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Saint John Roman Catholic Church

19 St. John Sq., Middletown, Connecticut, (860) 347-5626 ........... Reverend Father Michael Phillippino

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                    Easter Thursday


                            Easter: April 24


"Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you!'" The Gospel tells of an appearance of Jesus in the Cenacle on the very day of His resurrection. The newly baptized (neophytes) and all Christians with them, must live like the risen Christ, none but a heavenly life and by their manner of living proclaim their faith in Christ.

"This is the day the Lord has made, Alleluia! Let us rejoice and be glad, Alleluia!"  



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Rev. Father Michael Phillippino             


Director of Religious Education

Kathryn Connolly


Parish Administrative Secretary

Ms. Megan Furtado

Parish Bookeeper
Ms. Patty Holmes

Michael Keleher

Choir Director
Bryan Cosham 



Parish Office Hours 

- Monday through Friday
    8AM to 3PM

- Closed weekends, holidays
    & holy days



Parish Council:
Meets every 3rd Thursday of the month at 7 PM in the Rectory; all parishioners are welcome to attend.



"The Mother Church of the Norwich Diocese"

Mass Schedule

Saturday Vigil Mass: 4:00 PM

Sunday Mass:            8:00 AM and 10:00 AM

Weekday Masses:     8:00 AM Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri, Sat

No 8AM Mass on Wed


Eucharistic Adoration begins in the chapel at 9AM after morning Mass on the 1st Friday of each month and ends at 6PM, in observance of the 6:30 Stations of the Cross, with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and a Benediction.


Monday Night:   Miraculous Medal Novena in the Chapel

Thursday Night: 7PM Prayer Group in the Chapel
First Fridays:     8AM Mass and Devotions to the Sacred Heart

First Saturdays: 8AM Mass and Holy Rosary

Confession:       Heard Saturdays, 3:00-3:30PM   


           ~ Air Conditioned and Handicapped Accessible~




Pastoral Sharings:  "Second Sunday of Easter"



Father Alex McAllister SDS
April 27, 2014
Second Sunday of Easter


 Very often you see pictures of St Thomas touching the wound in Christ?s side but in actual fact the Gospel does not record this event. Christ certainly showed him his wounds but it is never mentioned that Thomas reached out his hand to actually touch them. 

 Interestingly, apart from this incident, Thomas is portrayed in the Gospels as being very brave. In the account of the raising of Lazarus that we heard on the last Sunday of Lent when Jesus gets the message of Lazarus? illness and he decides to go up to Jerusalem we find Thomas saying, ?Let us go too and die with him.? 

 These are not the words of a timid and fearful man; a man beset by doubts. And yet when the other Apostles tell him of their meeting with the Risen Lord, which for some unknown reason he had missed, Thomas flatly refuses to believe them. 

 What Thomas had missed out on was an encounter with the Risen Christ. And, no matter what the other Apostles said, he refused to believe. He wasn?t open to persuasion or reasoning. 

 And I think we have to say, ?Rightly so!? After all, faith does not come from reasoning or from what anyone else tells us. Faith is a gift of God and it principally comes though an encounter with the Lord. 

 In Thomas? case this was the actual presence of the Risen Jesus who showed him the wounds of his crucifixion. For St Paul it was his Damascus experience. 

 In every case, let me suggest, faith comes through an encounter with the Lord. Mostly these are not physical encounters like that of Thomas, but they are just as real nonetheless. 

 Each one of us comes to faith by a different route. Things happen to us on life?s journey that help us to see the hand of God at work in our lives. 

 As a child we might be brought up by our parents to believe in God and we grow up accustomed to pray each day. In this way prayer becomes a natural and even essential part of our lives. 

 But this is not merely the saying of prayers. What our parents have initiated us into is a dialogue with the Lord ?with a person, with God himself. Each time we pray we are entering into an encounter with God. 

 At some point or other the young person faces the criticism of others and they question whether this is a real dialogue or whether they are just talking to themselves. If their prayers are more than merely superficial then they may well come to the realisation that this is no empty dialogue but a real and meaningful conversation with the Lord. And through this insight their faith is strengthened and moves to a new and deeper level. As life goes on our faith is validated by all sorts of events and occurrences. I clearly remember talking to a group of secondary school pupils. We were discussing prayer and I asked them if they ever felt that their prayers were answered. 

