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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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Wednesday of the Twenty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

September 2

According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Stephen of Hungary. His feast in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on August 16.

Historically today is the feast of St. Agricolus, son of St. Magnus and bishop of Avignon. He built a church in Avignon to be served by the monks of Lerins and also a convent for Benedictine nuns. By his blessing he put an end to an invasion of storks.



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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
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:  "Twenty-third  Sunday in Ordinary Time"




Homily from Father Alex McAllister SDS  

23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted for September 6, 2015

The miracles of Jesus never cease to make us wonder. If we were in the place of the onlookers on that day we too would be utterly amazed and our admiration would, like theirs, be unbounded.


And in a certain sense we today actually are onlookers to that miracle, even if at the distance of 2000 or so years. Down the ages those words resonate: He has done all things well, he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.


Even as we read the words of the scriptures as they tell of that great miracle those words seem as if they were our own words; he certainly has done all things well!


There is no doubt in our minds that Jesus was the Son of God and that he can perform great miracles, both when he walked this earth and indeed also in our own day. But miracles and signs and wonders are not really what Jesus is about. They are not his primary purpose. They are not what he came among us to achieve.


What he came for was to give his life in sacrifice for our sins so that we might be saved and have the way to eternal life opened up for us. In other words, he came to bring us salvation. The miracles of Jesus are not, however, some sort of temporary sideshow in the life of Jesus. They are not merely incidental.


They are filled with meaning because the miracles are signs indicating clearly who Jesus is. They also point to the salvation he brings us and let us know what form it takes.


In the first reading we hear the prophecy of Isaiah which gives a list of the things that will accompany the coming of the Savior: the eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf unsealed, the lame leap like a deer and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy.


In performing miracles Jesus confirms these and other prophecies and shows himself definitively to be the Messiah so long expected. That he comes in a gentle and unobtrusive way, that he is a Messiah who refuses the trappings of power, that he is no conqueror but rather a peacemaker does not bring him to the attention of the religious authorities.


They fail to recognize that he is the true Messiah but yet the signs are there if they would but only look. And that is what the miracles of Jesus are, signs. They are metaphors for the salvation he brings. In the Kingdom of God the dumb speak, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the possessed are freed, the sick healed, the water becomes wine, all are fed and the dead are raised to life.


The particular aspects highlighted in today’s Gospel passage are speech and hearing. Jesus opened that man’s ears but in a real sense he opens all our ears. He opens them to the Word of God, to himself in other words.


Jesus speaks to us. He does so in a myriad of ways: through his words in scripture, through the mouths of our brothers and sisters, through signs and events, and seeming coincidences in our own lives. He quite often has to break through a lot of barriers to make himself heard. We put up many obstacles such as our prejudices, our treasured opinions, our so-called experience.


Frequently we actually make ourselves deaf to the Word of God, especially if we feel that on hearing it we might be obliged to make some changes in our lives. We easily delude ourselves into making exceptions to the Gospel to suit our own particular circumstances.


Jesus, however, can break through all this. He only has to say ‘be opened’ and we will hear his saving words despite all the self-generated ‘wax’ that has blocked our ears for so long.


But we do not have to wait for Jesus himself to decide to intervene. We can ask him now to help us to hear his Word. We can ask him to unblock our senses, enabling us to hear his Good News afresh. We can ask him to speak again to us in ways that we can easily understand.


Here is a new prayer to add to your list: Lord, unblock my ears; help me to hear what you have to say to me.

And the dumb speak. It is not only our ears that need to be put to proper use but also our tongues. There are few people who are truly dumb. There are, however, a lot of us who put our tongues to improper use.


The man in the miracle spoke clearly. The people took up the refrain and told everyone they could about what had happened. They praised God and proclaimed his wonders.


God gave us the gift of speech to tell the truth and to make known the wonders of the salvation he won for us. Let our second prayer today be: Lord loosen my tongue so that I may bring your Good News to all I meet.


We are speaking of a miracle that occurred when Jesus walked this earth. What about the miracles that he performs in our midst right now? We do not speak about them much and tend to think that the miraculous belongs to the past or to Lourdes or some other far off place. We don’t think much about miracles today here in Wealdstone.


And if we don’t think about miracles we won’t expect them. And if we don’t expect them then we’ll fail to recognize them when they do occur. And if we don’t expect them then we would never think of asking for a miracle, a serious error indeed.


