The Year of St. Joseph

01-31-2021Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

I would like to begin public parish devotions for the Year of St. Joseph proclaimed by Pope Francis. One of the special favors of this year is the availability of a plenary indulgence on every Wednesday of this special year granted for the recitation of prayers to St. Joseph. This weekend we have available in the narthex prayer cards with the Litany of St. Joseph in both English and Spanish. We will pray this litany publicly immediately after Mass every Wednesday evening. You can also pray the litany on your own at home or anywhere at any time on Wednesdays for the indulgence. Other days include the 19th of each month, as well as the Feast Days of St. Joseph on March 19 and May 1. I will continue to look for ways to observe this special year in our parish.

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January is a Special Pro-Life Time

01-24-2021Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

In my mind, January is a special pro-life time. The anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court, which removed all restrictions on abortion in our country, comes in January and has been marked by the annual March for Life held in Washington, DC every year since, no matter the weather or the conditions. Until this year...

With prudence, the organizers of the March for Life have decided to hold the events virtually this year because of the volatile situation in Washington. I applaud this decision, even though I have participated in the March numerous times, especially when I was involved in campus ministry.

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The One Thing Necessary - Prayer at the Feet of Jesus

01-17-2021Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

I have been slow to comment on the riot last week in Washington. I have been slow to react to many of the serious events going on in our world. I can assure you that I have been praying, and prayer is by far the most important thing that any of us can do. Daily personal prayer with the Lord Jesus must be the center of our lives.

I think that God is calling us to Himself. I think that God is allowing the consequences of our unfaithfulness to Him to play out so that we see where it leads. Without God, we are lost. We must not only do what He wills, but we must do it in the way He wills it. We have been far too willing to compromise with both the goals and the methods of this world. Both are poison.

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The Same, but Different!

01-10-2021Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

We are starting back in the new year with many things the same but also with some changes. Here are some reminders of things that are the same as before Christmas:

Weekend Masses Please sign up! There is overflow capacity in the gym for the 4:30pm Mass on Saturday as well as for the 11:00am Mass and 3 p.m. (Spanish) Mass on Sunday. Please note that there is also usually room at the 6:30pm (Spanish) Mass on Saturday as well as the 7:00am and 5:00pm Masses on Sunday.

Our pandemic precautions also remain in effect: masks and social distancing. Please be especially careful about crowding when exiting Mass.

Adoration resumes from Thursday morning to Friday morning Please sign up!

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To be the Place of Encounter with the Fullness of Jesus Christ in our Community

01-03-2021Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

This is the core purpose of Saint Rose of Lima Parish, and the pandemic has clarified the truth and necessity of this purpose. The hunger for Christmas Masses was a perfect example of the service and mission we accomplish here at Saint Rose. In these days when God's people need somewhere to turn, they have been turning here to us for their most fundamental needs. And we are blessed when that happens because we encounter Jesus in all who come in any need: spiritual, emotional, physical, psychological, intellectual, or any other human longing.

Thank you for allowing Saint Rose Parish to surrender ourselves to this core purpose of encounter with the person of Jesus. He invites us into His adoration of the Father, in union with the Holy Spirit. This adoration is what we are made for, and this is what we offer in this community. A lot of people are negative about the year 2020, but it has been a year of clarifying grace for Saint Rose of Lima Parish. I believe that we are more fully what we are supposed to be than ever before.

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Great Gratitude for Everything

12-27-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

I mean it. I am grateful for everything. The stresses of our times have helped me to find God in so many unexpected places and situations. And every time I have opened my eyes and found Him, I have been blessed. There have been many, many questions and even many tears in this year; and yet there have been more graces. Thanks be to God.

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A Different Christmas

12-20-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

I think that we can all agree that this will be a different Christmas. (There is not much that people are agreeing on right now so at least we have that!) Let's embrace the difference and find Jesus hidden in these days, as he was on the first Christmas. 

The Holy Family was being tossed about by the whims of the powers of this world. They had to travel to Bethlehem for a census ordered by the Roman emperor. After Jesus' birth, they had to flee as refugees to Egypt from the terror of King Herod. It was not a "normal" time for them at all. 

There are so many struggles that people are dealing with now: sickness, grief, depression, economic hardship, and uncertainties of all sorts. It will help if we remember that Jesus is with us in all of these things. He never leaves us, and he has experienced such struggles himself. This is one of the greatest joys of Christmas: God is with us. Emmanuel. 

