Fr. Tom Baker is the fourth of seven children born to Deacon Chuck and Marge Baker. Although born in St. Charles Missouri, he grew up in Lakewood, California, attending St. Pancratius Elementary School in Lakewood and Pius X High School in Downey. After graduating from Pius in 1977, he went to Northrop Institute of Technology in Inglewood where he became a certified aircraft mechanic. While working at McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach he was inspired toward the priesthood, and eventually entered St. John’s Seminary College (Camarillo) in the fall of 1982. After completing his undergraduate requirements he continued his graduate studies at St. John’s Seminary and was ordained a priest in 1989. He has been a priest for 29 years, having served as Associate Pastor at St. Joseph the Worker Church, Canoga Park and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Los Angeles (Hammel). He was Pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Los Angeles (Rosehill) from 1997-2005, Pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Lancaster from 2005-2016, Pastor of St. Kateri Tekakwitha Church, Santa Clarita from 2016-2017, and Administrator of St. Anselm Church in Los Angeles from 2017-2018. He was recently named Pastor of St. Rita’s Church in Sierra Madre, an assignment which began on July 1, 2018.
In addition to being a spiritual man, Fr. Tom greatly enjoys the outdoors. The activities he enjoys most are hiking, kayaking and participating in triathlons. Fr. Tom began doing triathlons back in 1986 but once he was ordained a priest he discontinued them for a while. He took them up again 1999 (needing the outlet after realizing the responsibilities of a pastor) and has completed over 100 of varied lengths (including the ironman distance 14 times). It was a dream of his to one day participate in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, and that dream was realized in October 2012.
When asked once after an Ironman why he puts his body through such a demanding event he responded: “because the Ironman breaks me down physically and mentally, and it’s at that point I have to turn myself over to my Savior, the one I serve and the one who saved me.”