Saints Peter and Paul Church was named after the Feast of Sts Peter and Paul, which was observed on July 1,1984, the day the parish was founded. A mobile home, which served as a rectory, was set on a previously purchased five-acre parcel of land west of the elementary school. Fr. Nicholas Zimmer was appointed by Bishop Speltz as the first pastor. Sunday mass was celebrated in the Braham High School and daily mass was held in the rectory. In September 1985 the Braham Evangelical Lutheran Church burned so they were also using the high school building on Sundays. This was the formation of a Braham Thanksgiving Service and continued with the participation of several other area churches.
The first parish council consisted of two trustees, Fran Nordeen and Kenneth Ethen, as well as, Joseph Rajkowski, Henry Hasser and LaVerne Anderson. The first baptism was that of Jammie Johnson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Johnson on July 8,1984.
Religious educations classes (CCD) began in the fall of 1984. They met in the elementary and high school buildings. The teachers were Sandy White, May Kay Bodeen, Geneva Fix, Jan Sward, Kathy Anlauf, Roberta Bistodeau, Judy Torgeson, Carol Faber, Janice Neville and Joan Shockman.
Early in 1985 a Women’s Group was organized. All the women of the parish are members and assigned to a circle based on geographical area. The first officers were Arlene Katchmark, Barb Hilson, Evie Maslow and Debbie Brokke. The Women’s group caters funeral luncheon for our parish members. They also hold annually A Salad Luncheon held every summer which draws a crowd from the Braham area.
The parish council chose a building committee including Mary Gelhorn, Thomas Hilson, Marie Meyer, Al O’Brien and Mark Vidor on May 1,1985. In early 1986, a twelve-acre parcel of land was purchased and became the present site of the building, which is the church, rectory and parish hall and the adjacent parish cemetery. Ground breaking was held on April 13,1986. It was first used on October 25,1986 for a luncheon after the funeral of Arlene O’Brien. The next day it was used for a chicken dinner and bazaar. The community welcomed the parish as over 600 meals were served and a profit of $5,500 was realized. Though still incomplete, the first mass was celebrated on December 21,1986. Father Zimmer and his housekeeper, Judy Schneider, moved into the rectory on June 18,1987. The building was gradually completed as funds became available. The total cost was $690,000 for building and furnishings. Bishop Jerome Hanus dedicated the building on June 19,1988.
The Knights of Columbus were started in the parish on April 1,1989. These men continue to promote local, state and national service projects in the name of our parish. The Knights of Columbus are known for their sweetcorn that they grow on parish grounds. They along with Sts. Peter & Paul Women’s group are seen of Friday nights during Lent working together hosting the well-known Annual Fish Fry’s and Basket Auction
Music for our liturgy began with an adult choir under the direction of Jeanne Dahlquist. It continued to be a fundamental ministry under the direction of Joni Nelson. It was enriched by adding a children’s choir and the use of the projection screen above our altar.
Judy Schneider, along with Florence Kleinschmidt, shared their talents and flowers with our parish and, later, Kathy Anlauf and Jessica Anlauf provided beautiful arrangements and decorations.
In 1995, Barb Goor donated money in memory of her husband Don, which was used to have a fresco painted by the famous Charles Kasper. It remains in the entry with the words “Come to Me.” Many area art classes and interested people came to see the work in progress and admired its beauty and message. Original sculptures and paintings by resident artist Anna Mae McCallum are visible throughout the church and add a reflective awe to our sacred space.
Our parish community has sent many youths on pilgrimages to see the Pope. They have represented our parish at World Youth Days in Denver, Rome, Toronto and Germany.
In July 2001 Father Zimmer retired and Deacon Don Tzinski joined our parish. He was the first deacon in the diocese to become a Parish Coordinator. Under the leadership of Deacon Don and his wife Jan, many new activities and organizations were started, including rosary making for the missions, a Squires group and a Little Flowers group for the youth, a prayer group for all, as well as, a parish library.In the spring of 2003 Deacon Don introduced plans to make a shrine on the church property-The Mercy Walk: Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy. The shrine was completed and on October 10,2003, Bishop John Kinney came to bless the Mercy Walk.
After five years of faithful service by Deacon Don and Jan, and daughter Clare, the Bishop appointed Deacon Tom Pinataro as the second parish life coordinator on August 1,12006. Deacon Tom, his wife Lucy and three sons served our parish until Father Donald Wagner was appointed pastor of the Tri-Parish of Braham, Cambridge and Isanti in 2013.
In 2007 we commemorated Father Nicholas Zimmer’s 50 years an ordained priest with a special mass followed by a reception in Zimmer Hall. We were truly blessed to have Father stay in Braham where he remains an active, visible reminder of our roots as a faith community.
The Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul and the Sacrament of Confirmation were celebrated on June 27,2009 followed by a special catered banquet to mark the 25th Anniversary of our parish.
Fr. Zimmer planned and included a parish cemetery within the shadow of the church. Connie Hendren DeForest was the first person buried on April 17,1986, four days after we broke ground for our church building. The Knights of Columbus erected a Shrine for the Unborn. Each Memorial Day (weather permitting), a mass is offered in front of the shrine and the Braham VFW have added our cemetery to their area cemetery commemorative honor guard salute.
For over 15 years we have been host to the Inter-Denominational Hospitality through the New Pathways Program. We regularly provided shelter, food and fellowship to families who are experiencing homelessness.
Our first parish festival was held on September 19, 2009, which included a live auction, farmer’s market, white elephant sale, bake sale, bounce house, dunk tank, DJ Karaoke, beer garden and pork chop dinner. We continued this event on the third Saturday in September with the leadership of Mike Sullivan and committee and have added a raffle and a Downhill Derby for children and adults.
God has blessed Sts. Peter and Paul Parish with many new families over the years and with the support of time, talents and treasures from members, friends and the area community