 One girl said that together with her whole family she had prayed very hard for her grandmother who had cancer. She explained that although they had prayed for a cure the grandmother actually got worse and eventually died. 

 Nevertheless she felt that her prayers had been answered because her grandmother had died peacefully and was happy to go to God. It was also clear that her own faith had been strengthened by this and that she felt closer to God and to her family as a result. Thomas said that he wanted proof. He said that unless he could put his hand in the wounds he would not believe. But when Christ appeared to him that was enough, he never reached his hand out to touch the wounds. 

 Instead he fell to the ground with the great words ?My Lord and my God? on his lips. Throughout his life Thomas never lacked courage. Tradition has it that he preached the Gospel in many different countries ultimately travelling as far as India where he was martyred. As we have heard together with Jesus he set out on the road to Jerusalem saying to his fellow Apostles, ?Let us go too, and die with him.? Well, he certainly got his wish even if he had to wait a few years for it! 

 His faith was surely tested more in that final moment of his death than it ever was before. But in the end he remained resolute. His words to Jesus, ?My Lord and my God? or something very like them were surely on his lips as he gave up his spirit. 

 Thomas had the extraordinary privilege of knowing Jesus in the flesh and also of meeting him in his risen form. But the greatest encounter of all was at the moment of his own martyrdom when he was drawn into the presence of God in heaven. 

 It is this final and ultimate encounter that we are all preparing for. And the best preparation of all is for us to open our eyes and see the hand of God in our lives and for us to spend time in prayer and dialogue with him, but most of all by sharing his body and blood in the Eucharist. 

 It is in these ways that our faith is fed and strengthened. It is by doing these things that at that final moment, with God?s grace, we will make that great and wonderful prayer of Thomas our own.

Divine Mercy, a Great Mystery of our Faith






CONFESSION SCHEDULE: Fr. Mike will be available to hear confessions at the following times:
                            Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 7:00 – 7:45 AM
                            Wednesday: 5:30 – 6:00 PM
                            Friday: After Stations of the Cross
                            Saturday: 3:00 – 3:45 PM
                            Sunday: 6:00 – 7:00 PM 


St. John Paul II Regional School: Pre-K through Grade 8 St. John Paul II School will be opening a 2nd Pre-Kindergarten Campus at the Faith Formation Building at St. Pius X Church, located at 310 Westfield Street in Middletown. This additional campus, to open in September, offers the following amenities: A half-day Pre-K 3 program five days per week, a full-day Pre-K 3 and 4 program three or five days per week, a quality, faith-based curriculum for children of all faiths, and a safe learning environment. For additional information please call (860)347-2978 or visit us online at For more information, please contact the Admissions Office at 860-347-2978 or 860-347-1195, or visit is on the web at


“PROJECT RACHEL” is our Diocesan ministry for anyone seeking healing and forgiveness. Priests in Project Rachel ministry are there for you with God’s Grace and Mercy. Call 860-889-8346 ext.283. All
inquiries are confidential. 


Norwich Diocesan Chrism Mass: Tuesday, April 15 On Tuesday of Holy Week, representatives of parishes from across the Norwich Diocese will attend the annual Chrism Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Norwich. All parishioners are invited to attend this very special Mass, starting at 10:30 AM. After the Mass, the representatives from St. John Church will attend a luncheon at Farrell’s Restaurant in Portland. If you would like to attend the Chrism Mass and luncheon, please call the Parish Office to
RSVP no later than Friday, April 11th.

19th Annual Secretaries Day Mass: The 19th Annual Secretaries Day Mass will be held on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 12:00 PM in the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich. Following Mass a complimentary luncheon will be served. For reservations or more information please call 860-887-9294 ext. 234.
Mercy High School Summer Programs: Now open for registration at Higher Achievement Program (HAP). For girls in grades 7-8, specializing in academic skills, sports, crafts, robotics, arts, and community service. July 7 – July 18, 9 AM – 3 PM. Theatre Arts Program (TAP), a creative and interactive musical theatre experience that will culminate in a trip to the Goodspeed Opera House for a production of “Fiddler On the Roof”. For girls in grades 6-8, July 21-25, 9 AM – 3 PM. Basketball Clinic, for girls in grades 5-9. July 21-25, 9AM – 12 PM.

