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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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                                                                    Holy Thursday



                                 Lent: April 17 
The last three days of Holy Week are referred to as the Easter or Sacred Triduum (Triduum Sacrum), the three-part drama of Christ's redemption: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

Holy Thursday is also known as "Maundy Thursday." The word maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum (commandment) which is the first word of the Gospel acclamation:


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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:  "Good Friday"



Father James Gilhooley
April 18, 2014
Good Friday - John 18:1-19,42


 A Russian peasant woman in 1950 was kissing the feet of Christ. A Communist soldier asked her, "Grandmother, will you kiss the feet of our great leader, Comrade Stalin?" "Yes," she replied, "if he gets crucified for me."

 Years ago, when I was newly ordained, a mother berated me after a Good Friday homily on the crucifixion. The mother had two children. "I don't want my son and daughter" she shouted, "exposed to blood and gore as I was at their age." She was terribly angry. My response would not have made my seminary scripture professor proud had he been listening. In effect, this mother wanted to keep Jesus and the cross apart.

 Would that the mother had confronted William Robinson of Plainview, USA on this same point! I ran across his Letter to the Editor in a Catholic newspaper. Mr Robinson was responding to a pronunciamento from a onetime Catholic. It was her position that the Church for its own good must get Jesus off the cross.

 Robinson countered that St Paul did precisely that when he visited Athens. The scene is generously described in Acts 17:16-34. There the man from Tarsus ignored the cross of the Savior. His sole emphasis was on the Resurrection.

 And the result? Paul struck out that day against the Athenian intellectuals. "Some of them burst out laughing." (17:32) This was hardly the reaction the embarrassed apostle to the Gentiles was used to. He folded his tent and sneaked from the city under the cover of darkness. He crossed Athens off his "must return" list. Records reveal he did not change his mind. He never began a church there. Nor, unhappily for them and for us, did he ever send one of his celebrated letters to Athens.

 After Athens, he headed for Corinth. It was an arduous trip by foot. Paul had much time to both dress his wounds and wonder why he had lost his magic touch. It is not difficult to picture the humiliated missionary praying to Christ. He would ask Him to help him understand what went wrong with his strategy on the Hill of the Areopagus. Nor did the Nazarene fail him.

 The Holy Spirit inspired the missionary to burn his Athens homilies. His approach in Corinth would be entirely fresh. Before he reached the city, he put his talented pen to parchment. His plan B would be later explained in his letters to the church he founded in Corinth. "Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified...the power of God and wisdom of God...I am resolved among you to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified."

 Paul's preaching in Corinth was successful. The city was every bit as immoral as Athens. Yet, he was a sensation. His many converts would not let him quit their city for eighteen months. When the wanderlust Paul got away from them, he would carry warm memories of the Corinthians. Evidence of this affection is found in the two letters to them that are extant. When the apostle to the Gentiles turned his back on the crucified Christ, his preaching produced nothing. When he carried the crucifix with him into the pulpit, he moved thousands to embrace Jesus.

 Mel Gibson on Ash Wednesday of 2004 proved once again people's fascination with the cross through his film, "The Passion of the Christ." People, who had forgotten where cinemas were located in their communities, clutched reserved seat tickets looking for the theaters. To satisfy the overflow crowds, delighted cinemas began running the film early morning. One hundred twenty-five million dollars in tickets were sold in five days. All this for a film spoken in Latin and Aramaic dialogue.

 Children understand the power of the cross. A child told me, "I asked God how much He loved me. He stretched both arms fully sideways and said, `This much.' Then He died." Another told me, "Jesus built a bridge with two boards and three nails."

 It would be folly to remove Jesus from the cross. The body of Christ without bloody wounds is not the full story. But neither must we leave Him there by Himself. We must get hold of a ladder and embrace Him. Why? Paul gives the answer to young Timothy in his second letter (2:11): "If we have died with Him, then we shall live with Him."

 What would Paul have accomplished among the intellectuals had he returned to Athens but this time emphasizing the cross? Unhappily we shall never know.

 Nobel Prize laureate Czeslaw Milosz writes that political prisoners in their USSR gulags fashioned a cross from twigs and prayed to it at night in their cells. They had not forgotten Paul's lesson. Nor should we.  