If you were a priest you would frequently hear about miracles, not every day but often enough for you to realize that they are happening all around. Almost everyone you meet has a story to tell of some extraordinary intervention in their life.


As a priest people tell you in private all sorts of remarkable things. Sometimes they realise the meaning of what has occurred, other times they are puzzled and need you to help them interpret these events. Very often the outsider can see what the person involved cannot, and often what is there to be seen is the hand of God working in a truly remarkable way in their lives.


There are healings, there are divine interventions, there are extraordinary coincidences, and there are what at first seem to be terrible tragedies but which bring untold blessings in their wake. There are all sorts of things going on around us that can only be the work of God.


Let our third prayer today be: Lord, help me to see your hand at work in the world and in my life.


If we frequently say this prayer, or one like it, we will begin to realize one of the most important truths of our religion: salvation is not something only for the end of the world, salvation is a present reality.


The saving work of Christ is going on now in the present—his miracles are only the signs and indicators of it. We need to open our eyes and ears to see this great work being achieved among us and to loosen our tongues to tell the world about the glory of God that is being made manifest here and now.


Lord, unblock my ears; help me to hear what you have to say to me.
Lord, loosen my tongue so that I may bring your Good News to all I meet.
Lord, help me to see your hand at work in the world and in my life.




 St. John Paul II Regional School



Pre-K through Grade 8

860-347-2978 or 860-347-1195

Visit our website at

Speaker Susan Conroy at St. Mary Parish, Portland, Parish Hall, September 20th at 2:00 PM. Susan Conroy, world renowned author, speaker, and EWTN television host, who travels around the country giving presentations on her experience with Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She spent time serving in one of Mother Teresa’s orphanages and in the Home for the Dying. She also translated a book that St. Therese of Lisieux called “one of the greatest graces of my life.” You don’t want to miss this inspiring presentation.
Fall Flower Sale: September 12-13 The weekend of September 12-13, we will be sponsoring our annual Fall Flower sale after all Masses. Varieties include mums, asters, pansy bowls, purple fountain grass and ornamental millet. Proceeds will benefit St. John Church.
St. Vincent de Paul Sponsored Meal – September 13 Our last St. Vincent de Paul Place sponsored meal for 2015 will be on Sunday, September 13th. Please save the date! If you are willing and able to help bake, cook, serve, or cleanup, please call Sue Whitmore or the Parish Office.


St. Vincent De Paul Dinner – September 13th Our LAST sponsored dinner for St. Vincent de Paul Place for 2015 will be on Sunday, September 13, 2015. Please save the date! If you are interested in cooking, baking, serving, set-up and/or clean-up, please call the Parish Office at 860-347-5626 or Sue Whitmore at 860-632-7145.


Food for the Poor Mission: August 29-30 The weekend of August 29th and 30th, St. John Church will host a mission priest for Food for the Poor, the largest international relief and development organization in the United States. With help from friends like you, Food for the Poor feeds hundreds of thousands of people every day in 17 countries throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. As a Christian charity, FFTP takes the responsibility of your donations very seriously and maintains one of the highest efficiency ratings of any charity of that size. Please prayerfully consider what you can give. God Bless You.


Pilgrimage to Fatima, Lourdes, etc.: October 6- 16th, 2015. Lead by Fr. Ray Introvigne and Mrs. Judith Hughes. $3,199 per person, please call for reservations.
Day of Recollection: St. Edmunds Retreat, Mystic CT. Wednesday, August 26th from 10 AM – 3:30 PM. “Come to the Water with Mary.” Together we can reflect on the many images of Mary, especially in her appearances at Guadalupe, Lourdes and Fatima, that teach us the value of her intercession for us with her son, Jesus. Includes two conferences, Mass, confessions, time to explore the Island and a hot served lunch. Please call 860-536-0565 to pre-register. $50 per person.


Norwich Diocese Office of Faith Events: Papal Pilgrimage, Thursday, September 24- Saturday, September 27. Only a few seats remain. Be there to see Pope Francis celebrate Mass and canonize Juniper Serra Ferrer, OFM. We will visit shrines as well as historic landmarks. For more information contact Duane Hartley, Assistant Coordinator of Faith Events, 860-848-2237 ext. 304.


