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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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Optional Memorial of St. Peter Chrysologus, bishop and doctor  
July 30

St. Peter Chrysologus ("the man of golden speech") earned the title of Doctor of the Church for his eloquent sermons, of which some two hundred remain. Made Archbishop of Ravenna by miraculous intervention of St. Peter in 433, he rooted out all remaining traces of paganism, as well as a number of abuses among the Christians. In his sermons he strongly urged frequent Communion. He is supposed to have given us the saying: "He who wants to laugh with the devil cannot rejoice with Christ."   


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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:  "18th Sunday in Ordinary Time"




Homily from Father Alex McAllister SDS
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 3, 2014 


You might not agree with me, but I think that it is a pity that in our Lectionary we do not have much longer extracts from the Gospels!

So often on a Sunday we have read to us wonderful stories about the life of Jesus or one or other of his miracles and yet they are mostly presented to us as isolated incidents completely out of context.

Today we have a good example in the feeding of the Five Thousand. On its own it is a marvellous account of one of the greatest and most attested to miracles. But to put it in context is to open up whole new layers of meaning and depth.

I say that this is one of the miracles most attested to because it is recorded in all the Gospels and astonishingly twice in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew.

Today we have the account from Chapter 14 of Matthew but there is another account of what is essentially the same miracle in Chapter 15. In today’s version there are five thousand men with five loaves and two fish and in Chapter 15 we find four thousand men with seven loaves and a few fish.

If you are looking for historical evidence for a multiplication of loaves then six accounts of it in the pages of the New Testament surely ought to be enough to satisfy you!

There are two approaches often taken in relation to these miracles. One takes a reductionist view and downplays the miraculous content altogether in order to say that the real miracle was to get the people to share their food with one another.

We ought to put this out of our minds straight away for it reduces one of Christ’s greatest miracles to the level of the merely trivial.

The other approach often taken by scholars is to heighten the importance of the symbolism stressing the numeric significance of the five loaves, the two fish and the twelve baskets, etc. Again if you go down this road then the simple fact of the miracle is easily lost.

Now while clearly there are strong symbolic elements in the story we mustn’t let them get in the way of what actually occurred. You don’t generally find six accounts of nothing! Symbols are fine but they must be connected to an actual event and it is on that we must focus.

But what about the context I mentioned earlier? Well, Chapter 14 begins with Matthew’s account of the banquet at which John the Baptist was executed. This was an old-style royal banquet of the worst kind.

Herod is there with his cronies enjoying the best food and drink the kingdom has to offer. There is debauchery, arrogance, rivalry and scheming; and the upshot of all this is that the head of John the Baptist is triumphantly brought in on a plate.

This paragraph ends and the next one opens with our text today and has Jesus going to a lonely place. But finding himself followed by the throngs of people he takes pity on them and feeds them in a miraculous meal drawn from five loaves and two fish. All are satisfied; they are fed both physically and spiritually and there was an astonishing amount left over.

What a difference! Matthew sets these two banquets beside each other precisely in order to make this contrast between a banquet presided over by a worldly, brutal and selfish king and the banquet of a loving and generous Saviour to which the poor are invited. He is deliberately making a direct contrast between the values of this world and the values of the Kingdom of God.

Herod’s squalid banquet does nothing for anyone, least of all Herod who comes out of it with a guilty conscience. All who participate in that banquet come out the worse for it; except perhaps the one reluctant guest, John the Baptist.

For him it meant the crown of martyrdom. It meant the fulfilment of his role. He died knowing that he had completed his task and paved the way for the Saviour of the World.

But this is not the only context in which this wonderful miracle is set. If we look back into the Old Testament we find the great prophet Elisha performing something very similar in the Second Book of Kings. He has only twenty barley loaves but he satisfies the hunger of one hundred men.

Matthew’s readers would have been familiar with this incident and of course understood that however great the prophet Elisa was Christ is in a different league altogether.

That’s looking back into the pages of the Old Testament, but we must also look forward to the Last Supper to which the Feeding of the Five Thousand also alludes. There are clear Eucharistic references in the text such as Jesus taking the bread raising his eyes to heaven, blessing it, breaking it and giving it to them. This miracle is clearly therefore a foreshadowing of the Last Supper.

We who are familiar, as Matthew’s readers also were, with the frequent celebration of the Eucharist realise that what happened in the Upper Room is multiplied throughout the world and down the ages.

