Joseph Baker to be ordained in Rome Print
Around the Diocese
Written by Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Oct. 01, 2015 -- 12:00 AM
joseph baker
Joseph Baker

Joseph Baker, a seminarian for the Diocese of Madison, will be ordained as a transitional deacon on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 9:30 a.m. at the Altar of the Chair at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York will be ordaining Baker and 39 other men from around the United States. A transitional deacon has completed his third year of theology studies and intends to be ordained as a priest.

Baker will participate as a deacon in a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated by Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison on Friday, Oct. 2, at 8 a.m. in the Chapel of the Presentation at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Baker is the son of Kay and Mark Baker, members of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Chippewa Falls. His “home parish” is St. Paul’s University Catholic Center at the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison.

A graduate of Catholic schools in Chippewa Falls, Baker attended UW-Madison from the fall of 2006 to the fall of 2007. He then enrolled at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota/Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Winona from the spring of 2008 to the spring of 2009.

He was selected as a Basselin Scholar at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., which he attended from the fall of 2009 to the spring of 2012. He has attended the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome from the fall of 2012 to the spring of 2015.

Before he entered the seminary, Baker was involved in the Church as an altar server. “Then in high school, after Confirmation, I began lectoring at Mass and became an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. Eventually, when I came to UW in 2006, I helped out as an altar server at St. Paul’s for Fr. Victor Mosele and Fr. Eric Nielsen.”

Before he entered the seminary midway through his sophomore year at UW, he said, “I had wondered for a long time if God was calling me to become a priest. Ever since middle school when I was around priests as an altar server, the idea first crossed my mind. Then in high school that thought grew, but I never pulled the trigger.

“For me, when I entered the seminary, it was simply giving myself the opportunity to explore the possibility. Seminary allowed me the space and structure to resolve a nagging question I had long had, ‘Am I meant to be a priest?’”

Baker’s seminary experience has helped nurture his vocation. “In the first place, seminary gave me the opportunity to listen and hear if God was calling me to become a priest,” he said. “Obviously, that involves a lot a prayer and the guidance of spiritual directors.

“At the same time, seminary exposed me to the riches contained in the study of philosophy and theology. For me, an important part of seminary was the assurance that I was not in this alone -- being in a community of other seminarians, while receiving so much prayer and support from those in the diocese.”

About his upcoming ordination, Baker said, “To echo the sentiments of David in Psalm 108: ‘My heart is ready.’”