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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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Saturday of the Thirty-Fourth Week of Ordinary Time


November 28

Traditionally today is the feast of St. Catherine Laboure. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to her, a member of the Daughters of Charity, three times in 1830 and commissioned her to have made the Miraculous Medal and to spread a devotion to it. St. Catherine Laboure was canonized in 1947. It is also the feast of St. James of the Marches who grew up in the turbulence of early 15th Century Europe. Wars were being waged across Western Europe, and the Papal seat of authority was divided between Italy and France.


Jubilee of Mercy Begins December 8th - Click Here or See Link Below


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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

Parish Custodian
Mr. Timothy Cavanagh

Choir Director
 To Be Announced



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"

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:  "Are You Missing Out? Week 1: Jesus' Warning




Homily from Father Phil Bloom 
Are You Missing Out? Week 1: Jesus' Warning 
Posted for November 29, 2015


Message: Today we hear Jesus' warning - issued on the brink of Passion Week.

Today is the First Sunday of Advent. Before beginning this homily, I would like to take a quick look back. We just finished a five-week homily series titled, "Something for You." God does not want something from you. He wants something for you: Faith, Communion, Opportunity, Abundance and Power.

God wants something for you. The problem is you can turn down God's offer. you can take it or leave it. He has given you and me freedom. We can accept or reject his love - his mercy.

Now, you might think, , "I've got plenty of time." That type of thinking, Jesus tells us today, is foolhardy. It's like drinking and driving. Or to use Jesus image, walking into a trap.

If you are still thinking, , "Those warnings I've heard before." Pope Benedict has a word for you. When he was a young priest, he warned people not become complacent. He told this story:

A traveling circus in Denmark caught fire. To fetch help the manager sent his quickest runner, who happened to be the clown. The clown was already dressed in his uniform so when he told the townspeople about the fire, they began to laugh. No, he said, the fire is blazing and it could spread across the dry grass and threaten the village. "Please, bring buckets of water," he pleaded. The people applauded his performance and as he became frantic, they laughed till they cried. The fire did spread and it engulfed the village. It was too late. Both the circus and the village burned to the ground.

At the beginning of Advent I feel a bit like that clown. But to tell you the truth, I feel even more like one of the townspeople. Like you I've heard the warnings before - they were false alarms. I'm eager to be amused, but not to take action.

But today things are different. If you laugh at me, no big deal. But this warning comes from Jesus himself. We are on the brink of something major, but we may miss out. To show how we might be missing out, let's take a look at today's text in its context.

Sometimes I wish we were like the Evangelicals - everyone at church with Bible in hand. I would tell you to open to Luke, chapter 21. You would see immediately that the next section is about Holy Week - the Passion. That's the context of Jesus' warning.

Jesus' call to vigilance relates to his coming Passion. By drowsiness and distraction people may miss the most important event in human history. As the week advances most did not see the significance of what was happening. They didn't pay attention - or if they did, they saw Jesus' Passion as one of those spectacles the Roman so skillfully staged. They wanted distraction, not conversion. They missed out.

You and I may miss out. Perhaps not by getting drunk and carousing. We have other ways of distracting ourselves. For some it may involve drugs or pornography. Our bishops have issued a major document on pornography. I encourage you - especially parents - to read it. Pornography causes a person to miss what Jesus is offering.

But it does not necessarily require something as addictive as porn or drugs. We've got other other ways of distracting ourselves. We've got cable TV, the Internet, Facebook, Smart Phones - not to mention, shop until you drop! The devil is not picky. He wants to distract you and me. He wants us to miss out.

We will see more about this in coming weeks. During Advent I ask this question: Are you missing out? That's our Advent theme.

Today we hear Jesus' warning. He issued it on the brink of Passion Week - the most important events ever. "Do not become drowsy," Jesus says. That's our task: Do not miss out. Step back from constant distraction. Take instead the example of the Psalmist. He speaks to God, "For you I wait all the day." Amen.





 St. John Paul II Regional




Pre-K through Grade 8
860-347-2978 or 860-347-1195

Visit our website at


SCHOOL NEWS:St. John Paul II students donated a HUGE amount of nonperishables to the St. John Church Thanksgiving Food Drive, enough to help feed 42 families.

Welcome to St. John Church


 Our Newly Baptized!


