- September 1, 1940 - April 9, 2009
- Gardner, Massachusetts
of Donald's Passing
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“To Fr. Baker's family:
Thank you for sharing your brother with the Sacred Heart congregation. He was a wonderful, kind person and a great priest. ...Read More »
1 of 3 | Posted by: The Garceau Family - Gardner, MA
“You are unforgettable as a wise mentor when I was a student at Clark forty years ago. Rest in peace, Father Don
2 of 3 | Posted by: Norman Prince - Montreal
“My deepest symphathies to you Dennis and your entire family. I was in Gardner for Holy Week and prayed with the community there for the repose of...Read More »
3 of 3 | Posted by: Walter J. Conlan, SJ - Fairfield, CT
Gardner-Reverend Donald H. Baker, 68, Pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Gardner, died Thursday, April 9, 2009 at his home in the rectory, after an illness. He was the son of the late Preston A. and Grace F. (Jarvis) Baker. He leaves three brothers and their wives: Warren J. and Carly Baker of San Luis Obispo, California, Dennis J and Paula Baker of Shrewsbury, and Kevin P and Donna Baker of Leominster; two sisters and their husbands, Judith (Baker) and Michael Landolfi of Quincy, Gail (Baker) and Bernard DesBois of Pepperell, and many nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews. Father Baker is predeceased by a brother Preston D. Baker who died in May of 2008.
Father Baker attended Westminster Public Schools and graduated from Notre Dame High School in Fitchburg with the class of 1958. He attended Fordham University in New York City and St. John's Seminary in Brighton where he received the Master of Divinity. Father Baker was ordained in Holy Rosary Church in Gardner on May 20, 1966 by Bishop Bernard J. Flanagan. He was appointed the first associate pastor of Holy Family of Jesus Parish in Leominster from June 1966-1969. He was then assigned to graduate studies at Boston College where he received the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Counseling Psychology. He then served as chaplain to the Catholic community at Clark University until 1973. Father Baker was next appointed the first chaplain of Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, MA.
In 1980 he was named Assistant Vicar of Campus Communities in the Worcester Diocese and Chaplain to the Newman Center at Fitchburg State College until 1983, when he became pastor of Saint Denis Church in Ashburnham. In 1990, Father Baker was named pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Gardner.
He was a member of the Board of Governors of The Catholic Free Press from 1985-1995; a past member of the Allocation Committee of the Gardner United Way and served several years on the Health Advisory Board of the Gardner School system.
Fathers Baker's body will lie in state at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, 166 Cross Street, Gardner, MA on Wednesday, April 15, 2009 from 5:00-7:30 p.m. with a Wake Service to be held at 7:30 p.m. by Most Rev. Bishop George E. Rueger, Retired Auxiliary Bishop Vicar General
The Funeral Mass will be celebrated by Most Rev. Bishop Robert J. McManus, at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 16, 2009, in Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, 166 Cross Street, Gardner, MA.
Burial will follow in the Woodside Cemetery, 9 Narrows Road, Westminster, MA 01473.
In Lieu of Flowers, Memorial Contributions may be made in Father Baker's name to the Catholic Relief Services, P.O. Box 17090, Baltimore, Maryland 21203.
The Westminster Chapel of the Sawyer-Miller-Masciarelli Funeral Homes,(www.masciarellifamilyfuneralhomes.net), 123 Main Street, Westminster, MA 01473 is in charge of Funeral Arrangements.