Church of the Holy Rosary

Father Baker

Message from Fr. Baker about Holy Week

Dear Holy Rosary Parishioners,

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday, and we begin Holy Week. It is indeed the holiest week of the year, and yet it can be easily lost in the busyness of life. The meaning of the victory of Easter is wrapped up in the defeat of Holy Week. Please make every effort to observe Holy Week both exteriorly by participating in the liturgies of the week as much as possible and interiorly by accompanying Jesus in your hearts through prayer and recollection. It is truly hard to believe that our God would die for us. He did. How does this happen? It happens in Holy Week. Come and see!

The very center of Holy Week is the Easter Vigil. There is no anticipated Mass at 5 p.m. on Holy Saturday. Instead, at 7:30 p.m. there is the heart of the Church’s year: the Easter Vigil. It has to begin in the dark so that accounts for the later time. This one liturgy really contains the entire Mystery of Faith. OK — it is long, but it is so powerful that new Christians and Catholics are born from the Church’s mysteries on this night.

Good Friday is the only day on which Mass is not celebrated. Instead, at 3 p.m. we share in the Passion of Jesus and venerate the Cross of Christ, receiving Holy Communion from the Eucharist which was instituted at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, celebrated the night before, prefiguring the bloody sacrifice of Calvary. In the Holy Thursday Mass at 7 p.m., the new commandment of charity is portrayed in the washing of the feet. We are also invited to watch with Jesus for one hour during his agony later in the night.

Earlier in the week is the Chrism Mass, which commemorates the institution of the priesthood. It is celebrated by the bishop in union with almost all the priests of the diocese. It will be at Sagrado Corazon on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. All of this begins with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday which so soon leads to His death on Good Friday. After a week like Holy Week, Easter makes so much more sense!

Fr. Baker

Extra Confession Times for Lent Added

Confession times have been added on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning for the rest of Lent. These are times when many will already be coming to church so I hope that will help. Please plan to come to confession at the beginning of these time periods. At the end of the announced times, I have to leave the confessional 15 minutes before Mass in order to prepare. I ask for your consideration. There is only one of me!

Confession is a time of mercy and of conversion. Please prepare with this in mind. The emphasis is on what God is doing, not on what you have done. There are examinations of conscience available in the rack by the confessional at all times. Please take and keep one in order to prepare yourself for this wonderful sacrament.
Faithfully, Fr Baker

Spanish Mass on Monday

As I mentioned when we launched the Monday evening Mass at 7 p.m. a few weeks ago, I want to try some different things from time to time at this Mass. This Monday, February 5, the Mass will be offered in Spanish. I remember when I was at Holy Rosary as a seminarian and as a newly ordained priest that this parish was the site of the only Spanish Masses celebrated in the diocese at that time. The Hispanic Ministry that grew and developed here ultimately evolved into the Sagrado Corazon community at the Catholic Pastoral Center, and yet we still have parishioners from the days when it all started here. I would like to honor that legacy, as well as to see how we as a parish can respond to the current reality of the growing Hispanic communities, both in language and in culture. 

In different parish assignments over the years, I have been enriched spiritually by these expressions of the Catholic faith. These experiences have also challenged me to grow. To the English speakers who attend the Monday Mass, I encourage you to give the Spanish Mass a try. It is the same Mass, of course!

Update from Fr. Baker

I want to let the parish know about some very happy news. The priest of the Coptic Catholic community in Nashville, Fr. Saied, is now living here at Holy Rosary. He moved in last week. You may see him around the parish, and you will probably even see him from time to time at Mass. You will be sure to be greeted warmly when you do meet him. Even his name in Arabic means “happy.” It certainly fits him! He has graciously offered to help me with duties in the parish when he is able to, in addition to serving his own community. We welcome him to Holy Rosary.

