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!


The Year of St. Joseph

01-31-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

I would like to begin public parish devotions for the Year of St. Joseph proclaimed by Pope Francis. One of the special favors of this year is the availability of a plenary indulgence on every Wednesday of this special year granted for the recitation of prayers to St. Joseph. This weekend we have available in the narthex prayer cards with the Litany of St. Joseph in both English and Spanish. We will pray this litany publicly immediately after Mass every Wednesday evening. You can also pray the litany on your own at home or anywhere at any time on Wednesdays for the indulgence. Other days include the 19th of each month, as well as the Feast Days of St. Joseph on March 19 and May 1. I will continue to look for ways to observe this special year in our parish.


January is a Special Pro-Life Time

01-24-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

In my mind, January is a special pro-life time. The anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court, which removed all restrictions on abortion in our country, comes in January and has been marked by the annual March for Life held in Washington, DC every year since, no matter the weather or the conditions. Until this year...

With prudence, the organizers of the March for Life have decided to hold the events virtually this year because of the volatile situation in Washington. I applaud this decision, even though I have participated in the March numerous times, especially when I was involved in campus ministry.


The One Thing Necessary - Prayer at the Feet of Jesus

01-17-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

I have been slow to comment on the riot last week in Washington. I have been slow to react to many of the serious events going on in our world. I can assure you that I have been praying, and prayer is by far the most important thing that any of us can do. Daily personal prayer with the Lord Jesus must be the center of our lives.

I think that God is calling us to Himself. I think that God is allowing the consequences of our unfaithfulness to Him to play out so that we see where it leads. Without God, we are lost. We must not only do what He wills, but we must do it in the way He wills it. We have been far too willing to compromise with both the goals and the methods of this world. Both are poison.


The Same, but Different!

01-10-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

We are starting back in the new year with many things the same but also with some changes. Here are some reminders of things that are the same as before Christmas:

Weekend Masses Please sign up! There is overflow capacity in the gym for the 4:30pm Mass on Saturday as well as for the 11:00am Mass and 3 p.m. (Spanish) Mass on Sunday. Please note that there is also usually room at the 6:30pm (Spanish) Mass on Saturday as well as the 7:00am and 5:00pm Masses on Sunday.

Our pandemic precautions also remain in effect: masks and social distancing. Please be especially careful about crowding when exiting Mass.

Adoration resumes from Thursday morning to Friday morning Please sign up!


Encountering the Fullness of Christ in this Community

01-04-2021NewsFr. John Sims Baker

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. That being said, we will proceed soberly and prudently in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember that there is no obligation to attend Mass at this time.

  • Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 or other communicable diseases should stay at home.
  • Anyone in a high-risk group for COVID-19 should stay at home.
  • Anyone with concern about attending public Mass in these times is covered by the dispensation and should not hesitate to remain at home.

Let me repeat: there is no obligation for anyone to attend Mass at this time.


To be the Place of Encounter with the Fullness of Jesus Christ in our Community

01-03-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

This is the core purpose of Saint Rose of Lima Parish, and the pandemic has clarified the truth and necessity of this purpose. The hunger for Christmas Masses was a perfect example of the service and mission we accomplish here at Saint Rose. In these days when God's people need somewhere to turn, they have been turning here to us for their most fundamental needs. And we are blessed when that happens because we encounter Jesus in all who come in any need: spiritual, emotional, physical, psychological, intellectual, or any other human longing.

Thank you for allowing Saint Rose Parish to surrender ourselves to this core purpose of encounter with the person of Jesus. He invites us into His adoration of the Father, in union with the Holy Spirit. This adoration is what we are made for, and this is what we offer in this community. A lot of people are negative about the year 2020, but it has been a year of clarifying grace for Saint Rose of Lima Parish. I believe that we are more fully what we are supposed to be than ever before.


Great Gratitude for Everything

12-27-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

I mean it. I am grateful for everything. The stresses of our times have helped me to find God in so many unexpected places and situations. And every time I have opened my eyes and found Him, I have been blessed. There have been many, many questions and even many tears in this year; and yet there have been more graces. Thanks be to God.


A Different Christmas

12-20-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

I think that we can all agree that this will be a different Christmas. (There is not much that people are agreeing on right now so at least we have that!) Let's embrace the difference and find Jesus hidden in these days, as he was on the first Christmas. 

The Holy Family was being tossed about by the whims of the powers of this world. They had to travel to Bethlehem for a census ordered by the Roman emperor. After Jesus' birth, they had to flee as refugees to Egypt from the terror of King Herod. It was not a "normal" time for them at all. 

There are so many struggles that people are dealing with now: sickness, grief, depression, economic hardship, and uncertainties of all sorts. It will help if we remember that Jesus is with us in all of these things. He never leaves us, and he has experienced such struggles himself. This is one of the greatest joys of Christmas: God is with us. Emmanuel. 


Urgent: Signing Up for Mass

12-13-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

As the pandemic continues to worsen in our area, it is vitally necessary for everyone to sign up for Mass so that we can observe proper social distancing in the church. Please always sign up for the Mass you plan to attend and arrive early so that proper seating can be found. If you find that one Mass is full, please select another one.

These instructions are especially necessary at the 8:30 and 9:45 a.m. Masses on Sunday morning because we cannot offer overflow capacity in the gym. PSR gathers and dismisses from the gym and so it is not available at those times. At these Masses, once we have reached capacity in the church we will have to close the church to additional entry.


COVID, Once Again

12-06-2020Weekly ReflectionFr. John Sims Baker

Well, it has never really gone away, but it is with us more than ever now. I am grateful to God and to you that we have not suffered any serious outbreaks here in the parish, even though we continue to gather especially for Mass. Of course, our ultimate protection is God, but let's continue to do our part by wearing masks for any event at Saint Rose, in particular for Mass. Masks need to be worn over both the mouth and nose. Please also keep six feet of social distancing especially in the pews, and please practice hand hygiene. Because we are having capacity crowds at some Masses, we will begin opening up the gym for overflow. The Mass will be livestreamed and Holy Communion will be distributed in the gym. When the Mass attendants indicate that the church is at capacity please follow their directions about finding a place in the gym. I ask that you remember not to congregate in the church after Mass. These are small inconveniences in order to maintain the great blessing of public Masses!