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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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Memorial of St. Augustine, bishop, confessor and doctor
August 29

The Church, having celebrated the earthly birthday of St. John the Baptist on June 24, today honors the anniversary of his martyrdom. Besides our Lord and our Lady, St. John the Baptist is the only one whose birth and death are thus celebrated. Today's Gospel relates the circumstances of his execution.


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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:  "22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time"





Homily from Father Alex McAllister SDS
Twenty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

 August 31, 2014


Last week we heard in our Gospel reading about Peter's spontaneous profession of faith "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." This was followed by Christ's great mandate to Peter and his successors, "Upon this rock I will build my Church." And yet here we are with the immediately following text where Jesus calls Peter a stumbling block and says, "Get behind me Satan!" It is hard to credit that these two things should be in the same Gospel, let alone in the same chapter.

 Of course, since we are dealing with a period of three years condensed into twenty-six short chapters (excluding the infancy narratives) we are not expected to take the chronology absolutely literally. For the sake of brevity and the need for a flowing text, things that happened at different times and on different days are often placed right next to each other and so we sometimes get the impression that one followed immediately on the other. However, there are some clues that last week's Gospel text and this week's one did not happen immediately after each other. In the first line this week we are told that "Jesus began to speak" about going up to Jerusalem and suffer and die at the hands of the scribes and Pharisees and then rise again.

 This is important because it is the first prediction of his passion in Matthew's text. But we are not given any exact data about the timing. When it says "he began to speak to them" it is not very specific and so we must take it to mean from that time on, not necessarily the very next minute. Whatever the actual timing, Matthew has deliberately chosen to put these incidents together. First we have the profession of Peter's faith together with Jesus' declaration that it is on the rock of Peter that he will build his Church and then immediately following we have the text today about him becoming a stumbling block and the famous phrase "Get behind me Satan." Matthew puts these two things together as a warning to us, the members of the Church, the people to whom this Gospel is primarily addressed. It is a warning that we should not take the first part of the text in any sort of triumphal way.

 We should not become so confident that we are members of the true Church of Christ that we start to believe that this means we can do no wrong. Actually, what he is telling us is that we have to tread very carefully indeed so as not to become the very opposite of what we are meant to represent. Peter did not mean to offend Jesus, and he certainly did not want to do anything to obstruct Jesus' plan of salvation; it is simply that he didn?t understand it in all its fullness. Peter was simply saying the kind of thing any other human being would say in the circumstances; he can't really believe that Jesus would need to suffer and die. Because he loves Jesus he does not want him to die and so comes out with his statement of disbelief.

 One can't help but think of how human Peter was; his very impulsiveness being one of his most endearing characteristics. It seems that in the Gospels he always speaks from the heart even if what he says is a bundle of contradictions. We find this to be very reassuring. Jesus did not choose the perfect man on which to build his Church. No, he chose a man like us; someone with all the same sorts of faults and contradictions that we recognise within ourselves and yet someone who is essentially good and straightforward.

 Even when we get to the moment of Peter's greatest betrayal, when he denies Christ three times, we find that it is not something blatantly bad that he is doing. Actually he is trying to be near Jesus, to find out what is going to happen to him and, one is tempted to think, try to help Jesus if he can. What happens is that his cover is blown, he is recognised and it is the panic that this induces that causes Peter to deny that he even knows Jesus. And here in our text today we see that Peter's real intention was not to be a stumbling block so much as to try to protect Jesus from harm. We are inclined to think that Jesus is being a bit hard on poor Peter in order to stress very clearly what is going to happen and that anything that gets in its way is contrary to the will of his Father.

 The underlying assumption of Peter is that suffering is bad and it is something that we should be protected from, and this is an assumption that we all share in our everyday lives. Christ, though, tells us something different; he tells us and shows us in his own life that suffering is redemptive. He tells us that suffering is essential to his work of salvation. One of the greatest problems in the world is that people do not seem to understand this anymore. And indeed one of the most common arguments against the existence of God put forward by ordinary people today is that God allows the innocent to suffer. What they fail to take into account is that suffering has a meaning.

 They fail to understand that it is often only through suffering and struggle that a greater good can come about. Now this is not to say that suffering and pain are good in themselves or we would feel obliged to flagellate ourselves every five minutes! No this would be a distortion of God's intention. But we do know that in suffering there is something deeply mysterious, valuable and redemptive.

 In time Peter was to come to understand the meaning of the Cross. We know that when faced with his own crucifixion at the hands of the Romans he asked to be crucified upside down because he did not feel worthy to imitate Christ. There is another tradition which tells us of Peter leaving Rome to escape persecution and as he passes down the Via Appia meets Christ travelling in the opposite direction, towards Rome.

 He greets Christ with the words "Quo Vadis, Domine?" Where are you going, Lord? Only for Jesus to respond that he was going to Rome to be crucified once again. At which point Peter turned around and returned to the city to face his own death. This little story might be apocryphal but there is something in it for each one of us.

 Our following of Christ will inevitably lead to the Cross and it is how we regard the Cross that will determine our response to it. We will then face the moment of truth; which we hope, with God's help, will be the moment of our salvation.






FALL FLOWER SALE: The St. John Church Fundraising Committee will be holding its annual Fall Flower Sale the weekend of September 13-14 before and after all Masses. Autumn flowers will be available for purchase, with the proceeds going to benefit the Church. Thank you in advance for your support!

SAVE THE DATE: PARISH PICNIC! SEPTEMBER 6, 2014 at 5:00 PM Sign-ups will be available at the entryway of the church before and after all Masses this weekend and every weekend until the picnic. Hope to see you there!  


