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Saint John Roman Catholic Church

19 St. John Sq., Middletown, Connecticut, (860) 347-5626 .................... Rev. James Thaikoottathil, J.C.D.

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Pastor

Rev. James Thaikoottathil, J.C.D.             

             

Director of Religious Education

Mrs. Connie Russo McCorriston

                 

Parish Administrative Secretary

Mrs. Diana Blair
StJohnSecretary@comcast.net
    

Parish Bookeeper
Ms. Mary Ann Majors
StJohnBook@comcast.net

            
Parish Sexton
Mr. Bob Maxa

Parish Organist
Mrs. Joanne Swift


Parish Committee Heads

Parish Council: Debra Liistro     

                  (860-402-3280)
 

Building & Grounds: Richard      Bergan       (203-537-1435)
 

Fundraising Chair: Simonne       Mularski     (860-301-0825)

Finance Chair: Kimberley

Parks         (860-267-0847)  


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   
                                5:30 (St. Sebastian)

Sunday Mass:            9:00 AM  

                                11:00 AM and 5:00 PM (St. Sebastian)

Weekday Masses:      7:30 AM  in the Chapel Tues & Thurs

                                 7:30 AM  Mon. Wed. &Fri. (St. Sebastian)


Eucharistic Adoration begins in the chapel after the 7:00 AM Mass on the 1st Thursday and ends at 9:00 AM with Benediction.

 

Confessions:  Heard Saturdays, 3:15-3:45PM 

                     Heard Sundays, 8:15-8:45AM


Holy Days of Obligation:  Vigil 7:00PM & 8:00 AM

                                           12:10 PM & 7:00 PM (St. Sebastian)

If you attend Mass at St. Sebastian all St. John envelopes will be collected and sent to St. John rectory for counting.

           ~ Air Conditioned and Handicapped Accessible~

vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

                            

 

 

Pastoral Sharings: Third Sunday of Advent


 

 

 

Homily from Father Alex McAllister SDS
Posted for December 17, 2017

Third Sunday of Advent

 Today we turn to John's Gospel and consider the person and role of John the Baptist. You will notice from the Scripture references at the start of the reading that we are dealing with two separate passages from the first chapter of John's Gospel. The first three verses are an extract from John's famous prologue which opens with the text ‘In the beginning was the Word.' The second part gives us an account of John the Baptist's ministry of preparing for the coming of Jesus. We ought to regard the first three verses as a kind of poetic and theological introduction to the entrance of John the Baptist. Some scholars think that these three verses do not actually belong in the middle of the prologue but were in fact the original opening of the Gospel before the Prologue was added. /> It is thought that they were stuck in the middle of it by a later editor. These things should not bother us too much especially as the editors of the Lectionary have put the two sections dealing with John the Baptist together for us on this Third Sunday of Advent. ‘A man came, sent by God.' John the Baptist surely is a man and not divine but he has definitely been sent by God. He is a man certainly, but a different sort of a man; one with a divine mission.

 No one else in this Gospel, except Jesus, is described as being sent by God and perhaps for this reason John the Evangelist is very concerned that things should be absolutely clear and there should be no confusion between John the Baptist and Jesus. We are told that ‘He was not the light, only a witness to speak for the light.' It is supposed that this line was inserted because some of John the Baptist's followers were still around and perhaps exaggerated his role and may well have given him the title of ‘The Light'. So although John exalts John the Baptist he also makes it clear that his role was to be a witness and not to supplant the one whom he was foreshadowing. Another thing that is made clear in these few verses is that the Baptist's mission was to everyone.

 From the very beginning John's Gospel stresses that salvation is ultimately for all. We move on to John's encounter with his interrogators and we find a similarity in John's responses to their questions as we do later on in the Gospels from Jesus. His responses are enigmatic and puzzling to his listeners. Responses that were meant to make his listeners pause and think about what he meant. John declares that he is not the Christ nor Elijah, nor the Prophet; these are all what is known as Eschatological titles—names by which the Messiah might be known. We understand the first two but the title Prophet should be understood as being shorthand for Moses. What they meant was ‘a Prophet like Moses'. In the Jewish mind the Christ, in other words the Messiah, is normally accompanied by the two great patriarchs Elijah and Moses. This is brought home to us when in the Synoptic Gospels we find Moses and Elijah appearing with Jesus on the Mount of the Transfiguration. When John is pressed further to identify himself he declares that he is ‘a voice crying in the wilderness' thus identifying himself with the Isaiah text of the first reading last Sunday.