Rosina Grace Taliercio
Daughter of Joseph and Jennifer Taliercio of Haddam, CT
Baptized November 15, 2015

Blake Sophie Milardo
Daughter of Tim and Jodi Milardo of East Hampton, CT
Baptized November 15, 2015

Graham Kelly Graca
Son of Brian and Karen Graca of Cromwell, CT
Baptized November 21, 2015

Norwich Diocesan Convocation
This week, Fr. Mike and other priests from the Diocese of Norwich will be in Newport, Rhode Island, for the Annual Norwich Diocesan Convocation. Due to Father’s absence, there will be NO 8:00 AM Mass Tuesday, Dec. 1, through Thursday, Dec. 3. Mass will resume on Friday, Dec. 4. Please pray for our priests, as they are praying for you.


Holy Year of Mercy: On Sunday, December 13th, Bishop Cote will open the Holy Year of Mercy at the Cathedral of St. Patrick at 10:30 AM with a special celebration of the Eucharist. During this celebration, representatives from every parish of the Diocese will be commissioned as Disciples of Mercy. We will also have the traditional ritual of opening the Holy Door of Mercy. All parishioners are invited to participate. Following the Mass, a reception will be held in the Cathedral auditorium.


Bishop Michael Cote has designated St. John Church as a place of pilgrimage for the Diocese of Norwich during the Holy Year of Mercy. Therefore, on December 13th, we will formally open the Holy Door of Mercy at St. John’s at the 10:00 AM Mass that Sunday. All parishioners are encouraged to attend this very special Mass that weekend as Father Michael blesses the Holy Door for the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy. We hope to see you all there!


Diocesan Fuel Fund Collection: The Diocese of Norwich will hold the annual Fuel Fund at the second collection the weekend of December 12-13, to aid those who lack funds to pay for fuel. Please help us to help those who are without heat and light during these cold winter months. May the Lord bless and reward all whose generosity will assist the needy.


Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – Diocese of Norwich:  Celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Norwich on Saturday, December 12, 2015. The evening will begin with the Rosary at 6:30 PM, followed by the Mass, celebrated by Bishop Michael R. Cote, Bishop of Norwich. Following the liturgical celebration, join in a fiesta of delightful music, delicious food and warm fellowship in honor of Our Lady. A free will offering is requested. For more information, please contact the Office for Hispanic Ministry, 860-456-3349, or email at


Christmas Giving Tree and Food Drive: Our 2015 Giving Tree goes up this weekend, the First Sunday of Advent. On it are gift tags for the needy of our parish and town. If you take a tag, please return the WRAPPED present to the tree with tag attached by Sunday, December 20th, so we may distribute the gifts in time for Christmas. Thank you in advance for your generosity!
We have begun collecting nonperishables for our Christmas baskets. Nonperishables may be left at the entryway of the Church this weekend and every weekend until December 19-20. May God bless you.


Poinsettia Sale: December 5-6: The St. John Church Fundraising/Social Committee will be having our annual Poinsettia Sale after all Masses the weekend of December 5-6. Poinsettias will sell at 6 in. for $8 and 10 in. for $20. Car magnets will also be on sale for $5.


Religious Education classes will be held on Monday, November 30th for grades 1-8. Class will be held on Monday, December 7 for grades 1-9.
Confirmation Students: your letter to Father Mike is due at the Monday, December 7th class.





~ Middletown, Connecticut ~

Vatican Website

Pope To You

St. John

Norwich Diocese

 St. John Church 'Nativity
Window' Ornament click here



Click here to visit our parish giftshop featuring 
gifts with images from our antique stained

glass windows




 Click here to visit our Holy Spirit themed 
giftshop featuring gifts Celebrating the

Holy Spirit













Del Parson

Hope in the Second Coming

Oil on Canvas


Preparing for the Mass November 29, 2015

The month of November is dedicated to the Souls in Purgatory, whose feast is celebrated on November 2. With the exception of the last Sunday, November falls during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time and is represented by the liturgical color green. The last Sunday, which marks the beginning of the Advent season, the liturgical color changes to purple, representing a time of penance.


The First Sunday of Advent


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

First Sunday of Advent: Waiting

This year Advent begins with two very positive readings, followed by a stern warning.  The first reading is from the prophet Jeremiah.  “The days are coming when the promise will be fulfilled,”  Jeremiah wrote to people who were decimated by their enemies.  The Babylonians had captured many of them and sent them in chains to Babylon. The Hebrews knew that they had sinned against God.  The exile was a result of their sins.  But had God totally deserted them?  “No,” Jeremiah said.   By their own choice they were no longer in a righteous relationship with God.  But God had not given up on them.  The time was coming when Jerusalem and Judah would be safe from all terrors.  A righteous shoot of David would lead them.  And Jerusalem would be a place of justice, a place of union with God.