Diocese of Norwich Pilgrimage to the Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary, October 5-15, 2015. For information call 860-887-9294. Bishop Cote will lead an elevenday pilgrimage to many holy sites, including the statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague and St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Austria. Other attractions include a boat ride on Europe’s largest subterranean lake, the State Opera House, and the largest indoor market in Europe. Price includes motorcoach to and from JFK airport, departure lunch, all tips, daily Mass, breakfast and dinner daily, departure tax and fuel surcharge. Cost is $3,350 per person double occupancy, reservations must be made by July 20th.

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CLASSES 2015 - 2016 Registration
According to the Norwich Diocesan policy, all students should receive the Sacraments in their own parish. If your child will be going into the 2nd or 8th grade and is attending a parochial school, they must register for classes at St. John Parish. Registration forms will be sent during the week, if you do not receive one, please call Sr. Ann at 860-344-8569.


RCIA/RCIC 2015-2016: If you are interested in the Catholic faith and have not been baptized as Catholic, or if you are Catholic and have not received the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation, we invite you to look deeper into the Catholic faith. St. John Parish will soon begin a set of sessions to share the truths of the Catholic faith and the fellowship of our Church family. If you are interested or would like more information about these sessions, please call Sr. Ann at 860-344-8569.


Catholic Charities Annual Golf Tournament Wednesday, September 16, 2015
Join us at Fox Hopyard Golf Club, 1 Hopyard Road, East Haddam. Registration is at 10:30 AM, Lunch at 11:30 AM, Shotgun at 1:00 PM. $175 covers green fees, cart, lunch, meal/awards. For more information call Christine Jackel at the Development Office, 860-886-1928 x12 or via email at, or visit us at




~ 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













The Light of the World

William Holman Hunt

Oil on Canvas

19th Century

Keble College, Oxford, U.K.

Preparing for the Mass Semptember 6, 2015

The month of September is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows, whose memorial the Church celebrates on September 15. September falls during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green.


23rd 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.

Twenty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time:

Listen and Proclaim the Good News

He put his fingers into the man's ears, and he spat and touched his tongue; and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." And the man's ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 

 This was a sign of the Messiah.  Isaiah had said, in our first reading, that the eyes of the blind would be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared, the lame would leap like a stag and the tongue of the mute would sing. The people realized that Jesus was performing these signs.  With a joy beyond comprehension, they realized that the Messiah was among them.


Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Classic

Mark 7: 31–37

Gospel Summary


Jesus leaves the district of Tyre, and by way of Sidon goes into the district of the Decapolis. People beg him to cure a deaf man with a speech impediment. Jesus puts his finger into the man’s ears, touches the man’s tongue with his spittle, looks up to heaven, groans, and heals the man, saying, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) The people are astonished and say, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and [the] mute speak.”  


Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B—

September 6, 2015

When Jesus heals a deaf, mute man, He fulfills an old prophecy in a startling, unexpected way. How?


Gospel (Read Mk 7:31-37)

St. Mark describes for us an episode that took place while Jesus was ministering in a primarily Gentile region (the Decapolis). “People brought to Him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged Him to lay His hand on him.” We don’t know if these were Jews or Gentiles, but we do know that this was an earnest intercession for a needy person. Because so much of our own prayer lives, as well as that of the whole Church, is taken up with intercessions of exactly this sort, we would do well to pay careful attention to the outcome.


We Are Saved by Christ, Not by Rules 

Sometime back, the media got itself all in a tizzy about “the Vatican” supposedly issuing “seven new deadly sins”.  As one particularly egregious headline put it “Recycle or go to hell, warns Vatican”.


Given this view of the Faith, discussions in the press then break down into inane prattle about mortal and venial sin.  Here, for instance, is  Slate explaining it all for you:


The Holy Bible and Sacred Tradition comprise the

Word of God

One of the “pillars” or founding principles of the Protestant Reformation is the teaching of Sola Scriptura. Simply defined, Sola Scriptura is the belief that the Bible alone is the sole rule of faith for the believer. In other words, if a teaching is not contained in the Bible, then it is to be rejected as having no authority over the individual Christian. Therefore, according to Sola Scriptura, the Church’s teachings (or a pastor’s—or anyone’s teachings, for that matter) are true only as far as they are found in the bible. Another aspect of Sola Scriptura is that each believer, guided by the Holy Spirit, will be led to the proper interpretation and understanding of what he reads in the Bible.


