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: Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Father Alex McAllister SDSThe Gospel today is all about our attitude towards money and material possessions. It begins with a warning that we cannot serve God and money. The word money used to be translated as Mammon.
Mammon is an unusual but extremely old word and originally has an Aramaic origin which is reputedly the language that Jesus himself spoke. It literally means money and possessions but it has a negative connotation and so it actually means wealth in which one puts one's trust and which could be classified as a false God.
Clearly this is something that is contrary to the Gospel. We can all think of people who place all their trust in material things whether they themselves are rich or poor. Pursuing the acquisition of possessions to the exclusion of other more spiritual values is something which ends up destroying our very humanity.
Jesus uses the word slave to heighten the contrast between our relationship with God and money. According to him we should be a slave of God rather than a slave of money. Presumably he is implying that being a slave of God is actually a liberating experience, one which brings us true freedom and fulfilment, while becoming a slave of money means being oppressed by the weight of our material possessions and ending up captive to them.
It is obvious that mankind is meant for better than this. We are at root spiritual creatures even if we have one foot firmly planted on this earth. Our calling is a high one; we are not meant to cling to material possessions but rather to the things of the spirit and we are invited to soar up to the heavens. Our calling is to embrace a life of virtue and to live our life with the values of faith, hope and charity at its core.
After uttering this condemnation of attachment to material possessions Jesus goes on to talk about the correct attitude for Christians to adopt. In short it is to depend utterly on Divine Providence. He tells us that if we do so then God himself will ensure that we have enough to eat and enough to clothe ourselves with.
He gives us two examples: the birds who do not sow or reap and the flowers who do not spin or weave. These correspond to the differing roles of men and women in the ancient world; it is men who toil in the fields to provide food and the women who weave the textiles for clothing.
The birds and the flowers have no choice, they simply do what they were made to do and God ensures that they are provided for. So therefore with us, we should do what we are made to do and then we will find all we need to live on. Of course, as human beings, our fundamental task is to give praise and worship to God. If we do this then God tells us that he will give us what we need. We must be careful here because this does not mean that God will make us rich and neither does it mean that we should do nothing for ourselves. No God gives us health and strength and intelligence and we need to use these attributes to make a living and to provide for our families.
What Jesus is talking about here is our fundamental attitude or outlook as human beings. He does not mean that we should ignore the world of material possessions, he does not tell us to sit back and do nothing waiting for pennies to fall from heaven. Idleness is the very last thing that God wants. He wishes us to be industrious and to work hard for the things we need but to do so with an eye constantly on him and on the values of his Kingdom.
At root what God wants is for us to have a right relationship with the things of this world as well as with the things of heaven. What he wants is for us to have everything in its correct perspective. What he wants is for us to have the right attitudes in life and so to come in due time to the Kingdom of Heaven. One of the most important things for a Christian parent to do is to inculcate in their children the correct approach to life. Children need to be helped to acquire the right attitudes in life so that they grow up to be good people; people who know how to live a human life in the most fulfilling way possible.
It is important to help children to get their relationship with the material things of our world in the right perspective. We all know that children constantly clamour for this or that new thing that their friends have. We are well aware that they want all the latest gadgets and other fashionable items. We also know that the advertising industry is well aware of how to manipulate them. It is important therefore that Christian parents have their own priorities in the correct order so that they are able to hand on to their children the right values they need to live their lives in a responsible way.
For twelve years I was the chaplain to a women's prison. I often met women in the prison who when I asked what they were in for would tell me that they were caught by the police when they stole some £120 trainers for their son or daughter. This is, of course, a shocking example; but we all know of people who will beggar themselves to provide articles for their children that are entirely unnecessary.
It is good for us from time to time to think carefully what attitudes we are handing on our children intentionally or unintentionally, consciously or unconsciously. Occasionally it is good to review our situation and the attitudes we are passing on to our children. Many years ago, when one of my sisters got married she and her husband chose this very passage for the Gospel reading at their wedding. When I asked them about it because it was so unusual, they said that they had chosen it because they felt that it included the approach to life that they wanted their marriage to represent.
Christians should live their lives with a real dependence on God's Providence. We should place our trust in the God who created us, we should realise that he continues to care for us whatever our circumstances and that putting our trust in worldly things is absolutely futile.
Dependence on worldly things inevitably ends up in pride and arrogance. Dependence on God ends up in love, sharing, doing good, being generous and so on. In other words, on all those things that are sure to lead us into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Further on in Matthew this is all summed up in one simple little phrase which encompasses the very heart of the Gospel of Jesus: ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness.' If we take these words as our inspiration there is very little that can go wrong in life. If we take these words to heart then our attitudes will be the right ones and they will ultimately lead us to God's Kingdom of love, justice and peace.