 In its original context this voice in the wilderness which cried out ‘prepare the way of the Lord' referred to the angels who prepared the way through the desert for the Chosen People to return to the Promised Land from their exile in Babylon. But things have moved on because here John means it to refer to his role in preparing the way for God to come to his people. John then goes on to say that he is not even worthy to undo the strap of the sandals of the one for whom he is preparing the way. The phrase about the sandals is interesting because this was the task given to the very lowest of all the servants in a household. In saying this he is presented as a model of humility, one of the first characteristics of a disciple of Christ. John the Baptist has often been described as the Last of the Old Testament Prophets but maybe he ought to be regarded more as one of the first New Testament disciples of Christ.

 We refer to him as ‘Saint' John the Baptist and this title places him firmly in the New Testament camp. We have already pointed out his humility but he embodies other important characteristics of the true disciple of Christ. John the Baptist is first and foremost a proclaimer of the coming of the Kingdom. He fearlessly witnesses to Christ; as it says ‘He came as a witness… a witness to speak for the light.' But to me before one can be a witness to Christ one has to recognize Christ. This is not an ability everyone has. Not everyone can see Christ's presence and action in the world. Not everyone is aware of how he influences even their own lives. In this season of Advent when we are making our preparations for the celebration of Christmas spiritual and otherwise we ought to think about the role of John the Baptist and how similar it is to our role towards the people of today. John the Baptist seems to come from another world, he proclaims a message, he prepares the way for and points out the Savior to the men and women of his day.

 We too come from another world than that of the people among whom we live. It might not be a desert, but it is different because our values are not the values of this world, our outlook is not the same as those of the people around us. And we have a message, indeed it is the very same message as John the Baptist: Repent and believe the Good News. And we point to the Savior. Our task is to help our families, friends and neighbors to see Christ, to help them to recognize the subtle signs of his presence and action in our world. This is a great work, a prophetic task; and by undertaking these responsibilities and carrying them out conscientiously we can be sure that we are changing the world, making it a better place and enabling many others to embrace the salvation Christ won for us. Let us then apply ourselves with renewed zeal and devotion to this task of being modern day John the Baptists, not seeking glory for ourselves but by every thought and action doing our best to point to Jesus Christ, the one true Savior of the World.


                                                                  


 St. John Paul II Regional School


860-347-2978 or 860-347-1195

Visit our website at www.jpii.org.


St. John Paul II School grades Preschool to 8th.  For more information or to apply, visit www.jpii.org, call 860-347-2978 or send an email to office@jpii.org

 





Deanery Advent Penance Service: Let us prepare our hearts for Christmas!  On Monday, December 11, 2017 a Deanery Advent Penance Service will be held at St. Pius X Church, 310 Westfield St., Middletown, at 7:00 p.m.  Several priests will be available to give the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  This is the perfect way to open our hearts and let God's light shine with us!


175th Anniversary

In the year 2018 St. John Parish will be celebrating its 175th Anniversary.  It will be a year of special events.   SAVE THE DATE!   St. John 175th Anniversary Parish Dinner Saturday, April 28, 2018

Worldwide Marriage Encounter
- “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Listen with your spouse for God’s message of love by attending a Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend. The next Weekends are Feb 2-4, 2017 in Manchester, CT and July 6-8, 2018 in Manchester, CT. For more information, call Dennis & Jane Lamondy at 860-481-3720 or visit them at https://wwmectw.org/.


Volunteers Needed!