There are several problems with this teaching:


To Teach as Jesus Taught – A Reflection on the Qualities of Jesus as Preacher and Teacher

As a priest I am called to preach and teach, and as such I must look to Jesus Christ as my model. In this I refer to the real Jesus of Scripture. Too many people today have refashioned Jesus into a sort of “harmless hippie,” an affable affirmer, a pleasant sort of fellow who healed the sick, blessed the poor, and talked about love but in a very fuzzy and “anything goes” manner. But absent from this image is the prophetic Jesus, who accepted no compromise and called out the hypocrisy in many of His day.


Lessons From A Monastery: Love is a Call to Action

What does it mean to partake of the life of the Holy Trinity? What does it mean to have communion with God? Think of a married couple. In this marriage, the couple fulfills all their duties. They are good to each other, respectful. They build a home where all obligations on both sides are met. There is even love for one another. Years go by and nothing changes. The couple never grows in love nor do they ever try to know anything more about one another than what was necessary to begin the marriage. They never move beyond pleasantries in their marriage.


Answering Those Who Say There Is Only One Mediator

There is a common Protestant claim that there is one (sole) mediator between God and Man—Jesus. Therefore, they say, asking the saints to pray for us is useless, wrong, and maybe even sinful. Those who object, usually cite some of the following texts:


Heart Speaks to Heart

SHE DIED ANYWAY. Decay in the marrow. Radiation robbed her radiance. Fragile peals of thunder protected summer showers that watered her flowers. If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will. Life submits to death.


My parents, Moose and Sylvia, made an odd couple, like an elephant and a tickbird. He was Oscar. She was Felix. He was Wall Street Journal, she was Better Homes and Gardens. He got expelled from college. She dropped out of high school. Syl deferred to Moose on money, retirement, banking. As head of the household he never made a decision without consulting her. A wise decision from which our entire family benefited.


Trying to be Humble

I’ve always found humility a tricky virtue.  Am I humble?  As soon as I think I am, it’s out the window, right?  “oh, and I’m really good at being humble, too…”  I’ve always struggled praying for it, because just like patience, the only way you’re going to get better is by practicing it!  So be careful when praying that litany of humility…


I used to think being humble meant not accepting compliments, although that innately rings hollow.  While at times we might not deserve what people say about us, at other times we do, and brushing off sincere compliments can often be a sign of pride rather than humility!


Doubts, Difficulties and Disobedience

My article for Aleteia this weekdiscusses the difference between genuine doubt and difficulties in the faith.

The English Cardinal and theologian, Blessed John Henry Newman wrote, “Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.” What he means is that there is a difference between a doubt and a difficulty.


Lord, Keep Your Arm Around My Shoulder and Your Hand Over My Mouth! A Reflection on Common Sins of Speech

One of the greatest gifts given to the human person is the capacity to speak. It is also one of our greatest weaknesses. The Book of James says,


We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what he says is perfect, able to keep his whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, and thus we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.


Simplify Your Life

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all of the stress, responsibilities and challenges in your daily life? If I am honest with myself, the times I feel most anxious or stressed are usually caused by my lifelong tendency to overcomplicate things and an inclination towards “busyness”. I am grateful for the occasional insights I have into ways to address this problem and as I grow older, I recognize the wisdom of something my father often shared with me in my younger days: simplify your life.


How You Can Live in the Present Moment

Too often we fall into the trap of dwelling on the past or being anxious about the future. A consequence of this frame of mind is that we become frozen in time. We are unable to move forward because either our history haunts us or we are unwilling to make a leap of faith into the future.


This also means that we miss opportunities in the present moment. God could be calling us to do great things today, but we are too focused on a past hurt or future concern that we simply ignore what is happening right in front of us!


The key is to live in the present moment. But how does one do that?


Six Practical Steps to Catholic Joy

I recently had coffee with a fellow Catholic who gloomily shared his ongoing struggles with overtly living out his faith in the real world and reluctance to discuss his faith with others. He made it clear that going to Mass on Sunday was all he could or should be doing. Unfortunately, this is a very common tale. The conversation became really interesting and a little uncomfortable when we discussed why people become apathetic about their faith, hesitate about converting or leave the Church altogether.


It became obvious to me after a few minutes that how my coffee companion presented his faith to the world and how others view the Catholic Church may be connected.


 3 Easy Steps to Show that Absolute Truth Exists

Gorgias the Nihilist, an ancient Greek philosopher, was said to have argued the following four points:

1.Nothing exists;
2.Even if something exists, nothing can be known about it; and
3.Even if something can be known about it, knowledge about it can’t be communicated to others.
4.Even if it can be communicated, it cannot be understood.