The bounty of God, the great outpouring of his love, the constant nourishment that he gives us is not restricted to that lonely place by the Sea of Galilee or within that Upper Room in Jerusalem. It reaches out to us now in the sacrament we celebrate this morning and connects us to him in an unbreakable bond of love.

In reflecting on the Feeding of the Five Thousand we look back to the time of Elisha and we look forward to the Last Supper and find definite resonances. But it goes beyond this for, as with everything Christ does, it refers also to the Kingdom which will come into its fullness at the end of time.

Just as Elisha’s miracle foreshadows Jesus’ miracle in Galilee, and it in turn foreshadows the Last Supper, the Eucharist we now celebrate; so this in turn foreshadows the Banquet of Heaven. Actually not foreshadows it, but already enables us to begin to participate in it.

You can see now something that can only be described as a great crescendo building up over the centuries which will come to its fulfilment on the Last Day. And this breathtaking crescendo is a tremendous up-swell of goodness, truth, beauty, generosity and self-sacrifice.

It is a wave of love that wants to catch up all of humanity and bring it to its fulfilment in God.

That simple meal on the side of the lake did not simply fill the bellies of those five thousand people; it was a sign of the Kingdom. It was a token of God’s love for us. It was a pledge of his promise to open for us the way to eternal life.



21st Annual Shrine Feast Day Celebration: The Shrine of the Little Flower is the first Shrine to St. Theresa in the world, located at the intersection of Routes 102 and 7 in Nasonville, Rhode Island. All are invited to the 21st Annual Shrine Feast Day Celebration on August 17th, 10 – 4:30 PM, rain or shine. The feast Mass will be held at 3:15 PM, and will be celebrated by Fr. George Nixon, the Parochial Vicar of St. Philip’s in Greenville, Rhode Island.

St. John Church Religious Education
The Registration Form for the 2014-2015 Religious Education Program has been mailed. Please fill it out and return it as soon as possible. A count is necessary as we need to make plans and order materials for the new classes. If you did not receive a registration form, please contact the Parish Office.


RCIA/RCIC 2014-2015
Are you or is someone you know interested in the Catholic faith? Are you or is someone you know interested in completing the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation)? We are now beginning to make plans for our fall classes. Please call Fr. Mike at 860-347-5626 or Sister Ann at 860-344-8569 for more information.


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. 
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.






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 St. John Church 'Nativity
Window' Ornament click here


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gifts with images from our antique stained

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giftshop featuring gifts Celebrating the

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"Fr. Barron on "Intentional Discipleship"





Miracle of the Bread and Fish (detail)


 Oil on canvas

 National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

Preparing for the Mass August 3, 2014

The month of August is dedicated to The Immaculate Heart of Mary. 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.


Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A—August 3, 2014

Today, Jesus has pity on a vast, hungry crowd; the miracle He performs has profound Eucharistic meaning.

Gospel (Read Mt 14:13-21)

Our reading begins with a description of Jesus’ response to the news of the death of John the Baptist: “He withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by Himself.” Surely He had withdrawn to mourn in solitude the martyrdom of His cousin, whom He had once described as the greatest man born of woman (Mt 11:11). John died at the whim of people who refused to listen to the prophet’s call to repentance (read Mt 14:1-12). A fancy birthday party, in a palace filled with guests and fine food, ended in the death of the precursor to the Messiah. Upon hearing this, Jesus heads for a place as far from a scene like that as He can get, a “deserted place.”

Eighteenth Sunday: The Culture of Life

The Gospel reading for this Sunday begins with Jesus hearing the news of the death of John the Baptist, murdered, as you know, by Herod as part of the plot of his wife, Herodias,  to protect her position at court.  You know the story. Herod had been riveted by John the Baptist’s prophecy and had been listening to the Baptist’s condemning Herod’s present marital situation.  Herod had met up with his brother Philip in Rome and fallen in love with Philip’s wife.  He then divorced his own wife, Phasaelis, daughter of a King Aretus of Nabatea, and stole his brother’s wife. Most likely, she changed her name to Herodias.

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A

Gospel Matthew 14 : 13 - 21


Place our sufferings, disappointments and cares into the hands of Jesus, and he will work great marvels in our lives. This is not merely a nice saying meant to give comfort to someone during a time of distress, it is the reality of God’s care for us in every aspect of our lives. In the Gospel for today this can be seen in how Jesus deals with the news of John the Baptist’s death, the multitude that sought him out and His concern for providing food for the crowd.