Holy Week Schedule 2014



Good Friday: Friday, April 18

Liturgy of the Hours: 8:00 AM

Commemoration of the Passion of Our Lord: 3:00 PM

Stations of the Cross: 7:00 PM

Holy Saturday: Saturday, April 19

Liturgy of the Hours: 8:00 AM

Vigil of Easter Sunday: 8:00 PM

Easter Sunday: Sunday, April 20

Masses at 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM




Middletown Deanery Lenten Schedule

Confessions:Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7:00
to 7:45 AM, Wednesday from 5:30 – 6:00 PM (with the exception
of April 2nd), and Saturday from 3:00 – 3:45 PM.

Stations of the Cross: Every Friday in Lent at 7:00 PM.
Confessions are available after Stations.

CONFESSION SCHEDULE:Fr. Mike will be available to hear confessions at the following times:
                            Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 7:00 – 7:45 AM
                            Wednesday: 5:30 – 6:00 PM
                            Friday: After Stations of the Cross
                            Saturday: 3:00 – 3:45 PM
                            Sunday: 6:00 – 7:00 PM 


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. 


Norwich Diocesan Chrism Mass: Tuesday, April 15 On Tuesday of Holy Week, representatives of parishes from across the Norwich Diocese will attend the annual Chrism Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Norwich. All parishioners are invited to attend this very special Mass, starting at 10:30 AM. After the Mass, the representatives from St. John Church will attend a luncheon at Farrell’s Restaurant in Portland. If you would like to attend the Chrism Mass and luncheon, please call the Parish Office to
RSVP no later than Friday, April 11th.

19th Annual Secretaries Day Mass: The 19th Annual Secretaries Day Mass will be held on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 12:00 PM in the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich. Following Mass a complimentary luncheon will be served. For reservations or more information please call 860-887-9294 ext. 234.
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.

Healing Service: Sturbridge, March 2, April 6, April 27th. Fr. Ralph DiOrio, Director of the Apostolate of Divine Mercy and Healing, will conduct the services at the Sturbridge Host Hotel, at 12:00 PM. Father Ralph is well known and respected for his worldwide ministry to the sick. His apostolate of prayer, evangelization and healing of the sick will take place during the Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. All are welcome who are in need of healing service. Bus transportation is available in New Haven, Cromwell, and West Hartford areas. Travel cost is $39. For more information call MaryAnn at 203-407-1448.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: SCHOOL/PARISH CENTER: We are calling for Volunteers to help with the clean-up and arrangement of the former St. John School/St. John Parish Center. Volunteers will meet the first and third Saturdays of every month, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon. If you are interested in helping, please contact the Parish Office at 860-347-5626 or Simonne Mularski at 860-347-5853.


Religious Education Information

April 14th and 21st: There is NO Religious Education. Classes will resume on Monday, April 28th for Grades 1-5 from 4-5:15 PM. There will be no class for Grades 6-8 due to the Confirmation ceremony.





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St. John

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Holy Spirit Ornament

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Good Friday Reflections: From the Cross... 




Gabriel Wuger


Oil on Canvas


Preparing for the Mass April 18, 2014

The month of April is dedicated to The Holy Spirit. The first nineteen days of the month fall during the season of Lent which is represented by the liturgical color purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart. The rest of April falls in the Easter season in which white, the color of light, a symbol of joy, purity, and innocence, is the liturgical color.


Friday of The Lords Passion (Good Friday)    

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

Maundy Thursday

This day, Maundy Thursday (also "Holy Thursday" or "Shire Thursday"1) commemorates Christ's Last Supper and the initiation of the Eucharist. Its name of "Maundy" comes from the Latin word mandatum, meaning "command." This stems from Christ's words in John 13:34, "A new commandment I give unto you." It is the first of the three days known as the "Triduum," and after the Vigil tonight, and until the Vigil of Easter, a more profoundly somber attitude prevails (most especially during the hours between Noon and 3:00 PM on Good Friday). Raucous amusements should be set aside...

Good Friday

There are many scenes in the Passion account from the Gospel of Matthew which we have just proclaimed.  This year, a particular scene keeps recurring to me.  The scene is not on Golgotha, but in Jerusalem, in the Temple.  The time in at 3 in the afternoon at the moment that Jesus dies.  The readings said that there was an earthquake, and the curtain of the Temple was torn in two.

