New Schedule

06-28-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

This is the new provisional schedule for Saint Rose Parish for the rest of the summer through August 15 (see front cover). Here is a summary of the changes: We are moving the bilingual Mass from Sunday afternoon to Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m.

We are moving all the Sunday Masses to begin 30 minutes earlier. They will now be at 7, 9, and 11 a.m. and 3 and 5 p.m. The Saturday evening Masses remain at the same times.

The bigger changes are on the weekdays. We will Mass every morning in English (7 a.m. MF and 8 a.m. on Saturday). On Tuesday, there will be Mass at 6:30 p.m. in Spanish. On Wednesday, there will be Mass at 6:30 p.m. in English. On both Tuesday and Wednesday, there will be Confessions at 56:15 p.m. In July, there will also be Confessions at 23 p.m. on Saturday.


Ordinary Time

06-21-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

We do not live in ordinary times! But on the Church's calendar "Ordinary Time" is the name for these many Sundays from now until Advent. In the world, the times are indeed extraordinary. But by His suffering, death, and resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ has overcome the world.

On Good Friday, things looked very bleak. The power of the Roman government and the hostility of the religious authorities had crucified Jesus. Love and hope seemed crushed by the powers of this world. And then Jesus rose from the dead not by escaping from death but by passing through it triumphantly! This is the new definition of what is "ordinary." The sacrificial love of redemptive suffering causes, not defeat, but salvation.



06-14-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

Thanks to everyone for so much flexibility last week. I confess that it was a pretty overwhelming few days with many distractions for me. I thank you for your prayers. Some things just had to give way. I think that we need to be prepared for sudden changes and cancellations, even though I do not prefer to operate in that way.

Please remember that the bishop's dispensation is in effect until the end of June so that even if you missed a Mass because it was cancelled, you were not under obligation to attend Mass.

I wish I knew a more reliable way for us to operate in these days, but I don't. We will continue to communicate through as many channels as we can. I appreciate your fidelity and cooperation!


Virtue Stands in the Middle

06-07-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

We are living through troubling times. On top of a public health pandemic, which has brought about economic upheaval, we now experience civil unrest, including demonstrations and curfews. Unlike the pandemic and the economic issues, however, I think that there is clear guidance for us in the civil disturbance.

In the first place, the incident that sparked the demonstrations is a clear act of injustice which deserves and requires a response of righteous anger. Not only is the murder of George Floyd an act of injustice and violence, it is also another example in a troubling pattern of injustice towards African Americans which has a long history in our country. Demonstration in this circumstance is entirely justified. As a matter of fact, the failure to condemn this act and the pattern it exemplifies would be an act of cowardice in the face of injustice.


Through Him, With Him, In Him

05-31-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

As some of us begin again at public celebrations of Mass and as others continue to join in by livestream, we all have an opportunity to relearn the Mass from its most essential elements. I ask your understanding as we begin the public celebrations of Mass very simply, much as we have celebrated the Mass without a live congregation over the past couple of months. There is an eagerness, which I understand, to experience the Mass with the full array of ministers, processions, singing, etc. But we are going to begin simply, in order to get used to the new situation we find ourselves in and the requirement this situation imposes on us.


Come, Holy Spirit, Come

05-24-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

It is wonderful and Providential that the preparation for the Solemnity of Pentecost is coinciding with the beginning of reopening the parish. We need the Holy Spirit now! As I have said before, I have no interest in "going back to normal." I believe that God has given us a chance for a new beginning. How is the Holy Spirit leading us to be the place of encounter with the fullness of Christ in this community? How is the Holy Spirit calling us deeper into a culture of prayer, of active discipleship, and of healthy teamwork? How is the Holy Spirit leading us from obligation to devotion? Let's be open and docile to the Holy Spirit. As we start to celebrate Mass together again, we notice that we are doing many things differently, and yet it is the Mass! I believe that the Holy Spirit is shaking us up for a reason so that we will listen and follow where we might not have gone if things remained "normal." That is certainly true for me, and I thank God for the challenge. One week to Pentecost!


From Obligation to Devotion

05-17-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

Following the directives of Bishop Spalding and the governor, we will begin to "re-open" the parish, although we have never really been closed! On the practical side, this will mean that as of Monday, May 18, we will begin to have the public celebration of Mass again.

As I said before, this is a great blessing and a great responsibility. We have sent out directives for the celebration of Mass over the week and will continue to do so as schedules and protocols develop: everything from times to capacity to precautions. Let me emphasize once again that at this time and through the end of June (at least), no one has any obligation to attend Mass. I am grateful for the bishop's dispensation not only practically but also as a matter of vision.


Encountering the Fullness of Christ in this Community

05-14-2020NewsFr. John Sims Baker

We have the joy of resuming the public celebration of Mass at Saint Rose beginning on Monday, May18. The celebration of Mass is the heart of our parish's core purpose of being the place of encounter with the fullness of Christ in this community. It is wonderful to begin again!


That being said, we will begin again soberly and prudently in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember that there is no obligation to attend Mass at this time. Bishop Spalding has issued a dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation until June 30, when the dispensation will be reviewed. 



05-10-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

When we get back to the public celebrations of the Mass, I am sure that there will be special precautions specified, at least for a time. There will be no passing of the peace -- and no passing of the offering baskets, either! -- and modifications to the reception of Holy Communion, among other precautions. Please do not let these disturb you. What is most important about the Mass is that it is offered and that you pray it. Everything else, including the reception of Holy Communion, comes after that. We need to remember what the Mass is: it is the sacrificial offering that Jesus Christ makes of Himself to the Father in loving obedience. In the Mass, we are able to be present at the foot of the cross for the sacrificial offering of Calvary along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John, and St. Mary Magdalen. That is the amazing reality and truth of the Mass. What more do we need?


Public Celebrations of Mass

05-08-2020NewsFr. John Sims Baker

Bishop Spalding has announced today that public celebrations of Mass can resume in the Diocese of Nashville on Monday, May 18. I am attaching the bishop's letter HERE. Of course, many precautions will be required before public celebrations can begin, including strict observance of social distancing, as well as the observance of civil regulations. This is very good news, but also a grave responsibility.

Although Bishop Spalding has authorized public celebrations of Mass beginning May 18, no parish is required to begin on that date. Each pastor is encouraged to use his judgment about the conditions for beginning public celebrations in his parish. Having only received the authorization, I cannot at this time announce the beginning of public celebrations of Mass at St. Rose, but my intention is to begin as soon as we prudently can with the precautions in place. I will be communicating in the coming days about our plan to begin public celebrations of Mass again and the precautions we will be observing. 



05-03-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

No, auto-correct didn't make a mistake! I meant communio. This is a Latin word meaning communion. And it is a very important word from the Second Vatican Council. It is a very important word for us in our parish right now. It is why we long to come back together in church as the Church, even as we accept the bishop's dispensation and the suspension of public Masses for the common good. Watching Mass on Facebook, YouTube, or TV can never replace being at Mass in church -- although I am grateful that we have those tools when we need them, as we do now. And communio is why. We have to get out of the house and get with others because we are on the way! We are not at home here in this world. We are going home, and we are going home with our people -- the People of God (another important concept from Vatican II). Think of the Israelites leaving Egypt and going to the Promised Land. You can't do that in front of a screen! At every Mass we process to the very gate of Heaven with our brothers and sisters to receive the food for the journey that will get us all the way there. Come on along!