Feeding the Imagination

05-30-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

It is important to feed our imaginations with good images! That seems to make sense, doesn't it? So let me make a recommendation to you: The Chosen. This is a television series based on the Gospels. It is free on its own app or on YouTube. I don't know if it is great TV whatever that means, but in my opinion it is great food for the imagination. It provides images and inspiration regarding the Gospels that can build you up! At least, they have built me up. Of course, the series takes artistic license to fill in gaps in the stories of the Gospels, but again in my opinion these are done in a way that is consistent with what we have in the texts. You do not have to believe the development of character or situations in the series, but I find these developments to be productive even for prayer. I think that you will find the series will help to engage anew both your mind and your heart in an encounter with the Lord Jesus and His Way. See what you think!



05-23-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

Thank you for the overwhelming response to our parish survey on a new schedule and new procedures as we step back from the precautions implemented for the pandemic. I ask for your continued patience for a few more weeks until June 13 as we prepare to announce and to implement these changes. There are a wide range of opinions that we need to take into consideration, as well as a large number of people to consult. Thank you.


An Invitation

05-16-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

As we prepare to transition away from some of the precautions and the schedule adopted during the pandemic, I invite you to offer your insights for the future. Not all of the changes made during the pandemic are bad. For example, having more Masses on the weekends is a good idea since previously some of our Masses were consistently overcrowded. On the other hand, I do not think that we need to keep all the Masses that have been added with the increased capacity in the church.


Staying United: Upcoming Changes to the Parish Schedule and Pandemic Precautions

05-09-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

As we are able to reduce the precautions that we have been practicing during the pandemic, it is a good time to reevaluate our parish liturgy schedule as well as the precautions themselves. I am in consultation with the priests, deacons, and staff of the parish about these changes. I am happy to say that I think that Saint Rose of Lima Parish is emerging from the pandemic in a stronger position than when it began. I am also very grateful to say that we have done so because we have stayed united as a parish. That has taken a willingness to sacrifice our own personal opinions and preferences for the good of staying united. Thank you! And let's keep that spirit of unity going!


Pray the Rosary to End the Pandemic

05-02-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

As he did last year, Pope Francis is calling us to turn to the Blessed Mother during the month of May to pray the rosary for an end to the pandemic. This year, the Holy Father will begin the month on Saturday, May 1 leading the rosary himself. This will be broadcast world wide. He will end the month in the same way on Monday, May 31, the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Every other day of the month, the rosary will be broadcast from a different Marian Shrine in a different part of the world. We will provide links to these broadcasts so that we can participate in this initiative of the Holy Father with our brothers and sisters around the world.


A Letter from the Bishop

04-25-2021Weekly ReflectionMost Reverend J. Mark Spalding

Peace be with you this Easter season. He ls Risen! Let us rejoice together!

This has been a most unusual and difficult year for all of us. A year ago at this time, none of us could have envisioned the anxiety, illnesses, deaths and other losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We likewise could never have imagined that the dispensation from the Sunday Mass obligation would have had to remain in effect for a full year!


A Long Retreat

04-11-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

I want to let the parish know that I will be going on a long retreat starting the second week of Easter. I will be away for almost two weeks at a monastery and will end the time by attending the ordination to the diaconate of a seminarian I know from my days working in the seminary. There is never an ideal time to try to break away from a parish as dynamic as Saint Rose, especially as we continue to emerge from the pandemic. I confess that I am behind on a lot of things in the parish, and I ask for your continued patience with me. I thank you for the opportunity to recharge spiritually and, I hope, physically as well.


From Obligation to Devotion

04-04-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

Bishop Spalding has lifted the dispensation from the obligation to assist at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. It is fitting that it comes at Easter because every Sunday is a little Easter. And Easter is the very heart of our faith. Without the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we would be condemned to bear the evils of this world and face death without hope. We do not like to think about what life would be like without Jesus, but it would be a hopeless struggle of the survival of the fittest, ending in death for all. But because Jesus has conquered sin and death by embracing suffering and death, He has opened a way for us all no matter the struggles we face. The evils of this world become the steps that can lead us to union with Jesus now and forever. How amazing is our God to bring life from death?