The Coptic Church traces its roots to St. Mark in Alexandria, Egypt. It is therefore a very ancient Christian community. Most Coptic Christians are Orthodox, but there are also Catholic Copts. This is the community that Fr. Saied serves here in Nashville. The community meets for liturgy in one of the chapels in the Catholic Pastoral Center on McGavock Pike so living at Holy Rosary is very convenient. There are families from Father’s community whose children are in Holy Rosary Academy so we already have many connections. I know that you join me in welcoming Fr. Saied!

All Souls Day Masses – Thursday, November 2

Father Baker will offer three Masses on All Souls Day to remember our departed parishioners, family, and friends.

  • The first Mass will be held in Calvary Cemetery at 9:00 am.
  • The second Mass will be in Holy Rosary Church at Noon.
  • The third Mass, held in Holy Rosary Church at 6:00 pm will include special recognition of our loved ones that have passed away since November 1st, 2022. Their names will be read aloud at the service, and a flower (provided by the parish) will be placed at the front of the sanctuary for each person. If you would like to recognize a close friend or family member, please complete a form in the Narthex this week, or via this ONLINE FORM, or call the Church Office (615-889-4065) by October 29, and give them the deceased’s name and date of death, and your contact information.

Thank You For Your Support!

Dear Holy Rosary Family,

As we reach the final week of our Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries series, I want to express my deepest gratitude for your involvement and support of our parish and diocese. I hope that you’ve learned something new about the different ministries of our local Church, and how you can help them remain strong. I know I have!

This week, I want to remind you of the collective impact your support has on the ministries supported by the annual appeal. Through your generosity, you strengthen our community of faith, support our seminarians; educate the next generation of Catholics; provide love, hope and healing to those in need; and more. By coming together as a community, we can transform our lives and share the Good News with all throughout Middle Tennessee.

At the beginning of our series, I shared with you our parish’s progress toward meeting our annual appeal goal of $58,145. As of today we’ve raised a total of $24,641. We have a way to go to meet our goal and if you haven’t yet had a chance to join us in supporting this year’s appeal, I invite you to do so today at

It has been such a joy to share with you the impact the Bishop’s Annual Appeal for Ministries makes throughout Middle Tennessee! Thank you for all you do for our parish and our diocese. Together, we are changing lives and helping to meet the daily needs of those around us. I hope you’ll join me today!

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Rev. John Sims Baker

Evenings of Recollection

Fr. Baker is offering monthly Evenings of Recollection. Here is how he explains the process:

Evenings of Recollection can be considered a mini retreat to help us grow as disciples of the Lord Jesus. Holy Rosary Parish is about forming missionary disciples, those who are ever deepening their faith and going out to help others to grow as disciples. We are not about maintaining organizations, running activities, or promoting institutions. There can be a temptation to fall into “maintenance” thinking in a parish rather than discipleship thinking. A monthly evening of recollection can keep us focused on discipleship. Discipleship requires an on-going process of conversion. Discipleship means change!

Here is how an evening of recollection works: It begins with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Then there is a spiritual talk, given by the priest, an examination of conscience, and an opportunity for confession. During confession, there is time for prayer and sometimes a lay talk. After confession, there is a second spiritual talk by the priest, and the evening concludes with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. It is all scheduled to last about two hours, roughly from 7-9 p.m. It is a retreat right here in your own parish every month!

The spirituality of St. Josemaria Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei, inspires the evenings of recollection. This spirituality focuses on the universal call to holiness of all Christians in ordinary life and our identity and dignity as Sons and Daughters of God by virtue of baptism.



Mark your calendar and plan to join us!

Celebrate the Installation of our New Pastor Fr. John Sims Baker

The members of the Church of the Holy Rosary invite you to join us as we celebrate the Installation of our new pastor Fr. John Sims Baker. We will mark this blessed occasion with mass and installation by Bishop Spalding at the 11 am mass followed by a luncheon in the Family Life Center.

If you will be attending the luncheon, please RSVP by August 1 with how many family members will be attending.  

