Very Rev. Father Michael Phillippino
Director of Religious Education
Parish Administrative Secretary
Ms. Megan Furtado
Ms. Patty Holmes
Mr. Bob Maxa
Mrs. Joanne Swift
Parish Office Hours
- Monday through Friday
8AM to 3PM
- Closed weekends, holidays
& holy days
Parish Council: Meets every 2nd Thursday of the month at 7 PM in the Rectory; all parishioners are welcome to attend.
"The Mother Church of the Norwich Diocese"
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: Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The fellow in the Gospel today who asks Jesus to arbitrate in his claim for his brother to give him his share of the inheritance sounds a bit like the Prodigal Son in the parable we know so well.
Both the man in today’s Gospel and the Prodigal Son seem to want to exercise their independence and to go their own way apart from their families. Probably in this case the two sons had inherited their father’s farm and instead of dividing it were working it together, at least until one was dissatisfied with his lot and wanted out so he could do his own thing. He probably thought that if his brother bought him out he could invest his money better elsewhere.
Jesus does not pronounce on the matter but instead goes to the root of this man’s motivation which is greed or avarice. Jesus points out that wealth does not bring security. At the heart of Jesus’ teaching has always been the idea that our true fulfilment can only be found in heaven, and that we must realise that this world is transitory and that while we are in it we should be doing all we can to secure our place in eternity.
Jesus underlines the point by telling the people a parable about a rich man who build huge barns to store all his wealth and then decided to take things easy and have a good time thinking to himself that he had made it in life, not knowing that his soul would be demanded by God that very night.
Again and again in the Gospels we see that it is attitude that Jesus is most concerned with. If the man in the parable had been thanking God for his wealth and had taken some steps to share his good fortune with those in need then it would have been a very different story. Instead this man focusses his energy on acquiring wealth and storing it up for himself in order that he will have security for the future so that he can then live a life of leisure. He gives no thought to God or to his less fortunate neighbour.
However, the purpose of our lives is to become rich in God’s sight. It is not to acquire wealth so that we can indulge ourselves and become independent of everyone else.
And God’s values are completely different to the values of this world. He desires things like justice, peace, charity, love, patience, sharing, faith, hope and so on. These are quite contrary to the things that the world teaches are important such as independence, wealth, luxury, leisure, power, etc.
The Christian is someone who has made adjustments in his life. The Christian has realised that the values of this world are transitory and knows that they cannot bring true fulfilment. He places his trust in the things of God and understands well that true fulfilment consists in embracing the heavenly virtues such as truth, humility, honesty, patience, kindness and so on.
The true Christian knows that it is only by cultivating these virtues that we will reach heaven.
Coming to this conclusion we are drawn back to the First Reading this Sunday from the Book of Ecclesiastes in which the Prophet declares that all is vanity. From the dictionary we define vanity as an excessive belief in one’s own beauty or personal ability; but it also means whatever is vain, empty, or valueless and it is this that the Prophet intends it to mean in the reading for today.
We are being told that we should not place value in anything material since ultimately all material things will pass away and therefore cannot bring us lasting security or peace. It is only the spiritual things which are eternal and therefore it is these in which we should place our trust.
Transitory material things can never be trusted to last. Only those things which find their origin in heaven can ever be truly lasting and so it is in these that we should place our trust.
Of course, there is a tremendous silver lining here because by adopting the virtues as our rule of life we become much better and more attractive people. We become people whom others look up to and admire. Other people feel they can trust us and find us friendly and open towards them.
Whatever the side benefits, the main point is that our goal should be acquiring the virtues and so aiming to become the kind of person that God wants us to be. By making ourselves acceptable in the sight of the Lord we will find that in due time the gates of heaven will swing open for us and we will find ourselves welcome citizens in the Kingdom of God.
Of course, we might feel that leaving material things behind will leave us vulnerable. Having a few pounds in the bank put aside for a rainy day makes us feel secure. Owning our own house would in a similar way make us feel safe. We might hesitate to live without these props because we feel we could risk disaster; we would feel that we were living life without being insured.
This is where the doctrine of Divine Providence comes in. The refrain of the saints was always this: God will provide. The bottom line of our faith should be complete trust in a God who will not let his little ones falter. If we take risks for our faith God will not pour money in our laps but he will ensure that we are safe. This is what we mean by Divine Providence, that God will give us our daily bread, that he will in fact provide for our needs.
