11-29-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. 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.


More than Turkey!

11-22-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. 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!


Fraternus and Fidelis, What's that?

11-15-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. 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.


Parish Cemetery Visit and Blessing on November 14

11-08-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. 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.


Fr. Baker


For all the Saints!

11-01-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. 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.


Showing Gratitude on Priesthood Sunday

10-25-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

One of the things that has helped me not only to get through Covidtime but actually to thrive spiritually is gratitude. I am so grateful for so much! I think that among the greatest blessings that I am thankful for are our two parochial vicars, Fr. Edwuin Cardona and Fr. Juan Carlos GarcíaMendoza! They are so talented and hardworking, filled with love for God and for you, His people. They help me in so many ways and put up with me! I am grateful also to Bishop Spalding for entrusting these two young priests to our parish. Where would we be without them?

These thoughts of gratitude are a good reflection for Priesthood Sunday. We have the opportunity to put our gratitude into action by the offering this weekend for the Seminarian Education Fund, a part of the Bishop's Appeal for Ministries. We stand at 75% of our goal. It would be amazing if we could push ourselves to the top. (This year, we actually have to make our goal or face a penalty.) Both of our parochial vicars have recently benefited from the Seminarian Education Fund. This is thus a very direct way to express gratitude to the bishop for these priests (and to take a little pressure off your pastor) as we move to the goal.


Marian Pilgrimage

10-18-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

This message is a reminder about our Marian Pilgrimage for the month of October. The pilgrimage is an opportunity to go out of our way a little bit to honor Our Blessed Mother during the month of the Holy Rosary. There is a simple and beautiful shrine to the Virgin of the Poor in New Hope, Tennessee about an hour and a half from here. We will meet there on Saturday morning, October 31 at 10:30 a.m. to pray the rosary together and then to celebrate Mass. You are free to remain after Mass for your own devotions and/or to have a picnic. The shrine is outdoors on a hilltop in the countryside so we won't have to worry much about social distancing. There is also a covered pavilion. See the bulletin or website for directions, etc.

Even though this is a very simple pilgrimage, I believe that you will find blessings from Our Blessed Mother by honoring her in this small way. A mother loves little acts of love from her children! The pilgrimage will also be a blessing to our parish, keeping us focused on the love of God.


10-11-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

For the time being, we will be suspending our nocturnal adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I never want to impose on those who have committed to an hour of adoration to feel that they cannot leave because there is a gap in the adorers. I also never want to run the risk of leaving the Lord Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament unaccompanied and vulnerable. On a provisional basis, Adoration will begin at 8 a.m. on Thursdays and continue until the end of the Luminous Thursday program in the evening. That is usually 8 p.m. or a little later if the Evenings of Recollection run longer. We will conclude with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

This is a time to step back, and, I hope, recommit to nocturnal adoration as a parish with a renewed sense of why it is important and therefore why we want to do it! We need to understand the psalmist who says, "at midnight I rise to praise you." Why is this important? Let's look into it more in the days to come and pray for guidance. Then we can decide.


Masses and Music

10-04-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

With so many Masses for each Sunday eight total, two on Saturday evening and six on Sunday, we are beginning to differentiate the music at the different Masses based on a number of factors.

A couple of the Masses (7 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. on Sunday) are generally without music or perhaps have some simple chanting by the priest. The time factor has more to do with the musical simplicity of these Masses than anything else.

The 8:30 and 11 a.m. Masses on Sunday have a cantor and organ, making use of the Scriptural Mass Propers and the Mass setting found in the Missal. This is about the simplest form of Mass with music.


Mass Intentions

09-27-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

I have noticed that we have many open dates for Mass intentions. It makes me think that a reminder is in order about the value of having a Mass offered for any person, living or deceased. The intention that is listed in the bulletin (and announced before Mass begins) is the intention of the priest offering the Mass in the person of Christ, the head of the Mystical Body. This offering is of infinite value. If the Mass is offered for someone who is deceased, the intention is for the repose of the soul of that person. It aids the person through Purgatory. If the Mass intention is for a living person, then the Mass is offered for that person's intentions. You literally cannot remember someone more powerfully than by a Mass intention. The intention itself is an interior act of the priest, acting in the person of Christ in celebrating Mass that the infinite value of the Mass be attributed to the stated intention. What is printed in the bulletin or announced is only a notice of the fulfillment of the intention.


Necessary and Urgent

09-20-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

These are the words, approved by Pope Francis, of Cardinal Sarah, the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, on the need to return to the Eucharist. I think that many in Saint Rose Parish have this same spiritual intuition since attendance at Mass has been increasing. Whether or not there is a canonical obligation to attend Mass, we need Jesus! He is, of course, found most substantially in the Eucharist.

We are under a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass, but the dispensation is not without requirements. The dispensation covers those who are sick and those who are caring for the sick. It covers those at highrisk for complications from contracting the virus. It also covers those who are in fear of contracting the virus. It does not cover those who are not in any of these categories but who nevertheless choose not to attend Mass.


Youth Discipleship: Following Jesus Together

09-13-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

We are about to launch a new year of discipleship for the young people of our parish. At the junior high level, we are introducing the Fraternus and Fidelis programs for boys and for girls. I strongly recommend these programs that are very popular and effective in other parishes of our diocese. High school students are also welcome to be involved. At the high school level, we will continue with our Life Teen program for discipleship. There will also be a high school religious education class. I recommend all of these options, and strongly encourage the young people of the parish to be involved in one or more of them. It is practically impossible to be a disciple of Jesus on your own. Remember that Jesus sent out his disciples two by two! You might just "catch" the love of Jesus from one another!


Thank You!

09-06-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

Thank you for the very generous response for adorers of the Blessed Sacrament last week! Now let's keep it up! I am sure that all of you even those taking hours in the middle of the night found that you were blessed by keeping watch with Jesus for an hour (or more)! I am encouraged by the presence of others when I am praying before the Blessed Sacrament, whether I know them or not. The experience creates a bond of devotion to Jesus.

We certainly have a lot to pray for in these days, and being in the presence of Jesus puts our concerns in perspective. We are never alone. Again, a big thank you to the parish for responding so quickly, generously, and faithfully.


Fr. Baker