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Urgent: Signing Up for Mass

12-13-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

As the pandemic continues to worsen in our area, it is vitally necessary for everyone to sign up for Mass so that we can observe proper social distancing in the church. Please always sign up for the Mass you plan to attend and arrive early so that proper seating can be found. If you find that one Mass is full, please select another one.

These instructions are especially necessary at the 8:30 and 9:45 a.m. Masses on Sunday morning because we cannot offer overflow capacity in the gym. PSR gathers and dismisses from the gym and so it is not available at those times. At these Masses, once we have reached capacity in the church we will have to close the church to additional entry.

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COVID, Once Again

12-06-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

Well, it has never really gone away, but it is with us more than ever now. I am grateful to God and to you that we have not suffered any serious outbreaks here in the parish, even though we continue to gather especially for Mass. Of course, our ultimate protection is God, but let's continue to do our part by wearing masks for any event at Saint Rose, in particular for Mass. Masks need to be worn over both the mouth and nose. Please also keep six feet of social distancing especially in the pews, and please practice hand hygiene. Because we are having capacity crowds at some Masses, we will begin opening up the gym for overflow. The Mass will be livestreamed and Holy Communion will be distributed in the gym. When the Mass attendants indicate that the church is at capacity please follow their directions about finding a place in the gym. I ask that you remember not to congregate in the church after Mass. These are small inconveniences in order to maintain the great blessing of public Masses!

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Stewardship

11-29-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

This parish amazes me for its generosity. We have had a number of opportunities recently to share with others who are in need, and Saint Rose has responded: the offerings for the Holy Land, for disaster relief, for seminarian education, as well as the food drive are but a few examples of this generosity.

I need to ask for your generosity again, as you are able: this time for the needs of the whole parish. Saint Rose has been able to keep operating without any major cuts throughout the pandemic, even though we have experienced some "dry" times of offertory collections over the summer. Here at the end of the year, you have the opportunity, if God has given you the ability, to put us back on our feet financially as a parish.

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More than Turkey!

11-22-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

I love the holiday of Thanksgiving mainly because I love the act of thanksgiving. Saying thank you is one of the most important things that we can do in all of our close relationships and especially in our relationship with God. Thanksgiving is one of the fundamental and necessary forms of prayer. During the pandemic, I also find thanksgiving to be a way to rise above the grind of Covid anxiety and fatigue.

How does thanksgiving help so much? It is really very simple. To give thanks you have to get out of yourself. Thanks is given to someone else. You have to be thinking of someone else. Getting out of ourselves is the fundamental spiritual struggle. It is what the devil cannot do. He cannot stop thinking about himself. That is hell!

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Fraternus and Fidelis, What's that?

11-15-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

What are these words? They are the names of our new youth groups for young men and women, beginning in sixth grade and continuing through high school. Fraternus means "brotherly", and Fidelis means "faithful." Fraternus encourages the involvement of fathers and other men, just as Fidelis includes mothers and other women in their programs. The idea is that these are young men and women in formation for Christian maturity and virtue. Models of that life are important to those in formation. 

I have had personal experience with these programs in other parishes, and I can personally endorse them as both solidly Catholic and fun. Yes, that is possible! I encourage all families and young people to explore Fraternus and Fidelis. You will not be disappointed.

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Parish Cemetery Visit and Blessing on November 14

11-08-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

Pope Francis has extended the plenary indulgence for visiting a cemetery and praying for the dead for the entire month of November. We will have a parish visit to Evergreen Cemetery on Saturday, November 14 at 1 p.m. to pray for the dead and to bless the graves of any loved ones buried there. We will pray for all the faithful departed wherever they may be resting awaiting the resurrection of the body at the Second Coming of the Lord! Please join us for another spiritual life experience as a parish.

Faithfully,

Fr. Baker

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For all the Saints!

11-01-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

The name of everyone in heaven begins with "S" for saint! That's right, there are nothing but saints in heaven, and you have to be one before you get in! So we had better get to work. Or rather we had better let God work on us because we will never do it on our own. If you die before you are a saint, then that's what purgatory is for, but I would rather go straight to heaven. Wouldn't you?

Even among Catholics, you sometimes run across the sentimental idea that everyone who dies goes straight to heaven. But "going to heaven" is not a trip with a destination. It is a way of being being a saint, that is. You can't fake being a saint! Either you love God with all your heart, soul, and mind or you don't. Our hearts, minds, and souls have to be filled with the love of God that is given to us by the Holy Spirit.

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