Healing Service: Sturbridge, March 2, April 6, April 27th. Fr. Ralph DiOrio, Director of the Apostolate of Divine Mercy and Healing, will conduct the services at the Sturbridge Host Hotel, at 12:00 PM. Father Ralph is well known and respected for his worldwide ministry to the sick. His apostolate of prayer, evangelization and healing of the sick will take place during the Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. All are welcome who are in need of healing service. Bus transportation is available in New Haven, Cromwell, and West Hartford areas. Travel cost is $39. For more information call MaryAnn at 203-407-1448.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: SCHOOL/PARISH CENTER: We are calling for Volunteers to help with the clean-up and arrangement of the former St. John School/St. John Parish Center. Volunteers will meet the first and third Saturdays of every month, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon. If you are interested in helping, please contact the Parish Office at 860-347-5626 or Simonne Mularski at 860-347-5853.


Religious Education Information

April 14th and 21st: There is NO Religious Education. Classes will resume on Monday, April 28th for Grades 1-5 from 4-5:15 PM. There will be no class for Grades 6-8 due to the Confirmation ceremony.





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Reflection for 2nd Easter Sunday: Why Pray To The Saints?


Adolf Hyla

The Divine Mercy


Oil on Canvas

This painting hangs above the tomb of Saint Faustina in the convent of Our Lady of Mercy in Cracow

Preparing for the Mass April 27, 2014

The month of April is dedicated to The Holy Spirit. The first nineteen days of the month fall during the season of Lent which is represented by the liturgical color purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart. The rest of April falls in the Easter season in which white, the color of light, a symbol of joy, purity, and innocence, is the liturgical color.


Second Sunday of Easter: Sunday of Divine Mercy   

Sunday Bible Reflections from Scott Hahn and the liturgy can be found here and a children's Easter liturgy can be found here.

2nd Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday)

Gospel John 20:19-31

The Gospel begins with Easter Sunday and ends with the Sunday after Easter. On Easter Sunday the disciples were still mourning the death of Jesus, and even though they had heard reports that the tomb was empty and that Jesus is Risen, this reality was too much for them to accept and they remained in fear hidden away behind the locked doors of the upper room. This was same upper room where they had only days earlier celebrated the Passover with Jesus and were probably already referring to it as the “Last Supper.” While Jesus had been buried in a tomb of rock, the upper room was becoming their tomb.

Second Sunday of Easter: Doubts, Divine Mercy and

St. John Paul II

The Sunday after Easter always presents the event that took place in the Upper Room one week after Jesus rose from the dead.  Pope John Paul II also designated this Sunday as Divine Mercy Sunday.  And today the world celebrated the Canonization of this pope whom so many refer to as John Paul the Great. I believe I can tie all three of these themes together.

Doubting Thomas

The Gospels tell an incredible story.  A virginal conception.  Miraculous healings.  Even people coming back from the dead.  How are we to know that it’s not all just a fanciful fabrication? 

There is much evidence for the reliability of the Gospels, but here is one of the strongest bits of evidence I know.  Think for a minute.  If you were part of a group who decided to perpetrate an elaborate hoax, what would be your motive?  Wouldn’t you want to gain some significant benefits from such a risky business?  Maybe fortune, fame, and privilege?  And if you were to be prominent figures in this tall tale, wouldn’t you at least want the story to make you look good?


Second Sunday of Easter, Year A

(Divine Mercy Sunday)

Gospel (Read Jn 20:19-31)

The celebration of our Lord’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday usually focuses on the sheer ecstasy of His victory over death. All during Holy Week, we are absorbed with the details of His horrific Passion. When we reach Easter, our hearts nearly burst with joy that Jesus is alive and vindicated as God’s Son. In other words, it’s easy to dwell on the fact of the Resurrection and be so dazzled by it that we do not think much beyond that. The mercy of Divine Mercy Sunday (yes, intended pun) is that now we begin to meditate on the meaning of the Resurrection. Today’s Gospel gets us started.

Four Immediate Results of the Death of Jesus on the Cross, according to Matthew

Another way to live in the presence of God is to offer ourselves and all our actions to God the Father in union with Jesus crucified. This way of prayer is often called the morning offering. It is more than a prayer; it is really a way of life keeping us in constant touch with God in all our daily thoughts, desires, and actions. Through the morn­ing offering, we walk no longer alone, but in the presence of Christ crucified, whose perfect surrender of His life to His Father we strive to imitate in all our actions.