Sharing in God’s Eternity

When I was young, even three and four years old, I used to cry at night thinking about death and eternity. It was a feeling as if the wind has gotten knocked out of me and a huge weight was being pressed upon me. Even now, a feeling of terror can come over me when I think of eternity in relation to time. How can our lives which are so limited and passing endure forever? Forever itself seems to be an insolvable puzzle that twists the minds in knots. If I think of eternity, just sheer eternity, it makes me want to crawl under a rock and hide!


Solomon’s Wisdom: On the Necessity of Reading the Old Testament

Once I had dinner with another priest.  As we were eating we talked about the Bible.  “I preach the same homily every weekend,” he said. “Really?” I asked.  “And how are your collections?” While we were at it, he justified himself by declaring that it was no longer necessary to preach on the Old Testament. “Why do we need to talk about that dusty old book anymore? Jesus nullified it. Every word of it. End of story. Leave it on the shelf. Or use it as a doorstop or as a paperweight.”


How God is Present in Us

We have taken it for granted that God, then, is present somehow in the soul by grace. We have now to con­sider what sort of a presence this really is. Do we mean absolutely that God the Holy Spirit is truly in the soul Himself, or do we, by some metaphor or vague expres­sion, mean that He is merely exerting Himself there in some new and special way? Perhaps it is only that, by means of the sevenfold gifts, He has a tighter hold on us and can bring us more completely under the sweet dominion of His will.

Stained Glass and the Book of Revelation

Most Catholics are unaware of the fact that our traditional church buildings are based on designs given by God Himself. Their designs stretch all the way back to Mount Sinai, when God set forth the design for the sanctuary in the desert and the tent of meeting. Many of the fundamental aspects of our church layouts still follow that plan and the stone version of it that became the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Our traditional church buildings also have numerous references to the Book of Revelation and the Book of Hebrews, both of which describe the heavenly liturgy and Heaven itself.


What Do We Mean By Full of Grace?

Hail Mary, full of grace.


The words are beautiful, angelic, and rich in meaning. They are also a centuries-long fault line between Protestants and Catholics. Everything, it seems, hangs upon what is meant by full of grace, or whether full of grace is even the correct translation of Luke 1:28. In Latin, the phrase becomes two words: plena gratia. In the original Greek, it’s just one, the phonetically unwieldy but potent in meaning verb, kecharitōmenē.

The case for the Catholic reading of this is not only far more compelling than Protestant critics will let on, but also far stronger than many Catholics today probably realize.

Our Journey to God Never Ends—Even For Saints

When Catholics speak of conversion, we usually mean the journey of our hearts, minds, and souls to God—not an instantaneous experience, a sudden surge of faith and emotion, or a bolt of supernatural lightning that seals us forever as the elect.

The idea of faith as a journey is well illustrated in the lives of some of the twentieth century’s greatest apologists. Thomas Merton climbed the “seven story mountain.” C.S. Lewis went from the Church of Ireland to atheism to high Anglicanism. Malcolm Muggeridge, a prominent British journalist, spent most of last century on his path to conversion, ending in the Church in the early 1980s. Muggeridge described it as finding his “resting place.”

What is the Answer to Suffering, Pain and Loss?

Many years ago, I taught 4th Grade CCD for my parish religious education department. It was the first evening of classes and I was starting the process of getting everyone introduced to one another when one boy blurted out, “I am going to be your worst nightmare.” He was speaking to me. You could say that I was taken aback, but that would be an understatement. Where in the world did that come from? And how should I respond?


Miracles and Evangelism

Some of the greatest gifts God has given to the Church for evangelism are the gifts of miracles. As a Pentecostal before I became Catholic, I always believed God still performs miracles, but I never saw anything close to what Catholics too often take for granted in both the number and kind of miracles God pours out upon his One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church in every generation. Everything from the raising of the dead, to restorative miracles of the body and more have been experienced in the Church for 2,000 years fulfilling our Lord’s prophetic words of Mark 16:17-20:

Ten Ways To Grow in Prayer

Prayer is the key to salvation.  St. Augustine says that he who prays well lives well; he who lives well dies well; and to he who dies well all is well. St. Alphonsus reiterates the same principle:  “He who prays much will be saved; he who does not pray will be damned; he who prays little places in jeopardy his eternal salvation.  The same saint asserted that there are neither strong people nor weak people in the world, but those who know how to pray and those who do not. In other words prayer is our strength in all times and places.