The Building and Grounds committee is looking for volunteers on Saturday, 12/16 from 9 till noon. We have many tasks lined up to help get the Church and Parish Center ready for winter and Christmas season. New faces are welcome; the more the better. Please contact Tom Furtado (860-4631774) or Dick Wendry (860-983-7707) for more info. Thank you!


SAVE THE DATE - COOKIE WALK Our annual Cookie Walk will be held on December 9 - 10 after the masses in the Parish Center. If you have a favorite cookie that you bake for the holiday and would like to share with everyone, please drop your donation off at the Parish Center before the 4:00 mass on 12/9. Any questions, please give Terri a call at 860-5384339.


Christmas Food Drive – The St. John Church Christmas Food Drive has begun. We will be collecting non-perishables. (canned vegetables, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, macaroni and cheese, cereal, pasta, sauce, etc.) Other perishable items will be collected closer to Christmas. Monetary donations are also accepted. Please be generous during this time of giving. May God bless you!


“You Can’t Take it with You” The Mercy/Xavier Drama Club will be performing “You Can’t Take it with You” Wednesday, November 29 & Thursday, November 30 at 7:00pm at Mercy High School.

 



~ 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

 








 

 


 

 

 

 



 

 

 


Bishop Barron on Black Elk and the Need for Catechists


 

or click here to view on Youtube

                                        





Titian

John the Baptist
between circa 1550 and circa 1555

Oil on canvas

Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain

Preparing for the Mass December 17, 2017

The month of December is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, which is celebrated on December 8. The first 2 days of December fall during the liturgical season known as  Ordinary Time and are represented by the liturgical color green. The next 22 days fall during the liturgical season of Advent and are represented by the liturgical color purple. The remaining days of December mark the beginning of the Christmas season. The liturgical color changes to white or gold — a symbol of joy, purity and innocence. 


Third Sunday in Advent


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

Third Sunday of Advent: Rejoice! We Have Been Found!

Negative!  Negative!  Negative!  "The kids are doing this.  The seniors are doing that.  This is what is going on in our world, and it is wrong.  This is why our country is going to hell in a handbag.  And Catholics are joining in, or not doing enough about it."  Negative! Negative! Negative!
 

“You really told them, Father. That was a great sermon.  It's about time someone said that about those people.”  And so people are entertained at Mass as they hear about other people’s failings. The priest’s words are followed with applause.  “Way to stick it to them, Father.”
 

This is not what the Church should be about.  The direction of negativity is on a mean road, an unkind road, of arrogance.  Where is the joy of Jesus Christ in all this negativity?  Pope Francis tried to change the tone of the preaching in the Church when he issued the apostolic exhortation The Gospel of Joy. The Pope’s exhortation took the world by storm.  It committed the Church to reassess its methods and goals.  He called us to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.  He told us that the main concern of the Church must be to bring the joy of Jesus Christ to the entire world. 

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Third Sunday in Advent, Year B—December 17, 2017

On this Sunday, the Church calls us to rejoice, even though our waiting and preparation aren’t over yet.  Why?

 

Gospel (Read Jn 1:6-8, 19-28)

Today we have another description of the work of John the Baptist before the public appearance of Jesus at the Jordan River.  In addition to calling the people of Judea to repent, John also had to answer questions about himself.  We need to know that expectation of the Messiah’s coming was at fever pitch in first century Judea.  Centuries earlier, the prophet, Daniel, was given a message from the angel, Gabriel, with a numbered calculation of years that would pass between the Exile of Judah in Babylon and the appearance of God’s “anointed one.”  During this time (about 500 years), four great Gentile kingdoms would rise and fall. The last of these kingdoms would actually be turned over to “the saints of God” and become His kingdom on earth.  Doing the math of Daniel’s prophecy, the Jews of John the Baptist’s day knew that the time had arrived.  It is no wonder, then, that the religious leaders asked him point blank:  “Who are you?”  Surely they were wondering if he were the promised (and imminent) Messiah.  He told them:  “I am not the Christ.” 

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Bearing Witness: Cornerstone of the New Evangelization

Since John Paul II coined the phrase, the call to the “New Evangelization” has resounded across the Church universal.  Every single Catholic, declared Vatican II, is called to evangelize.
 