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 is taking applications for the 2016-2017 School Year, grades Preschool to 8th. Preschool children MUST turn 4 by December 31st, 2016. For more information or to apply, visit www.jpii.org, call 860-347-2978 or send an email to email@example.com.
St. John Church Religious Education News: St. John Church Religious Education News Feb. 20th – NO CLASS Feb. 25th – 2nd grade parent student meeting with Fr. Mike in the chapel 9:00am Feb. 27th - class for grades 1,3,4 & 5 at 4:00-5:15pm and Grades 6-9 at 6:30pm-8:00pm classes are held in the parish center
Xavier HS 2nd Quarter Honor Roll Congratulations to the following Xavier Honor Students!
James Barry & Jordan Leonardi
Mercy HS Open House Mercy HS is holding an Open House for 5th, 6th & 7th grade girls and their parents on Saturday March 4th 9:00am-1:00pm Register online at www.mercyhigh.com
Pancake Breakfasts are Back! Monthly pancake breakfasts will start again on Sunday, February 5th from 8:45am-12noon. Scrambled eggs will be added to the menu! Cost is $5 at the door. All are welcome! .
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. If you have any questions please call Sister Ann 860-344-8569.
St. John Families Funeral Receptions: St. John’s parish is known for its many outreach ministries we feel compelled to make much use of our renovated center. We use it for meetings, CCD program, pancake breakfast, collection site for food and goods for holiday baskets and recently warming center for the homeless. We would like to add to that list a place for gathering after a funeral. Anyone who would like to help in any way is ask to come to an informative planning meeting to be held at the center on Friday, February 10th at 6:30.
~ Middletown, Connecticut ~
Pope To You
St. John Church 'Nativity
Window' Ornament click here
Click here to visit our parish giftshop featuring
gifts with images from our antique stained
Click here to visit our Holy Spirit themed
giftshop featuring gifts Celebrating the
Street Church (Boston)
Preparing for the Mass February 26 2017
|The month of February is dedicated to the Holy Family. This year the entire month of February falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time which is represented by the liturgical color green. Green, the symbol of hope, is the color of the sprouting seed and arouses in the faithful the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection. |
The 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Sunday Bible Reflections from Scott Hahn and the liturgy can be found here and a children's liturgy can be found here.
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Trust in the Lord
It is a real joy for us all to bask in the proclamation of
today's Gospel, Matthew 6:25-34, the
teaching on God's love and care for us.
It certainly is easy to wax poetic on the beautiful images presented:
the birds of the air cared for by God, the fields, dressed by God with wild
flowers making them more grand than King Solomon in all his glory.
The images are beautiful, but we do need to be careful that
the message is not lost in the poetry.
The underlying message of this passage is pointed to those who are weak
in faith, certainly me, perhaps also you.
The theme of little faith, found throughout the Gospel of Matthew,
strengthens those of us whose faith in the Risen Lord is continually assaulted
by the situation of our daily lives. We
are called to faith not just in times of great spiritual experiences, or in
times of personal crisis, we are called to faith in the face of our typical
Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A—February 26, 2017
The Sermon on the Mount is full of bracing challenges for those who seek the kingdom of God. Today’s Gospel gives us perhaps the most difficult challenge of all. Why?
Gospel (Read Mt 6:24-34)
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives His followers extended instruction about how life in the kingdom of God is to be lived. It is a life of radical love of God and neighbor. Today, He makes clear that this life is not simply a new code of ethics. In fact, He goes right to the heart of its distinguishing characteristic: “Do not worry about your life.”
Don’t worry about our lives? Is there anything more natural and immediate to us than figuring out what we will eat or drink or wear? These concerns seem essential to human life. What does Jesus mean? He starts this instruction with a direct statement of the ultimate goal of all that follows: “No one can serve two masters … You cannot serve God and mammon.” “Mammon” is an Aramaic word meaing “wealth” or “property.” All of Jesus’ instruction about worry is rooted in His desire for His followers to be free from slavery to money. Excessive anxiety about the necessities of life leads to excessive worship of money. It enslaves us. How can we avoid this bondage?...more
The Power of the Mass: Why We Believe What We Believe
This is the second part of a series on The Power of the Mass. Part one is available here.
I have been inspired to make clear not only the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but also the continual sacrifice of Jesus on the altar at every Catholic Church throughout the world. The same Jesus who died on the Cross for all mankind is truly alive in the Eucharist. For Catholics, this is a truth we have always known. But why do we believe what we believe?