RSVP here

Holy Rosary Academy Appoints New Principal

Dear Holy Rosary Parish and Academy Community, Praise be Jesus Christ! I want to introduce to you Mary Martin, our new principal. Please read the following announcement that will be released to the public and to the press this afternoon. I very much look forward to working with Mary Martin to carry out the mission of Holy Rosary Academy. I believe that you will be engaged by her humble and humorous personality as well as impressed by her credentials and experience in Catholic education. She is excited to join the team at Holy Rosary. Let us unite in praying for Mary Martin as she begins the great adventure as principal of Holy Rosary Academy.

Faithfully, Fr. Baker


Catholic leader rooted in math and science to welcome students August 7

Nashville, Tenn., July 14, 2023 – Holy Rosary Academy is pleased to announce the appointment of Mary Martin as the new principal of the Donelson-area Catholic school serving grades pre-K3 through 8. Martin’s leadership of Holy Rosary Academy (HRA) will begin Monday, July 17, 2023.

Martin was selected for this important leadership position after a thorough national search, during which Father John Sims Baker, pastor of Holy Rosary Catholic Church, worked with leaders from the parish, school, and the Diocese of Nashville’s human resources office to build a pool of qualified candidates for consideration. Martin comes to Nashville from Milford, Ohio, having most recently served as a middle school science teacher for St. Andrew-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School.

Martin’s extensive experience in the classroom and in leadership roles spans two decades in Ohio. She served as principal of St. Michael Catholic School in Ripley and Holy Angels Catholic School in Sidney. She also taught science, social studies, math, and religion at St. Mary Catholic School, Holy Family Catholic School, and the public school system in Cincinnati and in St. Patrick Catholic School in Troy.

At St. Mary School, she co-developed a K-through-grade 5 Spanish language program and mentored children in the creation and broadcast of a student-produced foreign language podcast. At St. Michael School, her accomplishments as principal include a significant increase in student participation in school intervention programs and the establishment of professional learning communities (PLCs) to better support teachers.

Martin is a fellow of the University of Notre Dame’s ACE Principal Academy, South Bend, Indiana. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a science-middle school endorsement from Purdue University Calumet in Hammond, Indiana, and a master’s degree in education administration from Xavier University in Cincinnati.

Martin says she was impressed by Holy Rosary’s tradition of excellence, evidenced by the school’s 2013 and 2020 designations as a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. “The opportunity to lead this talented team of instructors and help propel students along a path of academic success and spiritual formation is both unique and exciting,” Martin said.

She is relocating from Ohio with her dog, Eli, and will be onsite at HRA later this month; however, she is already beginning to recruit staff to round out the HRA team. Martin said, “The commitment to community espoused by the Holy Rosary mission touched my heart. I’m eager to bring the highest caliber teachers and administrators to our school to foster that mission in the hearts and minds of our children.”

Among the pool of candidates, Father Baker said Martin’s experience in middle school leadership and her years as a teacher and mentor in STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, arts, and mathematics) subjects stood out. “Her approach to childhood education is modern and engaging in a world where competition for our children’s attention and creativity can be daunting.” Father Baker cited the example of a podcast program that Martin established in a previous role as an approach that was both educational and fun for students. “Mary will support innovative classroom approaches alongside Holy Rosary’s tradition of excellence and strong Catholic mission.”

“As an experienced Catholic school leader, Mary Martin brings the complex set of skills required to foster student success by supporting and encouraging our teachers and administrators. She will further strengthen our focus on academic excellence and Gospel-based Catholic mission.” Father Baker added, “Holy Rosary Academy students and parents deserve the very best. She has it all: credentials, experience, and a living faith in Jesus Christ.”

Martin is a proud Irish Catholic who attended Catholic elementary and high schools as a child. Her children are grown, and she looks forward to visits from them in her new Nashville home. In her free time, she crochets and roots for the Cincinnati Reds and the Bengals.