Very Rev. Father Michael Phillippino
Director of Religious Education
Parish Administrative Secretary
Ms. Megan Furtado
Ms. Patty Holmes
Mr. Bob Maxa
Mrs. Joanne Swift
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"
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: Second Sunday of Advent
Posted for December 4, 2016
Second Sunday of Advent
In the middle two Sundays of Advent we hear a lot about John the Baptist. He is a very important figure in the Bible and in the history of our salvation since he uniquely bridges both the Old and New Testaments. It is not difficult to regard John as the very last of the Old Testament Prophets and the picture painted of him in the extract from the Gospel we are presented with today certainly makes him look and sound like one of those prophets of old. He is very much a man in the model of Ezekiel or Daniel or one of the other rather striking figures we encounter in the Old Testament. John is presented to us as an out of the ordinary kind of person, someone who lives at the very extremes of society but who like the other prophets comes with a very strong and forthright message of repentance urging the people to return to the proper observance of the laws of God. All the trappings, such as his garment of camel hair and his diet of locusts and wild honey, mark John out as a most extraordinary person. And, although he comes across as rather severe in his message, we find that the people respect him for his integrity and they flock to receive Baptism at his hands.
The ordinary people recognise that John's message is an authentic one and that it comes from God. Although John is presented to us much in the same way as the other Old Testament Prophets we need to realise that he is above all the forerunner of all the New Testament witnesses to Christ. In a real sense he is, apart from Mary, one of the very first followers of Jesus. We are not sure precisely how much of the actual content of Jesus message John accepts or is even aware of. But this is not so important because his role is to clearly point to Jesus as the Messiah, the one who was foretold. In his pointing out of Jesus and in his instruction of the people to follow him John places himself at the very forefront of the disciples of Jesus. John's remarks in the text before us addressed to the Jewish leaders are quite scathing. He calls the Pharisees and Sadducees a ‘brood of vipers' because they come to him for Baptism without truly repenting of their sins. He has no truck with these hypocrites and his language towards them is excoriating.
He warns them that the Day of Judgement is coming and that they will be answerable for their sins. John seems to equate this Day of Judgement with the actual coming of the Messiah who he says will winnow the wheat from the chaff. John is also suffered a martyr's death. In this he is like the Old Testament Prophets, six of whom were martyred including some of the most important; among them being Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah. This theme of martyrdom is, of course, also a hallmark of the New Testament followers of Jesus, for example all of the Apostles died a martyr's death except John. When we hear of John's martyrdom at the hands of King Herod we are not surprised. Now that his role of being a forerunner of the Messiah is complete John is able to leave the stage wearing the crown of martyrdom. In a way it is fitting that John dies a martyr's death since in this he is able to share the same fate as his master Jesus.
It is worth looking at the first reading today since it is a beautiful and rather poetic prediction of the coming of the Messiah taken from the Book of Isaiah. It opens with the line: ‘A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse.' You will all know that Jesse is the father of King David and you will be equally aware that the Messiah is foretold to come from David's house and line. During this season in homes with children you will sometimes find Jesse Trees. These usually show pictures of the various ancestors of Jesus beginning with Jesse and sometimes showing also the various symbols associated with Jesus or other figures from the Old Testament. Jesse trees can be pasted on to cardboard or made into mobiles or be in the form of pictures hung from a tree branch. They are good reminders of the origins of Jesus and help us to keep in touch with the themes of Advent. They are an excellent activity for children with inquiring minds since they can lead to good conversations about precisely who Jesus is and what he came to achieve. The prophecy of Isaiah tells us about where the Messiah will spring from and he gives us also a picture of just the kind of Messiah that he will be.
This picture is quite different from the one ordinarily held by the Jews of the time who thought that the Messiah would be a conquering hero who would ensure their victory over all the other races. Actually what Isaiah presents to us is a Messiah who will usher in a time of peace and harmony. He predicts that in the age to come all those who are presently enemies will live in friendship and peace will flourish. The ‘wolf living with the lamb' and the ‘calf and the lion cub feeding together' are very apt representations of the various nations of the world living together amicably. So according to the Prophet Isaiah the Messiah is not a warlike figure but rather one who comes to restore justice and to establish peace and tranquillity in the world.
So in order for us to become part of this new world we would need to seek the forgiveness of our own sins. You can see the link here with John's Baptism of repentance, because sorrow for sin is the necessary pre-requisite for peace. Sin has caused division in the human family and it needs to be rooted out. It is only when we have openly acknowledged our sins and expressed true remorse for them that we can live peaceably with others. In Churches throughout the world people will be coming in large numbers during the season of Advent to confess their sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. They do this in order to be able to celebrate Christmas in a truly spiritual way with their consciences cleansed of sin. But also they confess their sins because they so much want to be part of the Kingdom of God, their deepest desire is to belong to this wonderful new realm ushered in by the Messiah. Pope Francis recently concluded the Year of Mercy; but, in a way, such a year can never truly end because God shows his mercy continually, in all times and seasons. God is always ready to forgive; but on our part we too need to be ever more aware of our need for mercy and reconciliation. Particularly at this time of year forgiveness is something that we should seek out in a sacramental way.