 The Victory of the Cross

Terrorism is nothing new.  It’s probably as old as the human race.

In fact the cradle of civilization, now Iraq, was the home of the most infamous terrorists of antiquity, the Assyrians.  Their goal was to conquer their neighbors in a way that would minimize  initial resistance and subsequent rebellion.  To do this, they knew fear would be their greatest weapon.  Simple threat of death for those who resisted was not enough because many would prefer death to slavery.

 Divine Mercy, a Great Mystery of our Faith

Divine Mercy is a great mystery of our faith. The very God of the universe, the Lord God Almighty, has deemed to humble Himself for all of mankind in order to save us from our sins so that we might have everlasting life with Him. We will never find our true purpose, the fullness of joy, or the all-abiding peace and love we seek until we realize our need for Him who unconditionally and freely gives His merciful healing love to all who ask.

The Last Thing Christ Did for Us on the Cross

He had asked His Father to forgive those who crucified Him. He had endured the insults and mocking of onlookers. And he had forgiven the thief crucified with Him, promising Him paradise.

Jesus had been hanging on the Cross for two hours.

But His work was not yet finished. What remained?

John 19:26-27 informs us what it was:


Failing and Falling

There is an old saying that it does not matter how often you fall — it matters how often you get up.

I’m reminded of our failing and falling whenever I walk through the Stations of the Cross, for in the pattern of his passion, Jesus falls three times on his way up the hill of sacrifice.

The three falls of Jesus picture his human weakness, but everything in the story can be pressed for deeper meaning; and the three falls connect with three ways we fail and three times we fall within our frail humanity.

Go Kiss a Crucifix!

Pick up a crucifix, said Pope Francis during his General Audience during Holy Week.  Kiss it and recite this simple prayer:

Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you, Lord.

The Holy Father reminded pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square that Jesus’s Resurrection “isn’t the happy ending of a beautiful fairytale, it isn’t the happy ending of a film.”  Rather, he explained, it’s the result of the loving intervention of God, who wanted to give humanity hope and salvation....more

What Does Jesus Mean When He Says He is Coming on the Clouds?

Continuing to look at some of the text from the Passion according to St. Matthew, we come to the trial of Jesus before Caiaphas the high priest.

Having heard false and conflicting testimony from various witnesses, Caiaphas turns to Jesus, and here is where we pick up the text:


It is ironic that the great poet and Epicurean philosopher Lucretius once wrote that "nowhere do I see the halls of Hell." Adrift in his own materialistic thought, Lucretius had come to the conclusion that religion, as it was in his time and is still counted by some as today, was merely a mechanism of control. In some cases, this is true. However, the real mechanism of control in our lives is sin.  Lucretius could not see the halls of Hell encircling him as he wrote.


“For Worldly Sorrow Brings Death.” A Meditation on the Sad End of Judas and What Might Have Been

As we continue to ponder some of the texts of the Matthean Passion Narrative, we turn to the difficult case of Judas. To many modern readers, Judas is something of a sympathetic character. Some of this is due to our (rather flawed) moral reasoning, reasoning that places exaggerated emphasis on subjective issues (such as intentions, feelings, etc.) and almost no emphasis on the objective morality of the act itself.

First-Century Jews and the Paschal Sacrifice: why “Lamb of God” should mean far more to us

For those of us who lack multiple degrees in theology, ancient history, and sacred scripture, diving into exegesis isn’t much different than Aristotle recognizing a Nike “swoop” or President George Washington thinking the Apple Computer logo is just a cute drawing of the favorite fruit of the original owner of his teeth. While idioms and hidden meanings abound in any culture, it’s difficult — or nearly impossible — to extract all of the meaning that is present.

My God, My God. Why Hast Thou Left The Gun And Taken The Cannoli?

Were I to say to any man between the age of 18 to 60, “Leave the gun, take the cannoli,” I would venture to say that 99% of men of a certain age would know exactly what I was talking about.  It is a cultural reference point.