First Sunday of Advent

Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Gospel Summary


Luke places Jesus’ discourse about the destruction of the temple and his coming at the end of the world immediately before the narrative of his death and resurrection. In the present passage Jesus uses cosmicsymbolic images of the prophetic tradition to indicate the final divine action in history at the end of the world. Before the Son of Man comes in a cloud with power and glory, there will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars. The coming of the Son of Man in power and glory means that the final redemption is at hand. Jesus then issues a warning lest our hearts become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness or from anxieties of daily life. If we are not vigilant, the final day will catch us by surprise like a trap. Jesus tells us to pray for the strength to escape the ever-imminent tribulation so that we may stand erect with raised heads at his coming.


First Sunday of Advent, Year C—November 29, 2015 

On this first Advent Sunday, our readings direct us to the Lord’s Second Coming, not His first.  Why?


Gospel (Read Lk 21:25-28, 34-36)

We must know the context of our Gospel reading today to truly understand its meaning.  Earlier in the chapter (see Lk 21:20-24), Jesus describes for His disciples a catastrophic event that will take place within their lifetimes (see vs. 32).  Jerusalem and its Temple would be destroyed by “the Gentiles.”  Those days would be filled with horror.  The Christians were to “flee to the mountains” when they see the city surrounded by armies.  This must have given the disciples, all Jews, a jolt.  Leave the holy city of Jerusalem when it is attacked?  How could any devout Jew do this?  Surely this instruction from Jesus was the first hint that the relationship Jewish believers had with the Old Covenant was about to undergo a dramatic change.  [Note:  We know from extra-biblical historical writings that the Jewish Christians did flee when the Romans arrived, because of these words of Jesus; they all survived the assault.]


Ten Tips for a Peace-Filled Advent

1. Attend daily Mass and the sacrament of Reconciliation with your family as often as possible.


 2. Attend fewer Christmas parties and spend more time in prayer. Pray the Rosary with the family or spend an hour each week in Eucharistic Adoration together. Light a candle for the Blessed Virgin Mary on her feast days.


A Jubilee Year of Mercy 

Pope Francis has announced a jubilee Year of Mercy, starting December 8. He is hardly the first pope to stress the importance of mercy. John Paul II spoke about it often and eloquently. But Francis has a special passion for the virtue, likely rooted in his experience of the poor and his affection for the thought of Romano Guardini.


In his masterpiece The Lord, Guardini has a revealing chapter on “Justice and That Which Surpasses It.” It’s worth reading as a clue to the Holy Father’s thought. To quote Guardini at length:


Eucharistic Living in Family Life

As another Thanksgiving Day will soon be upon us, consider what you will be thankful for this year and how you will express it.


The word “Thanksgiving” is translated in Greek as Eucharistia, and the reception of the Eucharist, the Body of Christ, at holy Mass, provides us with a tangible reminder of Christ’s salvific act for each of us, for which we all can be thankful (Catechism, 1360).


Taking the Risk of Faith

The man who never made a mistake never made anything. Likewise, the man who never takes a risk never gets ahead. Whether it is starting your own business, getting engaged, pursuing your dream career, getting a great education or achieving athletic greatness, if you don’t take a risk you don’t take the prize.


This is why the story of Peter walking on the waves is one of my favorite encounters with Christ. Despite the storms, Peter had to get up, see the situation, hear the call of Christ and risk everything to go wave walking. In every area of life, to succeed taking a risk is necessary, and yet in the area of our spiritual life we too often do just the opposite.


"What Precisely is the Gospel?"

Some years ago, I was involved in a Catholic-Evangelical dialogue. One of our Protestant brothers challenged the Catholics in the group to articulate clearly what the Gospel is. I knew what he was getting at: many Evangelicals pride themselves on the fact that they can succinctly sum up the Good News in a way that people find compelling and helpful, whereas many Catholics, it seems, get tongue-tied.


The Miracle that Led “Obi-Wan Kenobi” to Convert to Catholicism

Sir Alec Guinness is one of the most recognizable actors of the 20th century. While he appeared in lots of films over the years and won many awards, he best known as having played Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars.


What many people don’t know about him, though, is that at the age of 42 he converted to Catholicism – in part because of a miracle. 


