Out of the Depths

03-29-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

The Fifth Sunday of Lent is when we cover the statues and images in the church. This year the meaning of this gesture needs no explanation. I think we know it in our hearts and feel it in our guts. Desolation. The faithful of the Church all over the world are deprived of the greatest consolation of our faith: the Holy Eucharist.

And yet...God is with us! The Lord Jesus is sacramentally present in the tabernacle of our church and in all the churches of the world. He is also in the tabernacle of our hearts. There is a real presence of God called the Divine Indwelling that begins at Baptism and continues within us while we remain in a state of grace. He is really there so worship Him!

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Focus on the Important Things

03-22-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

In the midst of concerns about pandemic, we need to keep a supernatural point-of-view. In last week's bulletin, I commented on how the tornadoes had caused me to see the value of human goodness and generosity. We all really need each other. We need love, support, and care from one another at all times, not only in a time of disaster. Likewise this week and probably for a while to come, the necessity to pull back from unnecessary activities centers us on home and those closest to us. Once the pandemic has run its course -- and pray God that it will be brief -- perhaps it would be good for us to re-examine if we need to go back to doing all those things that were cancelled. I find some consolation, for example, that as a parish we will be focused on the most fundamental aspects of our life together united in prayer. In these days, we will need to be able to be together as families. So many of our activities, although certainly not bad, are secondary and often get in the way of family life and faith. In the midst of precautions and concerns, let us find consolation and strength in the most important things and people: those closest to us, that is, God and family.

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New Life

03-15-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

As nature springs to life around us, new spiritual life and growth is apparent everywhere at Saint Rose in these days of spring. We have more and more moments of sacramental encounters with the Lord Jesus: First Penance and Reconciliation, Confirmation, RCIA coming into the home stretch, and First Holy Communion later in the spring. At the same time, we are having crowds at Masses and Confessions, Adoration is thriving, and the church is remaining a hub of prayer and peace. It makes me think that something is right at Saint Rose, and that something is the desire to encounter Jesus here!

Faithfully,

Fr. Baker

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Storms

03-08-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

We had bad storms on Monday night of this week. There were even tornadoes in some areas resulting in the loss of life. It moves me to prayer when I hear of the suffering of others. It also causes me to remember what is really important. I think that I need to love and to care for others much more. I think that I need to be more patient and to forgive much more. I need to have more compassion and more understanding. Life is precious and deserves care and respect. The most important thing I have to do each day is to care for those around me. I find it easy to get caught up in small, unimportant matters. I find it easy to get caught up in myself. I will begin again to pay attention to the eternal things in my life: God and other people.

Faithfully,

Fr. Baker

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Lenten Liturgy

03-01-2020Pastor's LetterFr. John Sims Baker

During Lent, we try to reflect the seriousness of the season by celebrating the liturgy more simply. The Church directs us, for example, to use instruments less and to chant acapella. We do not sing the Gloria in Lent, and Alleluia disappears for Lent as well. We also do not have flowers in church during Lent. The vestments are a more somber purple color. These are all external signs of the need for internal simplification.

We should do the same sort of simplification in our personal lives during Lent. This is the reason for giving up something for Lent. If we keep a good and simple Lent, Easter will mean more to us, just as we will appreciate the joyous music, flowers, and vestments of Easter after the somberness of the Lenten liturgies.

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