 Of course, I am quoting “The Godfather.” Many a dude has memorized almost every line of that movie. It is our mutual cultural reference point. If I say to someone with this cultural reference  “You gotta go to the mattresses,” they would automatically understand that I am encouraging them to fight with everything they have and to bring that fight to the enemy.

A Non-Historical Question about Jesus of Nazareth

Peter Kreeft recently presented an essay on the theme that, in his claim to be God, the historical Jesus of Nazareth could not have been wrong and still been a good man. If not God, he would have had to have been a liar, a lunatic, a guru believing in some form of universal divinity, or a non-historical person, a legend.


Is it enough to be a “Good Person”?

In my experience, some people just don’t want to talk about the big questions – Does God exist? Is Jesus Lord and Savior? What must I do to be saved? – and their dismissal of these kinds of questions almost always appeals to the notion of “good person.” It usually goes something like this:

“If God exists, then all He cares about is whether you’re a good person. Because at the end of the day, all that really matters is being a good person. And I’m a good person, so I don’t really need to worry about anything else.”

The Flip Side of ‘Heaven is for Real’

I’m not one of those twelve million readers who bought the book “Heaven is For Real” and torpedoed it to the New York Times’ Bestseller List. But I did check it out from the library and enjoyed both the story and the accounts of heaven.  “Heaven is for real” is, in fact, only one among the many testimonies of  near death experiences I’ve heard about from both Christians and non-Christians.   With some suspect exceptions, most of the descriptions of heaven are fascinating and inspire me to work hard to aim for the ultimate prize.  But that’s just the good news.


A Prescription for Life Given By Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

In past years on the blog, I have generally published the schedule of the Lord’s final week according to the Scriptures (on the Monday of Holy Week). Since I have done this in years past, I presume most of you have seen it by now. If you haven’t, you can read it here: A Chronology of Jesus’ Holy Week.

For this year, I thought I might look at some of the moments in the Passion Narrative (this year from St. Matthew) and highlight them.

How Fasting and Prayer Blessed Me this Lent

Lent, what a season! For some it brings dread, for others it is a time to strengthen their walk with God, and still others it is a missed opportunity for renewal altogether. For me, this Lent has been a wonderful and intense time of great growth in my relationship with God. I have learned many things, some I am still trying to find words for. One thing very obvious to me is that my faith and trust in God has greatly increased. This was not so this past December, when not only was I continuing to endure an extremely painful situation in my personal life, but it was also the time when my mother died.


An Open Letter to Evangelicals: “We Need You”

To my evangelical friends,

I admire you. I really do. And you might be surprised that many other Catholics admire you, too.

We admire your knowledge of Scripture and your Bible studies. We admire your zeal for evangelism and missions. We admire your willingness to publicly stand for your faith even when it means you’ll be made fun of or humiliated.

But most of all, we admire your deep love of Jesus. What can possibly matter more?


Coming Home at Easter — It’s Not Just for Catholics

When Lydia Clark, the 22-year-old daughter of a Presbyterian minister, was confirmed during the Easter vigil at Sts. Rose and Clement Church in Warwick, R.I., last year, she was only one of many non-Catholics who have “come home” at least in part because of contact with the Catholics Come Home organization.

Indeed, although the name Catholics Come Home might sound as if the organization focuses solely on former Catholics, that — as Clark’s story indicates — is not the case.


Diversity and Dishonesty

EARLIER this year, a column by a Harvard undergraduate named Sandra Y. L. Korn briefly achieved escape velocity from the Ivy League bubble, thanks to its daring view of how universities should approach academic freedom.

Korn proposed that such freedom was dated and destructive, and that a doctrine of “academic justice” should prevail instead. No more, she wrote, should Harvard permit its faculty to engage in “research promoting or justifying oppression” or produce work tainted by “racism, sexism, and heterosexism.” Instead, academic culture should conform to left-wing ideas of the good, beautiful and true, and decline as a matter of principle “to put up with research that counters our goals.”

Popes Clearly Say Who Can and Can’t Receive Communion

Reading the comments to John’s excellent post about Bishop Paprocki, I sense a kind of amnesia. So, for the record: There is already lots of clarity about communion and pro-abortion politicians.

And, lest we let ourselves off the hook while  scorning those awful no-good pro-aborts, there is also lot of clarity about how maybe many of us  shouldn’t be receiving communion, either.

To read past homilies and articles please click here to read the

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