Irrationality and Infallibility

Not too long ago I spoke with yet another Protestant minister who is about to leave his ministry and join the Catholic Church. He said he ended up in this situation because he had a seminary professor who kept challenging his students to, “Think it through.”

He tried to think through his opposition to Catholicism because he had a parishioner who was asking troublesome questions in his own journey to the Catholic Church, and as the pastor tried to think things through he ended up becoming a Catholic himself.

6 Ways to Cultivate the Virtue of Humility

Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist, there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.     —St. Augustine

If you’ve read this blog for any time at all, you’ll know that I speak frequently about the importance of humility. The saints make it perfectly clear that humility is the foundation of all spiritual growth. If we are not humble, we are not holy. It is that simple.

But while it’s simple enough to know that we should be humble, it’s not always so easy in practice. Accordingly, I want to discuss six methods to cultivate the virtue of humility.

Why Prophecy?

"Despise not prophecies. But prove all things; hold fast that which is good." --1 Thessalonians 5:20

From time to time on a Catholic blog or Facebook post someone will make reference to the prophetic utterance or alleged message from some saint, seer, or sage.

Almost always in discussions about prophecy, whether old or new, somebody will correctly state that even approved private revelation is not binding on us and nobody is ever obligated to believe in it.

So the question is, why bother with it at all?


How to Forgive When I Can’t Forget

While many people believe forgetting an injury is part of forgiveness, Fr. Justin Waltz, pastor of St. Leo’s Church in Minot, ND, suggested just the opposite during a retreat he gave. In fact, he stated that forgetting is not even possible. “The only type of forgetting I have heard of is stuffing,” he said during a retreat presentation and added, “The hurt is not gone, it is just buried deep within.”


A Timeless Lesson and the Burden of Sin

I have been thinking a great deal about my experience at Reconciliation this past Saturday. I felt an intense and unexplainable urge to go and confess my sins when I woke up that morning. I try to go every six weeks or so, but this was no routine visit to the priest for me. I needed to unburden myself of the numerous venial sins I had committed since I last participated in this Sacrament. I was able to see the true nature of these sins as a tremendous burden on my shoulders, as a fog that kept me from seeing the path ahead and absolutely as obstacles in my relationship with Christ. I know these observations to be true because the moment I left the confessional booth I felt as though a huge weight had been lifted, my spiritual vision was restored and I was again focused on serving the Lord.


Ten Tips for a Better Confession

In the context of an Ignatian retreat it is always beneficial to prepare oneself to make an excellent Confession. To make a good confession demands prior preparation. The better the prior preparation, the more abundant the graces and the more overflowing the river of peace in your soul!

Following are ten short helps to make the best confession in your life.

We Don’t Call Her “The Virgin Mary” For Nothing

Whenever we talk about Mary, we address her with many different titles: Mother of Jesus, Mother of God, Holy Mary,  Blessed Mother. However, out of all these, the one most often heard across Catholic (and Protestant) aisles is The Virgin Mary.

Virtually every person that claims the Christian faith accepts that Mary miraculously conceived Christ as a virgin. Yet, it is widely believed across every Protestant denomination that after Mary gave birth to Jesus, she was free to give herself fully to her husband Joseph, and thus ceased to be “the virgin” Mary.

For Catholics, it’s a different story.


Responding to “Spiritual but Not Religious” Christians

Over the last several years I have encountered a fair number of Christians who claim they are “spiritual but not religious.” In other words, they do not identify with a particular Christian denomination, using the Bible alone to guide their faith. It’s an ideology that says religious institutions are outdated and unnecessary.

A Place for Family Prayer

Life today is fast-paced and can lead us astray, so we need to slow down sometimes and reset our direction toward God. The best way to begin this reorientation is by making space – both physically and spiritually – for prayer in the home.


Catholicism and the Perils of Technology

A confession: I am writing this column on my MacBook Air computer with my iPhone at my side. And I regularly enlist the help of a cellphone App to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. And after all, I live in the heart of Silicon Valley and have lectured to 300 actual and would-be Techies and Masters of the Universe.


Five Rules for Consoling the Dying

There are some things that should never be said to the dying. I’ve never bothered developing a comprehensive “no-no” list but years of parish ministry have attuned me to the particularly egregious.

First, if you are approaching a bedside, try not to act like a novice Optimist Club member, all hale and hearty and booming of voice. I know you are trying to cheer people up, but that’s not the way to do it. Ginned up bon ami “let’s do lunch soon” camaraderie makes me wonder if you can see reality.


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