St. John Paul II Regional School
Congratulations to Jessa who placed 1st All Around for her age group and her team placed FIRST for the competition at the Rhode Island Gymnastics Invitational! Well done!
Pre-K through Grade 8
860-347-2978 or 860-347-1195
Visit our website at www.jpii.org
| 1st Quarter Honor Roll for |
Xavier High School Congratulations!
High Honors – Jordan A. Leonardi Honors- James R. Barry & Aaron T. Samson
The Giving Tree ~ As in years past, on the first Sunday of Advent, our Giving Tree will be placed in the entrance of the church. We ask that you take a tag, buy an appropriate gift, wrap it, and return to the tree on or before Dec.11th
This year you will notice that there are tags on the tree with purple ribbons. Purple is the color of hope. The tags with purple ribbons are for single adults that are alone and struggling. Many of us receive gifts on Christmas from the people in our lives who love and support us. The gift is a symbol of the love which makes our holiday joyous. The people we are asking gifts for are alone and maybe missing that love we are blessed with. We know it is fun and easier to buy for a child. But we are asking you to consider taking a purple tag knowing you may be the only light for this person on Christmas Day. We naturally think Christmas gifts are for children yet we also know Christmas is about love and hope for all peoples. God bless and thank you for all you do to brighten and to give hope to others.
Scripture Readings Do you wish to better understand the Sunday Mass Readings? We all need to prepare in order to fully partake in the Liturgy of the Word. On Thursday evenings at 6:30pm in the rectory we will gather with the RCIA team to break open the Scriptures. Come join us. Our 1st meeting will be on October 20th. If you have any questions please call Sister Ann 860-344-8569.
St. John Church Religious Education News: Dec. 5th class for grades 1, 3, 4, 5 (NO 2nd GRADE) 4:00pm5:15pm & grades 6-8 6:30pm-8:00pm.
Natural Family Planning: Natural Family Planning is scientific, safe, and is 99 percent effective for conceiving or responsibly postponing a baby. A class for married and engaged couples begins on Monday, December 19th at 6:30 P.M. at St. John’s in Old Saybrook. For more information, call Steve and Lisa Collison at 860-399-8265 or to register for a class go to www.ccli.org.
FOOD DRIVE- We have started our Thanksgiving Basket Food Drive. At this time we are collecting any non-perishable items. Thank you for your continued generosity!!
~ Middletown, Connecticut ~
Pope To You
St. John Church 'Nativity
Window' Ornament click here
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gifts with images from our antique stained
Click here to visit our Holy Spirit themed
giftshop featuring gifts Celebrating the
Preparing for the Mass December 4, 2016
The month of December is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, which is celebrated on December 8. The first 24 days of December fall during the liturgical season known as 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.
Second Sunday of Advent
Sunday Bible Reflections from Scott Hahn and the liturgy can be found here and a children's liturgy can be found here.
Sunday of Advent: Not by Appearances
I love dressing up for Sunday Mass, and I love seeing so many in our parish who dress up for Church. People are very interesting. Everyone has his or her own look.
Consider me. I have my own look. And it takes a lot of time for me to get this look. The washing, the primping, the Just for Men, the combing; it takes a lot of time. Then there’s the picking out the right outfit for the day. “Let’s see what should I go with today, black, or black, or my favorite, black?” A teenager once asked me why priests wear black. I told him, “school colors.” Anyway, having primped and chosen my wardrobe, my day starts with me making the proper appearance as a priest
Sunday of Advent, Year A—December 4, 2016
John the Baptist prepared the Jews for the first Advent of Jesus by baptizing them at the Jordan River. Today, we find him yelling out, “You brood of vipers!” to some who came to see him. How indelicate!
Gospel (Read Mt 3:1-12)
Our Advent Gospel reminds us that repentance and the fruit that comes from a changed life are vital to our preparation for the Lord’s coming. John the Baptist fulfilled Isaiah’s ancient prophecy that “the voice of one crying out in the desert” would “prepare the way of the Lord” (Isa 40:3). The preparation consisted of one word: “Repent!” People flocked to hear John—from “Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan.” When they heard his fierce preaching, they “acknowledged their sins” and were baptized. St. Matthew tells us that “many of the Pharisees and Sadducees” came to his baptism. These were the religious elites among the clergy and Temple officials (the Sadducees), as well as the laity (the Pharisees), in Jerusalem. We might expect John to give them a warm welcome....more
Advent, A New Beginning
Before becoming Catholic I had never before heard of Advent. After reading about it I was blown away yet again by the beauty of Catholicism. But even after reading about Advent it still took me some time to understand and fully appreciate the complete beauty the of Advent Season.