Holy Week and Easter This Year; Lifting of Dispensation

03-21-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker


After the sad Holy Week and Easter last year with liturgical celebrations without the faithful present, I am very happy that we will once again have public celebrations of these holy days. Although there will still be some alterations in the liturgies and our attendance will be limited, we will be celebrating together as a parish.

Here are some notes on the schedule and changes for this year: Palm Sunday -- We will not be having a procession but will distribute and bless palms at the beginning of every Mass for Palm Sunday. Livestream will be provided as on a regular Sunday.


Pandemic Precautions

03-14-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

At Saint Rose, we have followed the guidance of the diocese about precautions regarding COVID. We continue to do so. Civil governmental entities such as Rutherford County, for example, are reconsidering mask mandates and other precautions in public spaces. We will take note of what civil authorities are requiring, but we will continue to make decisions on our circumstances.


Many Blessings!

03-07-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

Even though we continue through the challenges of a pandemic, we are blessed at Saint Rose in so many ways. Last weekend, our First Communion classes celebrated the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation for the first time. It took several priests all morning to hear the confessions! This weekend, Bishop Spalding will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation on over 100 candidates from our parish. These are exciting times for celebrating the sacraments at Saint Rose!

If we have a problem, it is that we are running out of room at most of our Masses! Please be sure to sign up for Mass. And thank you for your understanding if you need to attend Mass in the gym. We are trying our best!


Lenten Confession Times

02-28-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

During Lent, we want to offer more and extended times for confession. We will be offering confession every day of the week beginning the Second Week of Lent through Wednesday of Holy Week. (We will have other times for confession during the Triduum which will be announced later.) There are times during the day, at night, and on weekends. I hope that everyone can find a convenient time.



02-21-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

In English, the word "Lent" comes from an old word for "spring." I am not sure that we always think of Lent in such a positive way. Maybe we even dread Lent because we associate it with penance. Our Lenten penances, however, have a positive purpose. Lent can truly be a new springtime for our souls: a time of new life and growth. For new life and growth to happen, we need to cut away dead and lifeless things in our lives. That is why we practice penance during Lent and give things up. We also think of "spring cleaning," which we can do in our souls by confession. Finally, we also begin to plant our gardens and flowers in the spring. In our souls during Lent, we increase our prayer and establish good habits of sacrificial giving. These are indeed beautiful spiritual gardens in our souls which are very pleasing to God. Let's think of the next 40 days, as the beginning of a new springtime in our souls! I am excited already!


St. Michael the Archangel, Pray for Us

02-14-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

Saint Rose of Lima Parish is very grateful to receive a new statue of St. Michael the Archangel from our Guatemalan community. The statue is based on an image and devotion to St. Michael in the city of Totonicapan. We have a number of parishioners from this area of Guatemala. There are features of the statue that are familiar, for example, St. Michael's wings as an angel and his sword as the leader of the hosts of Heaven. In this image, however, his armour is like that of a Roman soldier's, and he is also holding a scale. The statue is based on an apparition of St. Michael which occurred over 400 years ago in Totonicapan.


Covid & The Liturgy

02-07-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

The pandemic has affected just about every aspect of our lives for almost a year now. This includes the liturgy. I want to give a reminder about music and announce a change that will be in effect for Ash Wednesday.

We have generally been avoiding robust congregational singing during the pandemic because vocal production disperses aerosols in a particularly dramatic way. That is why we have had limited use of hymns, for example. The singing we have been doing has generally been simple chants which are meant to be sung quietly. Chants are the music of the liturgy par excellence as they emphasize the words we sing. We have, for example, been able to sing more words from Sacred Scripture at Mass -- the verses at the entrance, offertory, and Holy Communion processions -- are all given to us by the Church from the words of the Bible to complement the readings and prayers of each Mass. I invite you to join in these verses, much like the Responsorial Psalm and the Alleluia, which we are all familiar with. The opportunity to chant the scriptures is a blessing indeed!