The Luminous Mysteries of the Holy Rosary

Today we are continuing the series we began last month on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary. This month, we are looking at the so-called Luminous Mysteries, or the Mysteries of Light. Instituted in 2002 by Pope St. John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae, these are reflections on five events during the public ministry of Jesus, five events which illuminated the person of Jesus Christ as the “Light of the World” (John 8:12).


Papal fallibility

Catholic doctrine on the teaching authority of the pope is pretty clear, but lots of people badly misunderstand it.  A non-Catholic friend of mine recently asked me whether the pope could in theory reverse the Church’s teaching about homosexuality.  Said my friend: “He could just make an ex cathedra declaration to that effect, couldn’t he?”  Well, no, he couldn’t.  That is simply not at all how it works.  Some people think that Catholic teaching is that a pope is infallible not only when making ex cathedra declarations, but in everything he does and says.  That is also simply not the case.  Catholic doctrine allows that popes can make grave mistakes, even mistakes that touch on doctrinal matters in certain ways.


What Every Catholic Should Know About Prophecy of the

End Times  

As the new Church year begins, Catholics traditionally consider the Advent themes of the Four Last Things: Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell.


With the increasing violence in the volcano of the Middle East it is difficult not to ponder the growing threat of war, the bitter enemies of Christ’s Church and the gathering storm clouds. As we do, we also remember that behind all the geopolitical and economic struggles a battle is being waged in the unseen realm.


Some time ago Fr. John McCloskey reviewed a book that Pope Francis has recommended repeatedly. R.H. Benson’s The Lord of the World is a grim and sure reminder that we “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and the forces of wickedness in high places.”


 7QT: Consecration, Saints, Souls, and Satire

1. This is the time of year that I devote 33 days to prayer and study in order to prepare to renew my Marian consecration, which I originally made over twenty years ago. This week, I wrote an article entitled "What is Marian Consecration?" in which I explain the reasons for Marian consecration and the ways in which it is done. I also learned something new today. In preparation for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, beginning on December 8th, the Marians of the Immaculate Conception are putting the stories and devotions from the book: 33 Days to Morning Glory online. It is an awesome opportunity to reap the benefits of a most beautiful book and devotion! Click here for Day 1. Don't worry if you see this late or can't make every day -- go ahead and begin. You won't regret it.


A Pencil in God’s Hand: Mother Teresa’s Story Comes to the Big Screen

Anjezë (Agnes) Gonxhe Bojaxhiu was only twelve years old when she first felt the call to become a missionary to India. At the age of 18 she joined the Sisters of Loreto, with the hope of serving in missionary work. For fifteen years, she lived in a convent in Darjeeling and Calcutta, teaching school to local girls.


Then, while traveling by train from Calcutta to Darjeeling for her annual retreat, she experienced what she called her “call within a call.” Later repeating the message she heard from God, she wrote in her diary,

“Our Lord wants me to be a free nun covered with the poverty of the cross.


Patrick Madrid on ‘Why Be Catholic?’

How did you pick just 10 answers to the question “Why be Catholic?” Is there one answer or approach that’s more compelling for you?


I have been giving the talk by this name, “Why Be Catholic?” for the better part of 20 years, and I’ve honed the fine details that really hit home with people. Some things are more important to some people than others. There’s always going to be some variety in what grabs people. For me, personally, what was most important was the historical argument that I detail in the second chapter of the book. Without ever having heard the name John Henry Newman — or, at least, maybe hearing about him but not knowing much about him — I went through a process of looking at the Church historically, much like he did, but he did it at a much deeper, more erudite level than I ever did. I saw what he saw, which is that, working my way backward from the present to the time of Christ and the apostles, there was simply no way to account for the fact that the Catholic Church is there at every step and every generation, all the way back to the first century, even being called the Catholic Church as early as 107 by Ignatius of Antioch.


10 Ways to Get Over Yourself and Become Humble

“It’s not all about you!”  Except, it sort of is. You are there every minute of your day.  Everywhere you go, there you are.  Who stars in all your dreams?  You again.


Yet, detaching from self is mandatory for holiness. It is our life-long task, to get over ourselves by following Jesus whose life, death, and resurrection were all about us. Here are ten ways to help with that task.


10 Quotes from the Saints on What Heaven Will Be Like

With All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days just behind us, it seems like a good time to examine just what happens to us after death—or more specifically, where our eternal souls go when our bodies die.