For four weeks, we prepare for Him. We prepare for His birth, and His coming again.
Advent has been described as a “mini-Lent,” a time of repentance as well as a time of preparation. During Advent, Catholic and other Christian homes adorn their tables with the warm glow from the candles of the Advent Wreath....more
The first day of Advent heralds the beginning of the Catholic Church’s new year. Advent (from ‘ad-venire’ in Latin or “to come to”) is the Church season encompassing the four Sundays and weekdays leading up to the celebration of Christmas.
Advent is a time of spiritual preparation for the Lord’s coming at Christmas. Advent also prepares us for the second coming of Christ at the end of time.
Our Advent Calendar will go live on the First Sunday of Advent on 27 November 2016.
The virtual doors above cannot be opened ahead of their actual date. All content will go live in the early hours of each morning...more
the Gift of the Divine Reply
The Advent liturgy offers us a time of spiritual reflection, an opportunity to seriously reflect on Sacred Scripture. As we set aside the heightened activity of the retail measure of the holiday season, we find moments of solitude. We await the divine reply. Advent, then, is a spiritual retreat for the soul; a respite from a retail calendar that encourages consumerism. We need not become a spiritual “Scrooge”, however, in purifying our hearts or living the faith—for a “Bah! Humbug!” spirituality does not celebrate the joy of the birth of the Lord, any more than excessive gift purchases.
Contrarily, joyful Christmas hospitality is the fruit of gratitude that rejoices in the free gift of salvation, the divine reply....more
Preparation for Christmas
As each year draws to a close, and Christmas fast approaches, we tend to focus on what is obvious – putting up our decorations, trimming our tree, shopping for friends and family and eating every type of desert known to man.
And before you know it, time has escaped us.
Suddenly it’s Christmas Eve night and all the wonders that come with it – reflecting on Bethlehem, the birth of Jesus, the angels singing, the shepherds in the field, the wise men beginning their decent from the east, all culminating in “Silent Night, Holy Night.”
But wait! Are we even prepared for Christmas? Prepared for all of the beauty and wonder of Christmas?...more
Necessity of Prayer
|To say that something is “necessary” is to declare that it is so essential that to be without it causes grave if not deadly harm. The word comes from Latin: ne- (not) + cedere (to withdraw, go away, yield). The root sense is that what is necessary is something from which we cannot stray, something from which there is no withdrawal, something we cannot evade. There is an expression in Latin, sine qua non, which literally means “without which not.” Its fuller meaning expresses something so essential that without it, other required things cannot proceed.|
At the House of Mary Near Ephesus
I was a solo traveler in the pilgrimage I joined to the Holy Land and Turkey. Most of the others in the pilgrimage were traveling with their spouses, their friends, or their relatives. Those who were not seemed to have known each other previously. Although everyone else was very nice, fun even, at times I acutely felt the lack of a traveling companion.
Actually, the pilgrimage chaplain was a relative of mine both distant and close at the same time – distant, because he is the third cousin of my mother; close, because he has been my spiritual director for quite some time now. I anticipated, though, that during the pilgrimage he would be too busy attending to the pastoral needs of the group that any chances for uncle-and-niece bonding moments would be out of the question. I realized too that it would not have been right for me to hog his company and deprive the other pilgrimage participants of the attention of the pilgrimage chaplain....more
discovery at Christ’s tomb supports Turin Shroud
On October 26, 27 and 28, 2016 a group of scientists and religious authorities oversaw the removal of the marble slab that covers the tomb of Christ. Marie-Armelle Beaulieu, editor-in-chief of Terre Sainte Magazine, reports that some of the measuring instruments used by scientists were altered by electromagnetic disturbances when they were placed directly on the stone in which Christ’s body rested. The scientists reports that their measuring devices either malfunctioned or ceased to work at all. Aleteiareports
The phenomenon was confirmed by one of the scientists authorized to access the tomb....more
to Obtain an Indulgence During 100th Anniversary of Fatima
FATIMA, Portugal — For the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in Portugal, Pope Francis has decided to grant a plenary indulgence opportunity throughout the entire anniversary year, which began Nov. 27, 2016, and will end Nov. 26, 2017.
The rector of the Fatima Shrine in Portugal, André Pereira, explained to CNA that the plenary indulgence can be obtained during the entire jubilee year. There are three ways of obtaining the indulgence, detailed in a statement on the shrine’s website.
To obtain the plenary indulgence, the faithful must also fulfill the ordinary conditions: Go to confession and Communion, be interiorly detached from sin, and pray for the intentions of the Holy Father....more
“Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42).