Many find this more than a little intimidating.  So must we go door to door with Bible in one hand and rosary in the other?  Must we become expert theologians, demonstrating from reason, scripture and history why Catholic doctrine is true?

 

If these were the requirements, the call to evangelize could not possibly be a universal one.  But if we examine the Scriptures, we don’t find the Lord telling us “you will be my theologians.”  Instead he says “you will be my witnesses.” (Acts 1:8)

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The Spiritual Joy of John the Baptist

Whoa. What’s that strident saint of the desert doing here, on Rejoice Sunday? His stern call to repentance does not seem to fit.

 

Believe it or not, St. John is the patron of spiritual joy. After all, at the presence of Jesus and Mary, he leapt for joy in his mother’s womb (Lk. 1:44). And it says that he rejoices to hear the bridegroom’s voice (Jn. 3:29-30).

 

Now this is very interesting. Crowds were coming to hear John from all over Israel before anyone even heard a peep out of the carpenter from Nazareth. In fact, John even baptized his cousin which launched Jesus’ public ministry, heralding the demise of John’s career.

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Reflections for Sunday, December 17, 2017: Third Sunday of Advent

Responding to the Call to Pray without Ceasing

 

Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

 

Without ceasing? That sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Take heart! Paul doesn’t really mean we should literally pray all day long. He is talking about an attitude. He is asking us to try to be aware of God throughout our days, no matter what we are doing.

 

That still might seem a bit drastic, but think about the Virgin Mary. Try to picture her and what she must have been thinking a few days before Jesus was born. Like every expectant mother, she was probably alert to every movement of the child inside of her. Imagine her putting her hands on her stomach and smiling every time the baby moved—even when he kicked hard! Picture her constantly having to adjust her position when she sat, taking care when she walked, getting enough sleep, and getting her home ready to welcome her baby. Everything was focused on caring for the life growing within her.

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Cats at Christmas

I grew up with dogs, not cats.

 

Now that I live in the city, though, I have taken to cats because they are generally less trouble; they don’t need a yard to run around in or a daily walk.

 

However, trying to decorate a Christmas tree with a cat in the room can be a challenge. They chase the lights as you’re trying to string them up. They climb in the branches of the tree. They like to bat at the ornaments, sometimes even breaking a few. It can be a riot, particularly at first, but the entertainment value decreases substantially over time. In the end, though, pets are a wonderful gift from God.

 

I’m sure that cats don’t realize what clowns they really are. Enjoy a little humor, from God to you, through cats.

The Bashfullness of Sin

Beware the disguises of sin. Its guise of choice is the brash and loud ugliness, atrocity, wantonness and ruin that makes our skin crawl. While this serves as splashy spectacle, it captures few. Its most effective tactics are never so meretricious. Sin is normally a shy and bashful thing. It operates with consummate legerdemain, more in keeping with its inventor’s angelic skills. The Prince of Darkness dwells where he is barely noticed, better suited to his designs. His primordial depictions as a snake perfectly reflect his stratagems: slithering speedily, without fanfare, attacking before any defense can be mounted. Anything less would be an affront to his preternatural intelligence. Gaudy displays are not his métier, except as distractions from his proven modus operandi. Hannah Arendt famously named this the “banality of evil.”
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The Ascetic Prophet and the Everyday Savior

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.”
John the Baptist appeared in the desert
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
People of the whole Judean countryside
and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem
were going out to him
and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River
as they acknowledged their sins.
John was clothed in camel’s hair,
with a leather belt around his waist.
He fed on locusts and wild honey.
And this is what he proclaimed:
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

-Mark 1:1-8

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If Advent isn’t about hoping “for,” then what is it?

Advent is a complicated season. I’m tempted to say that this is the most complicated season of the Church Year. Advent presumes that we Christians have been formed in an adult faith that is prepared to celebrate an adult Christmas. And, as we know, Advent isn’t a season that is focused only on the past, because this is the time we focus our attention on One who is among us right now and who will come in glory in the future.