The great saints understood this and made tremendous sacrifices knowing that God would keep them from harm. We are not all saints and we feel the weight of our responsibilities especially if we have children or other dependents to look after. But we should remember that our greatest gift to them should not simply be material security but rather the correct attitude to adopt in life.
Given the choice of bequeathing our children wealth and security or giving them the gift of faith, I know what I would choose and it would be faith. After all, wealth can distort our character and is easily squandered but the gift of faith lasts forever, it is the only thing that we take with us from this work into the Kingdom of God. Give them this gift for it is the only thing really worth having.
St. John Paul II Regional School
Pre-K through Grade 8
860-347-2978 or 860-347-1195
Visit our website at www.jpii.org
SCHOOL NEWS: St. John Paul II Regional School is ENROLLING NOW for the 2016-2017 school year. Admissions documents, application, and financial aid information can be found on the school website (www.jpii.org) under the Admissions drop down tab.
We are pleased to announce that Darryl E. Bullock, Ph. D., has been appointed Principal of St. John Paul II School, effective August 15, 2016. Please join us in welcoming Dr. Bullock to the St. John Paul II School community
Compassion: The Church prays for all who have had abortions, and welcomes them back in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. At www.priestsforlife.org, you can read, in their own words, the experiences of women and men who have lost children to abortion. One woman writes, “My abortion was very painful, physically and mentally. It affected me in the worst way. I felt guilty; I couldn’t look at any kids. I know I won’t ever do it again. I tell other people how it felt and what I felt like after I did it and I hope that they won’t do the same thing I did. It gave me a totally different view on life.
Save the Date: Parish Picnic, September 10th! Please save the date for our Annual Parish Picnic, which will be held at 5 PM on Saturday, September 10th on the Rectory Grounds. More information forthcoming!
Extra Confession Times: In honor of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Fr. Mike will be hearing confessions at extra times. Confessions will be heard at their usual Saturday 3:00 – 3:45 time slot, but Fr. Mike will also be available on Saturday mornings from 6:45 – 7:45 AM.
Bishop Michael Cote has designated St. John Church as a place of pilgrimage for the Diocese of Norwich during the Holy Year of Mercy.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CLASSES
The 2015-2016 Religious Education school ear has come to an end! A big thank you to all our teachers and volunteers who helped to make this year a success!
~ Middletown, Connecticut ~
Pope To You
St. John Church 'Nativity
Window' Ornament click here
Click here to visit our parish giftshop featuring
gifts with images from our antique stained
Click here to visit our Holy Spirit themed
giftshop featuring gifts Celebrating the
Christ and the Rich Young Ruler
Oil on Canvas
Church in New York City
Preparing for the Mass July 31, 2016
The month of July is dedicated to The Precious Blood of Jesus. The entire month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green. This symbol of hope is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. It is used in the offices and Masses of Ordinary Time. The last portion of the liturgical year represents the time of our pilgrimage to heaven during which we hope for reward.
18th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Reading I: Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
Responsorial Psalm: 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
Reading II: Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
Gospel: Luke 12:13-21
Sunday Bible Reflections from Scott Hahn and the liturgy can be found here and a children's liturgy can be found here.
of Ordinary Time: Success
The readings today begin with Ecclesiastes’ diatribe against those whose lives revolve around meaningless goals. “Vanity of Vanities,” the Preacher, Qoheleth, says, “All things are vanity.” People work hard for things that pass away. It is all in vain. In the Gospel, from Luke, Jesus tells a parable about a farmer whose goal is to be rich, and when he has far more than he needs, merely stores what he has, and dies that very night. “Seek that which is above,” Paul tells the Colossians and us, and then he lists some of the things that hold us back in our seeking God: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, greed and lying.
Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C—July 31, 2016
A man wants Jesus to settle a family squabble but finds his problem is much bigger than getting his share of an inheritance.