This verse is part of a larger passage (Matthew 24:1 — 25:30) where Jesus speaks about the time before his second coming—that is the time in which we all live. Of course this is immediately followed with the separation of the sheep and goats—the final judgment of the nations when Jesus returns.
Many different examples and parables are used by Jesus to drive the point home for us that the time we have is not unlimited, that it will run out when we least expect it to, and that to be found unprepared for that end is tragic. One comparison that particularly fits our age is the reference to Noah and The Flood.
Wisdom: Lifetime Lessons from the Bible
“Being a ‘Good Catholic’ I had never read the entire Bible, but I wanted to read the Bible—so I wrote this book so I could read the Bible,” says Dr. Christopher M. Bellitto, Professor of History at Kean University.
“And I also wanted to write a book that distinguishes between ‘information’—we are swamped with ‘information’—from ‘knowledge’—and both from ‘wisdom’. Because I noticed that as I passed 45, then 50 years of age—that as I got older I wasn’t necessarily getting any wiser.” (Join the club, Dr. Bellitto!)
Putting all of the above together, Professor Bellitto decided to read the Bible cover-to-cover “expecting it to say, of course, ‘As You Get Older, You Will Get Wiser’ — but that’s not what the Bible says at all. In fact, often times just the opposite rings true and ‘the wise’ are ‘the young’.”
At the Very
Moment of Your Death, Christ Will Judge Your Soul
Our Lord has told us exactly how we will be judged when we stand before God.
Our Holy Father spoke about the end times during his Angelus on the first Sunday of Advent. We all — believer and unbeliever — know that there will be an end. The end of all things rims our lives like a horizon all our days.
The truth is, we don't need to worry overmuch about the ultimate “end times.” We are all rushing headlong to our own, personal “end time” every single day we live.
When we die, we will be at our own end of days, our end time. The things we have done will be writ and cannot be erased. This simple fact gives perspective to our here and now.
What is the
Unforgivable Sin That Our Lord Warned Us About?
There are some pretty atrocious sins out there, but, without exception, they're all forgivable. Christians ultimately believe that no sin is beyond God's forgiveness and, by recognizing our utter dependence upon Him, we are invited to always present our sins before the Lord of All and to become reconciled with Him. If not, then we must admit to the heresy of Pelagianism―the idea that we can "earn" our way into Heaven with good works.
(By the way, of all the religions and pseudo-religions in the world, there are exactly only two religions in the world that teach that one can't earn one's way into Heaven: Judaism and Christianity. Everyone else believes they're on the brownie point system and that a deficit in one area can be made up with some applied vigor in another area.)
Christmas is NOT Pagan
|Having once been an Evangelical, I was heavily exposed to the "Christmas is Pagan" or "Christmas has Pagan origins" movement in the Western world. The movement is heavily concentrated in the United States, with large pockets in Canada, Australia, and other parts of the Anglosphere. It's primarily a Protestant problem, which was popularised during the Protestant religious movements of the 17th through 19th centuries. Today it is most aggressively pushed by Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Church of God and other Fundamentalist sects. Sadly, attacks against this holiday are used to introduce suspicion of mainstream Christian denominations, and the Catholic Church in particular.|
The Fundamentalist attack on Christmas is centred around the date of December 25, and actually has a rather ancient origin. The 12th-century Syrian Orthodox Bishop, Jacob Bar-Salibi, proposed the following:
|Why believe in God? |
why not? Something made the universe or do you think if it was an
accident? If it was, then we are all just matter and our choices don’t
mean anything. But we have feelings of love and compassion and even
hate, which give us to have a purpose. But where did these feelings come
from? A mere chemical reaction in our brain? Emotions run much deeper
the Church tell us we have dignity, that we are made in the image of God
and given the opportunity to rule all other living creatures that roam
the earth.Some rebel and say
they don’t believe in anything. Okay, no problem but would you rather
believe a fantasy reality that convinces us to try and become better
humans all on our own power and just at the end we all become mere dust?
If that seems ridiculous, you might then decide not to believe or care
about anything but if you are wrong, what happens? Damnation for
eternity in Hell. You can be hot or cold but not lukewarm. (Revelation
Nativity Sets. Ever.
Stop it. My eyes are bleeding.
It can be argued that we've messed up Christmas pretty bad. As evidence I present this list of the Worst nativity scenes. Ever.
First, I give you the hipster nativity. You've got the wise men on Segways (wearing sunglasses to boot), Joseph snapping a selfie, and Mary rocking a Starbucks cup. I just realized that two of the wise men are wearing skinny jeans. And the other one's in jorts. I'm surprised Joseph isn't rocking a man bun. Because let's remember, Christmas is first and foremost be about celebrating ourselves.