I always knew Jesus was present in the Eucharist, but I did not always comprehend the gravity of the true presence. It was the Holy Spirit who brought me to a desire to want to understand my faith in a more complete way. He drew me to daily Mass, reading scripture and the lives of the saints, retreats and Marion conferences, and also adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, which led to a deeper prayer life. Through these I began to understand my faith more fully...more
The Powerful Faith of the Simple
|I was watching the movie Captains Courageous with my bride last night, the 1937 film based on Kipling’s novel of the same name. I was struck by the performance of Spencer Tracy as Manuel Fidello, for which he won an Oscar, the happy go lucky Portuguese fisherman who rescues a spoiled rich kid from the sea, Harvey Cheyne (Freddie Bartholomew), and who helps put his feet on the path to becoming a good man. Not a learned man, he has a deep faith as symbolized by the crucifix he wears around his neck and this bit of dialogue from the movie:|
On Earth as In Heaven
What Does the Father Desire?
Have you ever stopped to think about that?
I spend so much time telling the Father what I desire that I rarely stop to ask Him what He desires.
A friend once shared with me a humorous, yet convicting, conversation he had with his wife. She asked him, “If you could be a fish what kind of fish would you be?”
He was perplexed. “I don’t know, maybe a shark or a dolphin? What would you say?” Just like a fish, he took the bait – hook, line and sinker.
His wife smiled wryly then promptly shared: “If you were a fish, you would be a Sel-fish!” Ouch! It pierced his heart. I’ve gone swimming in those waters a time or two myself. “Selfish” is not a good type of fish to be....more
Meeting God in What Is – As Seen in a Commercial
I wonder if many of us over forty would say that our life has gone as we planned. Very few of my college friends are now doing anything closely related to their degree. My degree is in computer science, yet today I am a priest. One of my friends studied engineering but is now doing cybersecurity. Another got a psychology degree yet is now a business owner. If you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans!
The video below features some funny high school yearbook photos of various celebrities. I must admit that I only recognize a few of them; I’m not that aware of popular cultural icons. Nevertheless, it’s clear that life often unfolds in unusual ways. ...more
Does Morality Depend on Religion?
|I was recently asked this question, “Can a person have a morality without a religion?”|
It is indeed possible for an atheist or agnostic person to have a moral code that they follow without the guidance of any religion. Atheists can have certain moral principles that they uphold and do so with consistency, believing that there is good to be done and evil to be avoided. Some may not use the terms "good" or "evil," but "human" or "inhumane" or other equivalents. There are in fact many atheists and agnostics who are more morally upright and disciplined than many baptized Christians. So it is possible to have a morality without any kind of religion.
The question though is what is the foundation for an atheist’s morality? From an atheistic point of view the world as we know it and everything in it came into existence by happenstance and all life evolved from lower life forms due to the biological processes of evolution. There is no ultimate purpose, order, or meaning to the universe, it all just happened. And if there is no ultimate purpose, order, or Orderer that brings forth some kind of spiritual and moral order to these biological processes, doesn't it become a lot harder to ground one’s morality rationally and consistently.
Healer of Souls
Over the past week, the Gospel readings have contained many scenes of healing from Jesus’s public ministry. We know that Jesus performed many miraculous healings during His life and continues to do so today. The healing springs of Our Lady of Lourdes, whose feast we celebrated on Saturday, have brought about countless healings that have baffled doctors and defied human understanding. We know that Jesus’s healing power is still active today. But reading about all these healings also raises an uncomfortable question: What about the people who don’t receive physical healing? What about the people who make pilgrimages to Lourdes, seeking a cure, and leave with no physical change? What about saints like Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, who prayed constantly and yet suffered an excruciating death? How do we reconcile the fact that God allows some people to be freed entirely from the burden of their disease with the reality that many who pray desperately for healing still suffer and die?
We can begin to understand this mystery through the story of Jesus healing the paralytic:...more
Dear Bill Nye: Stop Promoting Abortion with Fake Science!
Dear Bill, I watched your YouTube video Bill Nye: Can We
Stop Telling Women What to Do With Their Bodies? I see the bow tie is still there and noticed
that your human cells, begun at conception, have advanced into old age.
Retirement is not serving you well, however. Rather than bowing out as the
energizer bunny of science-made-easy, you’ve decided to promote abortion.
You begin with: “Many, many, many, many more eggs get
fertilized than become humans.”