Gospel (Read Lk 12:13-21)
It’s always a little surprising to see someone in a Gospel story tell Jesus what to do (see also Lk 10:40). Here, a man calls out, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” Jesus’ response is cordial: “Friend, who appointed Me as your judge and arbitrator?” There is a touch of irony here. The man is thinking of Jesus as a wise rabbi, capable of intervening in his disagreement with his brother. We don’t know why the brothers were at odds, but we can sense something of the problem from Jesus’ reluctance to address it. Jesus is, indeed, the One Who will someday “come in glory to judge the living and the dead,” as we say in the Creed. It is in that role, as Judge of men’s souls, that Jesus tells the man a parable....more
|Don’t we all long to see God? Yet, so much of the time, He remains largely invisible to us. How does He reveal Himself in our day-to-day lives?|
When we want to see someone we can’t actually meet, such as a loved one who moved far away, we often keep pictures—images—in our homes. Now we have the added benefits of options like Skype or Face Time, so we can virtually meet with those we long to see. Yet, these are not novel ideas: God thought of them first! And He uses them daily to touch each one of us, even when we feel He is most invisible.
First, God created the human person in His own image and likeness. As a skillful artist may paint a beautiful self-portrait, so God created each human person to reflect Himself. Because God is pure spirit and the human person is body and soul, man mainly reflected God in his created soul. And then man fell.
Teachings from the Lord on Prayer
Last week’s Gospel featured the Lord insisting that prayer was “the one thing necessary.” This week, we see the disciples’ request that the Lord teach them on prayer. In answer, the Lord gives three basic teachings or prescriptions for prayer.
Let’s look at these three prescriptions....more
Qualities of Prayer Taught by the Lord
In my parish ministry and work around the archdiocese, one of the questions I receive most frequently is like the question posed to Our Lord in Luke’s Gospel, “He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.'” (Luke 11:1)
People simply want to know, “How should I pray? Can you help me improve my prayer life?”
What I have been told by those who ask these questions is that there is much interest on their part in prayer, but very little actual praying. These questions come from people who have been Catholics all their lives and also from those who are newly received into the Church or maybe are just beginning their journey in RCIA. I’m asked by young and old, healthy and sick. Sometimes the question comes from one who is dying… from men and women who, truth be told, could teach me much about prayer....more
should ask God…
I’ve often heard people say that they don’t want to trouble God with their petty needs and concerns. After all, he has more important things to attend to, like running the universe.
Yet the New Testament makes God out to be a glutton for punishment. Not only does Jesus often urge us to ask for what we need, (“Ask and you shall receive” Lk 9:11), but he praises the people, like Bartimaeus, who ask in the loudest, most obnoxious of ways (Mk 10:46-52). And to top it off, he tells stories in which he showcases rude, relentless people who wake up their neighbors in the middle of the night (Lk 11:5-8). My all-time favorite is the nagging widow who won’t give the judge a moment’s rest till she gets what she wants (Lk 18:1-8).
Act Like a
Christian. The World is Watching
I recently read a piece about an Islamic convert to Christianity who withstood torture at the hands of Islamic radicals. It's an amazing story but it's not the one I want to focus on here. (That has to be the worst lede ever.)
In explaining his conversion, he said what made Christ intriguing to him was meeting Christians at college who seemed at peace and ready to forgive wrongs done to them. He said their openness to sacrifice shocked, surprised, and inspired him to begin reading about Christ. He didn't go into the particulars about what he specifically saw in Christians and it would likely make for boring reading. It may have been something as simple as forgiving gossip or a harsh word. But it brought home to me the importance of little things in conversion stories.
God and the
The Dave Matthews Band’s wonderful song “The Space Between” describes where he will be waiting for his love — in the “space between” the laughter, the tears, the joy, and the heartache. The lyrics make several points on many levels, but, as with all great art, it touches upon something eternal and Godlike in nature.
Space and the Still Small Voice
I was reminded of this when we recently heard the story of Elijah waiting for God:
And [the Lord] said [to Elijah], “Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. (1 Kings 19:11-13)
“Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.”-Matthew 4:18-22
A few months ago, I heard a sermon that really stuck with me and was based off of the reading above. It brought up an idea I hadn’t thought of before: Jesus as the “Great Interrupter.” Usually we think of an interruption as something negative. Jesus brings another kind of interruption: He asks us to let Love in and to allow our lives to be radically transformed. He asks us to abandon or re-evaluate our plans and ways of living for something greater.
