Carnival: Will you say goodbye to something for Lent?

02-23-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

We may be more familiar with the French term Mardi Gras -- Fat Tuesday, but in many cultures the period leading up to Lent is called Carnival. That word literally means "goodbye to meat." We have a little relic of this banishment of meat in the abstinence from meat that we practice on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent. (Isn't it interesting that everyone from environmentalists to your doctor is recommending going light on meat? Maybe the Church has been guiding us well all along!) It is OK to celebrate a bit before Lent begins, especially if you intend to keep a good Lent, but keep the emphasis on your interior preparation. What can you say goodbye to that will help you to grow in the love of God and neighbor?

Faithfully,

Fr. Baker

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Something Good to do for Lent: From Obligation to Devotion

02-16-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

After our parish mission, I have been thinking of how to make our celebration of the Mass more of an encounter with the Lord Jesus. For our English Masses, we need to concentrate on finishing Mass well. First of all, everyone needs to stay until the end of Mass. What does it indicate about what we believe if we leave Mass right after receiving Holy Communion? Remember, no one should leave Mass before the priest does! Also when we remain until the end of Mass, we need to say thank you to God for the gift we have received or at least to be quiet so that others can do so. Mass is something that we are doing as the Mystical Body of Christ and so we need to have that "team" attitude and not an individual one.

I commend our Hispanic community at the Spanish Mass for staying until the end of Mass, but I do want to encourage reverence after Mass in the church so that it remains a time and place for prayer. Visiting with one another can take place in our large vestibule after Mass.

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World Marriage Sunday

02-09-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

The Church celebrates and exalts the role of husband and wife within the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. She reminds us that marriage is a part of creation. In other words, marriage is something that God made. We did not make it. Like all of God's creation it is beautiful and powerful. Literally, the life of the world depends on marriage. Also like all of God's creation, marriage is fragile and requires constant love and care.

A project that I am working on for our parish is a comprehensive marriage preparation program, involving married couples, as well as the priests and deacons of the parish. Pope Francis has suggested that marriage preparation should be thought of in the same way as preparation for priesthood or religious life with robust and thorough formation. I am very excited about this project.

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Place of Encounter

02-02-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

This past week, ministry leaders and staff of Saint Rose met for an introduction to the Amazing Parish process.

All ministries and staff are asked to engage in three key behaviors in their work in the parish.

  1. Culture of Prayer: before we do anything, we need to be praying with and for each other.
  2. Culture of Active Discipleship: before we do anything, we need to commit to follow Jesus in everything.
  3. Culture of Healthy Teamwork: before we do anything, we need to commit to healthy collaboration.

We also discussed our core purpose as a parish: to be the place of encounter with Jesus Christ in his fullness in this community.

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