Already, my little mind tells me something is wrong. The
American Heritage Science Dictionary defines conception as "the formation
of a zygote resulting from the union of a sperm and egg cell; fertilization.” A
zygote is the first stage of a human embryo.
Thus, fertilized eggs are humans.
Did Noah Really Live to Be 950?
I occasionally get questions about the remarkably long lives of the patriarchs who lived before the great flood. Consider the ages at which these figures purportedly died:
- Adam – 930
- Seth – 912
- Enosh – 905
- Jared – 962
- Methuselah – 969
- Noah – 950
- Shem – 600
- Eber – 464
- Abraham – 175
- Moses – 120
- David – 70
SO YOU’RE IN LOVE! Why “Living Together” Is Not God’s Plan for You
But everyone’s doing it!
Indeed, to look around at contemporary society, it does seem that living together without benefit of marriage is just another option for a young couple in love.
- Perhaps they’re engaged to be married, and it’s cheaper to pay rent for only one apartment.
- Perhaps they’re not engaged but are simply trying out the relationship–and later, if everything goes well, they’ll consider making more definitive plans for a life together.
- Perhaps there’s no intent to marry, but the couple have discovered the pleasure of sexuality with one another, and simply want the sexual partner to be close at hand, available on the other side of the bed.
Anyway, it seems that all of society says that it’s no big deal–that unlike in years past, today a woman can talk openly about living with her boyfriend, and no one will question her character. One big reason for the change is contraception: If there’s little chance of an “unplanned pregnancy,” then why not have fun snuggling up together, even if you’re not totally committed to your partner?...more
Commandments are NOT mere “ideals” from
which some people are excused because they’re hard!
Look. I’m the first one to admit that I am a sinner. I sin and I go to confession with a firm purpose of amendment. When I fall, I get back up, again with a firm purpose of amendment. I go to confession. I keep trying.
I do not think that, just because I sin and fall, God’s commandments are only “ideals” which some other people may be able to keep, but that I – poor wretch that I am – cannot and, therefore, I’m a special case whom the Church must tell, “There there, John, you don’t really have to change your ways. Go ahead and receive Communion anyway! (cf Gen 3:1)”..more
The Case for Chastity
A Love-Hate Relationship with Sexual Freedom
Our culture has a love-hate relationship with the ideas of
sexual liberation that spewed out of the sixties and seventies. By promising
instant gratification and sexual self-realization, the sixties and seventies
crafted a narrative in which the purpose of sexuality was totally separate from
procreation. This liberation has created our present-day, cycle of infidelity,
divorce, and ruined childhoods. Almost everyone recognizes this mess and
laments it, but few know how to end the cycle.
Since many people fail to see the connection between the sexual
liberation they think they love and the destruction they hate, they fail to
recognize destruction in what feels so natural, enjoyable, and love-filled.
Instead, they embrace sexual liberation until it is too late. Even then, many
naively believe a lifestyle of giving into impulses is a good preparation for
The Stumbling Block of the Crucifix
As a Catholic, I am often challenged about our use and reverence for the crucifix. The most common charge has been that the crucifix focuses on Christ’s death and fails to celebrate the Resurrection. But as Catholics we recognize these two events are necessarily intertwined. Each time we reflect on the image of Christ on the cross, we also call to mind the joyous event three days later.
While evangelizing, I recently met a woman who was a lapsed Catholic. She took some of the rosaries I was handing out, but she refused to take any of the crucifix medals. She stated the image of Christ on the cross disgusted her. She hated to look at it since it called to mind such horrific events. She wanted nothing to do with it and could not believe anyone would hang a crucifix around their neck or in their homes.
This gave me the opportunity to explain why, for me, the crucifix was one of the most beautiful images for meditation. Anytime I gaze at Christ on the cross, it gives me hope in suffering, calls me to repentance and conversion and reminds me of the infinite love God has for me.
"Facts" and "values" and
darkness at noon
|(Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from Archbishop Charles Chaput’s forthcoming book Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World (Henry Holt and Co.). The book will be available February 21.)|
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. (Gen 1:3-4)
Light is the beginning of creation. Light grows our food. Light helps us see. Light warms our faces in the summer.
Dark is a very different matter. In Scripture, the “outer darkness” is a place we want to avoid. The dark, even when it’s thick with silence and scents and romance, can also be thick with carnivores—a fact that imprinted itself very early on our species’ memory. Put simply: Light is good. Dark is not. Thus, moderns speak of the Dark Ages and the Enlightenment, the light of reason and the darkness of ignorance. It’s hard to imagine anyone confusing the two. But given the right circumstances, odd things can happen....more