When James and John set out on a boat that day to start work, they didn’t know that their lives would never be the same again. They had no idea that they would literally drop their nets, their careers, and lives as they knew it, and follow Jesus. What an eventful day that must have been! Mary certainly wasn’t expecting an angel to show up to her family’s abode in Nazareth and announce that she would carry the Son of God in her womb! Jesus never leaves things as they are....more
Causes of Holy Mother Church
|“In the Nicene Creed we profess the four Marks of the Church which are one, holy, catholic and apostolic. These four marks are intrinsically intertwined. These are those things by which we can distinguish the true Church from a false one provided all four are properly fulfilled by the true nature and essence of the One True Church built upon the rock of Peter. We can discern the true from the false by a proper discernment of the causes of a thing. Since God is the perfect cause, His Church will have all four causes which are proper to a thing and it can be demonstrated that Aristotle’s four causes line up with and better explain the four Marks of the Church.” (Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg)|
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, winning converts to our Faith should be a constant concern for all Catholics: “The true apostle is on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers. . .or to the faithful.”  How should we go about it? With the knowledge that people are brought to the Church one by one.
All who are saved are saved through the Church even if they are not aware of it on earth. Everyone in heaven is a member of the Church. Pope Francis has rightly criticized proselytism (in the pejorative sense): that is, attempts to coerce, manipulate others into the faith. Instead, we need to approach others prepared for that total “gift of self” which is never more complete than when we act as God’s collaborators in communicating God’s grace.
How then should we go about legitimately sharing our faith?...more
Proclaim the Happy News: In Heaven, We'll Meet Again!
I wrote at the Register a couple weeks back that I had no idea there was so much that saints said about life in heaven, and how we’ll meet again.
Growing up as a Protestant I received the gamut of opinions, arguments, and exegesis on the possible outcomes.
Then there was that confusing book turned movie, The 5 People You Meet In Heaven. The story is about a guy who dies in an attempt to save a young girl, and in heaven he meets 5 people who impacted him or he had an impact on. They each teach him an important lesson. As a Catholic, I can only entertain it as a nice spin on Purgatory, but it still put a stalling question in my mind, Other than God, who DO we meet in heaven?...more
and don’t know what to say? Here are Five Ways to Break the Ice
If you’re an introvert like I am, starting conversations probably doesn’t come very easily for you. And if you’re anything like me, you volunteer for things that sound fun before you realize that involves interacting with people you don’t know, which is great, even if it doesn’t feel that way at first.
So next time you’re wedged between the alto and tenor section of the choir you just joined or awkwardly standing around the sacristy with the other Eucharistic Ministers before the start of Mass or waiting behind an attractive person in line for coffee and doughnuts after Mass, use any of these questions to break the ice.
Faith in a Time of Crisis
It has been a depressing month. A few weeks ago, I had brunch with my brother, a loyal Sunday Catholic. He has a vacation home which he generously offers to our extended family, and during our meal he told me that our college-age grandnephew and his girlfriend had visited. The understanding was that they would occupy separate bedrooms for the duration, but within days, my brother said, chuckling, they were sharing a room. I was dumbfounded. Not just that my sister’s grandson was flouting our family’s moral standards, but that my brother was treating it as a cute anecdote.
That same week, my husband found out that his niece, a young lady in her twenties, reared in a “good Catholic family,” announced that she was buying a house with her boyfriend. No mention of an engagement. Just “We’re moving in together” stated without shame....more
Original Sin Called the “Sin of Adam”?
|Original sin is that first sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, committed when they ate the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 3:1-7). And while it clearly involved both of them, Scripture and Tradition refer to it formally as the “Sin of Adam” or “Adam’s Sin,” not the “Sin of Adam and Eve.” It is also described as coming to us “through one man,” not “through a man and a woman.” Consider the following quotes from Scripture and the Catechism:|
You can’t be
having too much grace
Have we forgotten how to feel unworthy in the presence of goodness, let alone of God?
“You can’t be having too much grace for me,” said a friend, who had grown up in a form of Catholicism that was big on sin and guilt, plus punishment. Priests would interrogate you in the confessional like a detective grilling a serial killer trying to deny his crimes, and sometimes refuse you absolution if they decided you weren’t repentant — which is to say guilt-stricken — enough to deserve it.
Saints Whose Intercession is Much Needed in Today’s Culture
|1. Pope Saint John Paul II |
A saint for the modern age, Pope Saint John Paul II contributed so much to the life of the Church and the world in his time here on earth. His writings on the importance and health of the family are particularly relevant in today’s culture, which struggles to define what a marriage, family, or relationship is. He once wrote, “As the family goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the whole world in which we live.” Pray to Saint Pope John Paul II for a restoration of a respect for the family life.