Fairmont.
The oratory occupies the structure which was home to Our Lady of Mercy Parish. When the parish was closed one year after its 2002 centennial, the parishioners met to decide the future of the church premises.
Out of the several options presented at this meeting, it was decided to entrust its future to a Catholic religious society known as “ The Confraternity of the Traditional Latin Mass,” which had been organized six years earlier and already had an oratory in Alpha, Minn. The Most Rev. Bernard Harrington of Winona gave his support to this undertaking, and designated it as a place where any of the faithful who desired to attend a Triaditional Mass could fulfill their Sunday obligation, and that only the Latin Mass would be offered.
During the later 1960s and early 1970s, Our Lady of Mercy Parish had undergone similar transformations as most other parishes in adapting to Liturgical practices. After the Confraternity acquired the use of the building, the furnishings which had supplanted the older appointments of the 1960s were replaced by the traditional setting with the high and side altars together with the Communion rail once again occupying their intended place. The resumption of the Traditional Mass after several weeks of preparation took place on the Third Sunday of Advent in the fall of 2003 and has continued on a weekly basis since then.
One of the greatest challenges which this present community faces in this rural setting is reaching out to more families who would be inclined to take advantage of attending the Latin Mass. Fortunately the consistency of our faithful small group has enabled the oratory to maintain a regular weekly schedule of Sunday Mass. May those who are still searching for a Latin Mass find this place and become a part of it.
For those of you who wish to show your gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI for issuing his apostolic letter, Summorum Pontificum, granting more generous celebration of the Traditional Mass (which took effect on September 14, 2007, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross) a Solemn High Mass will be offered on the same anniversary date, Sunday, September 14, at the Oratory of Our Lady of Ransom, Guckeen, Minn., beginning at 5: 30 in the afternoon.
A reception will follow the Mass in the oratory dining hall ( honoring the 50 years of service in the priesthood of Fr. Jerome Verdick) with refreshments for weary travelers.
Wanderer readers are especially welcome and if they require overnight accommodations, good motels are available in both nearby towns of Fairmont and Blue Earth.
To reach the church of Our Lady of Ransom if you travel west on Interstate Highway 90 through Blue Earth, head south on the Huntley- Guckeen exit no. 113, cross the railroad tracks, turn left on County Road 16 ( 110th Street), go a short distance to 323 Avenue, and the oratory will be in sight.
If you are traveling east on I- 90 through Fairmont, take the same Huntley- Guckeen exit no. 113 South and follow the directions above. The Wanderer Aug 21, 2008
I don't know what will raise more questions, "oratory" or "Guckeen?"
The Catholic Encyclopedia says "As a general term, Oratory signifies a place of prayer, but technically it means a structure other than a parish church, set aside by ecclesiastical authority for prayer and the celebration of Mass." See More
Guckeen is just one of those settlements that either were an organized community and lost that status like Arcola in Washington County or settlements, sometimes within larger communities, that never became an organized community on their own.