Holy Saturday

Christ is in His tomb. Rather, His Body is in the tomb, but when His Soul left His Body, He descended into Hell to "free the captives." "Hell" here refers to the place of the dead in general ("Sheol" in the Hebrew, or "Hades" in the Greek), not to the place of torment with which the word "Hell" is most usually associated with today. The world "Hell" in the loosest, earliest sense includes:Painting of the harrowing of Hell, by Hans Mielich


•  the Limbo of the Fathers, the place for those who were righteous
    by charity and faith in the coming Messias and who died before
    His Coming
• the Limbo of Infants, where, possibly, those who are sent who die
   without personal guilt but without Baptism after the time of
   Christ, or who died without charity and faith in the coming 
   Messias before the time of Christ. This would be a place of 
   beautiful, natural happiness, no punishment, and no sensible
• Purgatory, where righteous people go to be cleansed of the
   temporal effects of their sins
• Gehenna, the "Hell of the Lost," the eternal place of punishment
   for the damned, the place we usually refer to as simply "Hell"

Give God Your Whole Day

Another way to live in the presence of God is to offer ourselves and all our actions to God the Father in union with Jesus crucified. This way of prayer is often called the morning offering. It is more than a prayer; it is really a way of life keeping us in constant touch with God in all our daily thoughts, desires, and actions. Through the morn­ing offering, we walk no longer alone, but in the presence of Christ crucified, whose perfect surrender of His life to His Father we strive to imitate in all our actions.

 The Spiritual Liberty of Holy Obedience

Saint Hildegard von Bingen contemplated the origin of evil in terms of disobedience.  Satan believed he could begin what he wished because he presumed he could finish what he had begun.  He invented his own schemes and programs against the plan of God because he did not believe he needed the Lord for his existence.   Because he was not open to God's will, Satan is entrapped in a lower existence, imprisoned in currents of unredeemable chaos below this world.  Hildegard sees how the Ancient Adversary is at work to lure and coerce into this same pit all those whose lives he invades and touches.


God, the Life of the Soul

God did not make death. On the contrary, he created the rational soul to dwell in indissoluble union with the human body. When the psalmist sang, “A body hast thou prepared for me”, it was as if he had said to the Creator:

Humility Triumphs

When a conquering hero of the ancient world rode into town in triumph, it was in a regal chariot or on the back of a stately stallion.  Legions of soldiers accompanied him in the victory procession.  Triumphal arches, festooned with relief sculptures, were often erected to immortalize his valiant victory.

After driving out demons, healing the sick, and raising the dead, it was time for the King of Kings to enter the Holy City.


Pope Begins New Catechesis on Gifts of the Holy Spirit

VATICAN CITY — During his general audience this week, Pope Francis began a new catechesis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, drawing specific attention to wisdom and noting that it illuminates our actions and draws us closer to God.

“We need to ask ourselves if our lives have the flavor of the Gospel; if others perceive that we are men and women of God; if it is the Holy Spirit that moves our lives,” the Pope insisted in his April 5 address.

Audience: Wisdom is seeing with God’s eyes

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis embarked on a new cycle of catechesis this Wednesday, dedicated to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This week the Holy Father spoke to the tens of thousands present in St Peter’s Square about the gift of wisdom. He warned them not to confuse wisdom with knowledge, for wisdom is not born of intelligence, instead it is being able to see with the eyes of God.

Then, Face to Face. Meditation on Our Desire to Look on the Face of God

I have a large Icon of Christ in my room (see photo at right). What icons from the Eastern tradition do best is to capture “the Look.” No matter where I move in the room, Christ is looking right at me. His look is intense, though not severe. In the Eastern spirituality, Icons are windows into heaven. Hence, this icon is no mere portrait that reminds one of Christ, it is an image which mediates his presence. When I look upon him, I experience that he knows me. It is a knowing look and a comprehensive look.


 Well Said: I believe in Purgatory

I assume that the process of purification will normally involve suffering. Partly from tradition; partly because most real good that has been done me in this life has involved it. But I don't think the suffering is the purpose of the purgation. I can well believe that people neither much worse nor much better than I will suffer less than I or more. . . . The treatment given will be the one required, whether it hurts little or much.

                        C. S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer


How to Pray When the Words Won’t Come 

At some point in life each of us finds ourselves at a loss for what to say to God. It is usually at a time of intense trial.  The pain of disease, agony of loss, or sting of betrayal leave us overwhelmed.  Our sadness and anger are so acute that we feel abandoned, as if God were a universe away.  How do we pray in those moments?  We look to the example of our Lord Jesus, who desires to draw us into his own prayer.

 The Mystical Witness of Silence

In my first Aleteia article, I discussed in a general way the role of contemplative monasticism in the life of the Church. In this and in several forthcoming articles, I wish to look more deeply at certain principles of the monastic life and describe how they can be fruitfully applied in ways in the lives of lay people living in the world.

"Silence: More than the absence of speech."