Purgatory and Particular Judgment

When I was in college, I went through a period of time when I disagreed with some of the teachings of the Catholic Church. I would tell my mother, “I don’t agree with that” or “just because I’m Catholic doesn’t mean I’m on board with everything the Church teaches!” I was a child of the 60s after all; protesting was the custom of the day. One of the concepts of the Catholic Church that showed up on my list was the notion of Purgatory. I did not believe that the Purgatory concept was real. I believed that God was so full of love for us, anything we did was forgivable and we would automatically be sent to heaven. The Catholic Church had other ideas. She teaches that when we die, our souls are judged immediately by Jesus Christ in what’s called the “Particular Judgment.”


Good Ends Do Not Justify Evil Means

There is an old saying that we judge others by what they do, but we want them to judge us by our intentions. That more or less sums up one of the central confusions engendered by our embrace of modernity’s Absolute No. 1 Favorite Moral Heresy: consequentialism.


Consequentialism, for anyone not fully up to speed on basic principles of Catholic moral teaching, is the belief that good ends justify evil means. Despite the fact that this notion has been condemned ever since Paul wrote Romans 3:8, most moderns and postmoderns, including Catholics, deeply believe it anyway.


No Thanks, Jesus!” The Impoverishment of

Spiritual Minimalism

It was a minimal Twitter exchange. Just two or three tweets back and forth, really. Anti-Catholic types occasionally pick fights with me on social media, so I was wary the conversation was headed for an argument. My publishing imprint eSaint Library was promoting a Blessed Virgin Mary eBook bundle, and I had auto-tweets going out every 45 minutes or so. A woman responded to one of those tweets: “Only Christ is necessary for Salvation. Too many people focus on what is unnecessary.” I replied: “No Catholic would argue. But without love for Mary and the Saints, Christianity is impoverished.”


The Holy Innocents: Making Sense of Senseless Violence

Aside from the Crucifixion, the massacre of the Holy Innocents may be the most seemingly senseless and horrific acts of violence recorded in the Bible.


Herod was one of the cruelest dictators of his time. In a time of empire, his kingdom was unremarkable and small, but Herod clung to what power he did have at all cost. When he heard of the birth of an infant savior who threatened his reign, power, pride, and fear conspired within the darkened heart of this tyrant to produce an unthinkable act of evil:


What's So Funny About Catholicism?

“If it bends, it’s funny. If it breaks, it’s not funny.”


I saw Woody Allen’s 1989 film “Crimes and Misdemeanors” while I was in college, some years after it was released. The movie was required viewing for a drama class I took to fill an arts requirement, attended with little interest but likely with a hangover.


Alan Alda’s film producer character sits on a New York City park bench and explains comedy — how the crowds and stress and suffering of urban life will drive anyone crazy, but that’s where all the humor begins — the whole bending/breaking idea. You just need to get some space from all the madness in order to find the funny. Then there was the line: “Comedy is tragedy plus time.”


Hearts of Gratitude

Scripture makes it clear that it is God’s will for his people to cultivate gratitude in their lives: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 exhorts, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Catholic individuals and families can practice thankfulness when life brings both blessings and suffering.


A Spiritual Jump-Start

“Whenever my prayer life goes dry, I turn to praise and thanksgiving for a jump-start,” said Deacon Mike Bickerstaff, editor in chief and co-founder of and a deacon of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. “First, I offer praise … praising God, not for anything he has done, but just for who he is and that he is. Next, I turn to thanksgiving for the many blessings he has bestowed on me in my life.”


The Truth About the Crusades 

The Crusades cause people too much confusion. The view seems to be, there is little to defend in them, and even many Catholics tend to grow weary of “Crusades apologists.” Weren’t the Crusades an appalling example of an excess of violent zeal to beat down infidels? (For the Church only sent warriors after the Muslims because they were not Catholic. That is what we are told.) Even John Paul II apologized for them*, and surely no one wants to repeat that sad episode in Church history.


[*That’s the presumption, anyway. The pope did not apologize for the Crusades of themselves, but only for misdeeds done in battle.]



Outside the Church, the view seems to be that the Crusades are to blame for radical Islam today. If that statement seems far-fetched, consider that it was made just last year, on a prominent anti-Catholic blog, by an ex-Catholic named John Bugay. Read the wild things he says.


Are We Witnessing the Start of a New Crusade? 

Pope Francis has described the present turmoil across the globe as “a  world war fought piecemeal.” With the current world reaction to jihadist atrocities do we see a piecemeal world war, or are we witnessing the rise of the twenty first century wars of religion?


In other words, Are we engaged on a new crusade?


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

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