Of course, if you can understand his argument, he’s wrong. So too, many modern thinkers hold to positions that, fall apart into self-refutation when critically examined.


Today, I want to look at three such popular claims. In showing their inherent contradictions, I hope to show why we can (and must) affirm that knowable, non-empirically testable, absolute truths exist.


To Win the War Against Abortion, We Must Fight a Battle Against Apathy 

This past Saturday I was asked to coordinate a local rally to protest Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby body parts. I was surprised by the positive turnout, as our city is relatively small and our weekly prayer vigils in front of Planned Parenthood are also small in number. However, even though around 180 came out to protest, the response from those who drove by was minimal. In fact, it almost seemed like we were invisible.


Ever since the release of the videos detailing the inhuman activity of Planned Parenthood, I have been amazed by the lack of concern by the average person. Many have heard about the videos but few genuinely care either way. They do not oppose the videos, nor do they support them. This was revealed to me explicitly on Saturday, as most who drove by did not have any reaction. Most simply kept looking forward and ignored us. No one stopped to show their support and hardly anyone stopped to show their opposition. They simply did not care enough to take a stance.


Biblical Teaching on the Use of Colorful and Harsh Language

In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord warns of using uncivil and/or hateful words such as “Raqa” and “fool.” And yet the same Lord Jesus often used very strong language toward some of His opponents, sometimes calling them names such as vipers and hypocrites.


We live in a world that often insists on the use of gentle language and euphemisms. While doing so is not a bad thing, we also tend to manifest a kind of thin-skinned quality and a political correctness that is too fussy about many things, often taking personally what is not meant personally.


What is the overall teaching of Scripture when it comes to this sort of colorful language? Are there some limits and ground rules? Let’s take a look.


 What Is the Devil’s Favorite Sin? Pride, Says an Exorcist

MADRID — Is an exorcist afraid? What is the devil’s favorite sin? These and other questions were tackled in a recent interview with Dominican Father Juan José Gallego, an exorcist from the Archdiocese of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain.


 It has been nine years since Father Gallego was appointed as exorcist. In an interview conducted by the Spanish daily El Mundo, the priest said that, in his experience, pride is the sin the devil likes the most.


“Have you ever been afraid?” the interviewer asked.


Ask Fr. Mike: Why Does God Allow People to Commit Evil Acts?

Dear Fr. Mike: If God knows everything, then he would have known what Hitler would do. In that case, why didn't God just not make him?


 Fr. Mike: Often when we talk about “Hitler,” we are really talking about the question of evil and suffering in the world. Even more to the point, we are talking about the reality of evil and suffering in my life. What sounds like an abstract problem is more truly a cry from a heart that sees and experiences anguish. What does it mean that God knows everything? Classical theology has reminded us of important points. First, God made time. Sometimes, when we try to imagine God creating the universe, we leave out this crucial element. “Before” God made time, there was no time. This means that God is outside of time. In a similar way God is “outside” of the universe. He is always present to all of His creation without being limited to one “where.” In a similar way, God is present to all time without being limited to one “when.”


Why I became Catholic”

I guess the two big questions to ask a convert are: why did you do it and are you happy? Answering the first point is hard. It’s like asking a man why he married a woman. There’s a temptation to invent a narrative – to say, “this happened, that happened and before we knew it we were where we are today”. But the simpler, yet more complex, answer is this: I fell in love.


I was lucky to grow up in a household open to religious belief. My grandparents were Christian spiritualists; Grandma advertised as a clairvoyant. Mum and Dad became Baptists in the 1990s. I remember the pastor one Sunday telling us that evolution was gobbledygook. The teenager in me came to regard the faithful as fools, but I was wrong. I couldn’t see that they were literate, inquisitive, musically gifted and the kindest people you’d ever meet. But I went my own way and embraced Marxism.


This Little-Known African Basilica Is the Largest Church in the World

Yamoussoukro is the administrative capital of Côte d’Ivoire, a west African country with a population of just around 24 million people. Around a third of the population of the country practices traditional African religions, a third is Muslim, and the remaining third is Christian, mostly Catholic.


That means the whole country only has a few million Catholics, at most. Nonetheless, in the late 1980s, at a cost of a whopping $300 million, the massive Basilica of Our Lady of Peace was built.


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

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