The Value of Suffering

The Passion of Jesus teaches us in a concrete way that in the Christian life we must be able to accept suffering for the love of God. This is a hard, repugnant lesson for our nature, which prefers pleasure and happiness; however, it comes from Jesus, the Teacher of truth and of life, the loving Teacher of our souls, who desires only our real good. If He commends suffering to us, it is because suffering contains a great treasure.

To Follow The Way Of The Cross

There’s a reason that folks get angry when they learn that the reality of the Christian life leads straight to the cross. Remember that time the disciples were arguing amongst themselves about who would be the greatest? And then the Sons of Thunder got their mommy to ask Jesus if they could sit on his right hand and on his left?


Are the Disciples Asleep? 

During the last week the battle cry of the proponents of same sex marriage has gone up with a whoop. A chief executive of a major company was forced out of office for a donation to a pro trad marriage campaign. The baying crowd hounded a Catholic nun who dared to uphold Catholic teaching in a Catholic high school. A vice principal fired from a Catholic high school for marrying his male partner has sued the school and the diocese stating clearly that they want to depose the bishop. Others, scenting blood in the affair of Brendan Eich have said they have the list of all prop 8 donors and are “going for them.” Today’s Washington Post–in a balanced article–explains how the Catholic Church is being caught up in the crossfire.

21 Reasons To Go To Confession & Why Catholics Confess Sins To Priests

There are several questions we need to sort through before we get to the reason we all need Confession.

•Is the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) necessary to have
  your sins forgiven or can you go straight to God? 

•Why do we need this Sacrament? 

•Where did it come from? 

•What does sin do? 


The Absurdity of Evil

One of the most remarkable characteristics of all forms of organic life is the power to adapt itself to the circumstances in which it is placed. It will endeavor under the most altered conditions to live, and, in order to live, it will resort to all kinds of contrivances, sometimes effecting such changes in its outward appearance that none but a trained eye could detect its identity. Yet with all these adaptations, it will preserve its identity.

A Question About the Dead 

A reader writes:

Can souls of our departed love ones return to earth to appear to us? I recently lost my 45 year old wife and have been praying for a sign that she’s in Heaven and okay. I’m thinking that Heaven is outside of space and time so would be difficult to “crossover” back to earth. What do you think? What does our church say about this?


Conquer Spiritual Blindness

Jesus the “Light of the world” gave sight to the blind! Spiritual blindness is an extremely prevalent reality. However, spiritually blind eyes can still have their sight restored.

This short article will bring to the light three major reasons for spiritual blindness and then three remedies to conquer this blindness! May Jesus the “light of the world” dispel the spiritual blindness in our souls.


Faith and a New Way of Thinking

Have faith.

But when you are at the lowest of your moods, how do you have faith?  Where does that ability to have faith come from?


A Life of Service and Cheerfulness

God calls us to a life of service for our own good. This was true under the order of original holiness and justice. It remains true despite our subjection to original sin. It continues to be true under the economy of the Redemption, in which we are called to share in God’s own life.

To put it simply, original holiness is the state of friendship with God that he intended for us to be in. Original justice is the state of friendship God intended for us to be in with ourselves, with others, and with material creation.


The Greatest Historical Miracle You’ve Never Heard Of

After Constantine the Great, there were emperors who were heretics and emperors who adhered to Christian orthodoxy.

Then there was Julian the Apostate.

From the time of Constantine to the French Revolution, he is the only Christian monarch ever to openly reject the faith, according to Catholic historian Warren Carroll. For reasons both personal and intellectual, Julian launched the last great attempt to revive ancient Roman paganism. Animal sacrifices resumed in the reopened pagan temples while the Church was stripped of the imperial funds and lands that had been granted under past emperors.


 Jesus’s Wife”: Still Fake

More than 18 months after the mainstream media splashed front pages with credulous headlines about a “new” “gospel” “proving” “Jesus” had a “wife” (and I’ve used up my allotment of scare quotes just writing that much), we finally have the results of testing on the age of the papyrus, and the results are … meaningless, just like this entire story.


Basilicas, Cathedrals, Shrines: The Difference?

Q: I had relatives visiting over Easter, and we went to see the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. They asked if this was a cathedral, and I said, “No.” But then we all wondered: what is the difference between a basilica, a cathedral and a shrine?

Basilica, cathedral and shrine are distinct terms, but not mutually exclusive. For instance, a basilica may be a shrine, and a cathedral may be a basilica. A good description of each one will be helpful.


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

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