 

Although Advent is a season of hope, hope seems to be in short supply these days. So, as I was reflecting on this Sunday’s readings, I thought about what hope might mean for our Church and the world.

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Are You Hoarding Your Blessings?

The Parable of the Rich Fool began, “There was a rich man who had a good harvest.” I knew the passage well but had never really applied it to myself.  It was about a “foolish” man who wanted to store up his abundant harvest for himself so that he could eat, drink, and be merry “for years to come,” not knowing that “this very night [his] life would be required of him.” ( Luke 12: 16 – 21)

 

I was taking the 10-week course on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius at my parish and this was the one-hour meditation I had been dreading.  The class was supposed to meditate on our last hour on earth and what it would be like if we died in the state of mortal sin -not a happy thought.

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3 Classic Catholic jokes

In case you didn’t know, some saints were well-known for having a good sense of humor. Philip Neri (“the Humorous Saint”), Francis De Sales, and Teresa of Avila, for instance, are not only known for their exemplary lives, but also because they certainly knew how to use a proper joke to good effect. But one doesn’t need to go all the way back to the 16th and 17th centuries to find examples of good church humor. For instance, it is said that when a journalist asked Blessed John XXIII (pope from 1958 to 1963) how many people work in the Vatican, the pope paused, thought for a bit and replied, “About half of them.”

 

So, here are three more knee-slappers, which may not have you rolling on the floor laughing, but we hope that they give you a bit of chuckle.
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The Commercialization of Christmas is an Opportunity for Evangelization

Like many Christmas shoppers, I am often welcomed by cash register clerks with the greeting: “Happy Holidays!” To which I like to respond, “Did you have a particular holiday in mind?” From there, the short conversation often goes to Christmas and its true meaning. Like the Grinch, I offer some version of: “Maybe Christmas…doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

 

Even for those who are often too bashful to speak about their faith, Christmas shopping presents Catholics with a natural segue and an almost impossibly easy opportunity to spread the good news of the Gospel. Perhaps for that reason, I have always found it difficult to decry the evils of the “commercialization of Christmas.”

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Pope Francis Proposes Change to the Wording of the “Our Father”

Pope Francis has proposed that the Catholic Church should adopt a better translation of the Lord’s Prayer, the most ubiquitous prayer in all of Christendom.

 

“And he said to them: When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.” Luke 11:2-4 (Douay-Rheims)

 

In an interview for the Italian television show, “Our Father,” which airs on TV2000 in Italy, Pope Francis said: “that is not a good translation,” referring to the phrase “lead us not into temptation.” He proposed a different translation should be adopted “because it speaks of a God who induces temptation.”

Does God Command the Impossible?

Question: What do the push to admit those with irregular marriages to communion, the effort by Fr. James Martin to bless same-sex relationships, and the movie Silence have in common?

 

Answer: They all assume that the demands of Christianity are too hard for ordinary people to live out.

 

In the movie Silence, which is based on actual events, several Jesuits are coerced into apostasizing from the Catholic Faith under the threat that Japanese Catholics will suffer much from their refusal. It’s not an idle threat. The Japanese rulers are quite willing to visit pain, suffering, and death on as many as it takes to extract the required actions. And the Jesuits will know that they could have prevented the pain by apostasizing.

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Hell is Real and Souls Really Go There

As we enter into the very beautiful and theologically rich season of Advent, we are reminded of how our Lord will come again and the final judgment that will occur then. Two Sundays ago I spoke about the particular judgment we all will face when we die. At that moment we will either have entrance into the blessedness of heaven, whether through a purification or immediately, or we will experience immediate and everlasting damnation. That’s it. Those are the only options.

 

That same Sunday I spoke about Purgatory, which is a temporary state of purification that takes place after death for those who die in a state of grace (i.e., without mortal sin), but who still have not been completely purified of their sins. (cf. CCC 1030)

 

Yet what about hell? As Catholics we know that hell exists and that it’s a real possibility for all of us when we die, but have we ever really considered it as a real possibility for ourselves? As we heard in last Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus will separate the sheep and goats.

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