Friday, August 15th, is the Feast of the Assumption. It is a holy day of obligation for Catholics. Masses will be held at 7 PM on Thursday, August 14th, and 8 AM and 12:10 PM on Friday, August 15th.


Day of Recollection: St. Ednmund’s Retreat in Mystic, Friday, August 15, 10 AM – 3 PM. “Feast of the Assumption” with Fr. David Theroux, S.S.E., Director. Includes two conferences, Mass, an opportunity for Reconciliation, time to explore the Island and a hot served lunch. Please call 860-536-0565 to register. $50 per person. 


Is your marriage tearing you apart, little or no communication, considering separation or divorce? For serious marriage building and repair: Retrouvaille is a lifeline. At a Retrouvaille weekend couples are given tools to re-establish communication, work on their issues, gain new insights and heal. A series of 6 post sessions follows the weekend phase. For information or to sign up for the next weekend on Sept. 19-21 in Hartford area call 413-525-1634. Website


21st Annual Shrine Feast Day Celebration:The Shrine of the Little Flower is the first Shrine to St. Theresa in the world, located at the intersection of Routes 102 and 7 in Nasonville, Rhode Island. All are invited to the 21st Annual Shrine Feast Day Celebration on August 17th, 10 – 4:30 PM, rain or shine. The feast Mass will be held at 3:15 PM, and will be celebrated by Fr. George Nixon, the Parochial Vicar of St. Philip’s in Greenville, Rhode Island.

St. John Church Religious Education
The Registration Form for the 2014-2015 Religious Education Program has been mailed. Please fill it out and return it as soon as possible. A count is necessary as we need to make plans and order materials for the new classes. If you did not receive a registration form, please contact the Parish Office.


RCIA/RCIC 2014-2015
Are you or is someone you know interested in the Catholic faith? Are you or is someone you know interested in completing the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation)? We are now beginning to make plans for our fall classes. Please call Fr. Mike at 860-347-5626 or Sister Ann at 860-344-8569 for more information.


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. 





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Norwich Diocese

 St. John Church 'Nativity
Window' Ornament click here


Or click here to visit our parish giftshop featuring 
gifts with images from our antique stained

glass windows


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giftshop featuring gifts Celebrating the

Holy Spirit












Salvador Dali

Christ of St. John of the Cross


Oil on Canvas

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Scotland

Preparing for the Mass August 31, 2014

The month of August is dedicated to The Immaculate Heart of Mary. The entire month falls within the liturgical season of Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green. This 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. It is used in the offices and Masses of Ordinary Time. The last portion of the liturgical year represents the time of our pilgrimage to heaven during which we hope for reward.


22nd 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-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A—August 31, 2014

Gospel (Read Mt 16:21-27)

In the verses preceding today’s passage, Jesus and Peter had a remarkable exchange. Peter identified Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God; Jesus announced that God had revealed this truth to him. On that basis, Jesus changed his name and made him head of the Church He was to build. He made a promise to preserve that Church, giving us some confidence that He wasn’t making a terrible mistake. However, in today’s reading, that confidence gets tested.

Twenty-second Sunday: Conform or Be Transformed?

“Times have changed, Father.  I’m only doing what is perfectly acceptable by our society.” And with these words, the elderly lady explained away her present living condition.  And with the same words, the young man justified his “wild” lifestyle, and with the same words the substance abuser justified his actions. And on and on and on.  Add in whatever immoral behavior you can think of, and someone will say, “I’m only doing what is perfectly acceptable by society.”

Twenty Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Matthew 16 : 21 - 27

Last week we heard a passage immediately before this Gospel in which Peter responded to the question of Jesus, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter makes a profession of faith in Jesus in declaring his belief that “Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” (Matthew 16: 16) Jesus’ response to this shows his high regard toward Peter, “I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16: 18 – 19) This is followed by Jesus making the first prediction of His Passion. Peter gives, what seems to be, a sensible and caring response, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” (Matthew 16:22) The response of Jesus to this was no doubt unexpected by Peter. “Get behind me Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Matthew 16: 23)


You Can Be With Him In Paradise

Jesus said, “Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father” (Mt 7:21); yet the Good Thief, whom tradition has named “Dismas,” says “Lord,” and Jesus promises him paradise that very day. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43) Besides acknowledging Jesus as Lord,  in the short time that he encountered Jesus and died with him on Mount Calvary, how else did Dismas do the will of the Father?

Encounters with Angels

A visit to the local bookstore will reveal a whole shelf of books on angel encounters, angel channeling, and angelology. There’s even a book called The Physics of Angels which tries to blend quirky physics theories with the theology of St Thomas Aquinas. A quick look at the books on offer make you realize that the New Age understanding of angels stretches from “listening to the light within” to the fully fledged summoning up of the “dark angels” — in other words, modern angelology is the stuff of fantasy, neo-gnosticism and a rather nasty occult religion.

How Can I have a Better Relationship with God?

Dear Father John, I want to follow Christ more closely but I don’t seem to be doing that.  How can I draw closer to Christ?  How can I have a better relationship with God?

Frustrations in Prayer

Fr. Ronald Knox, an English Catholic of the early 20th century and convert, gave retreats and talks to lay people to help them deepen and improve their spiritual life. In his Spiritual Guidance for Christian Living: A Retreat for Lay People, he gathers two dozen talks and homilies written for lay people and the troubles they experience. One chapter deals with the rich young man from Mark 10:17-31.


I cannot feel God’s presence, am I a bad person?

I am a Catholic or try to be one, and I am having problems feeling the Power of my religion. I have been so hurt throughout my life and I’ve tried to forgive the people, but it does no good. I feel like I get far more satisfaction out of my work than my faith. It’s so hard for me to get the concept that when I go to communion, its Jesus’ Body and Blood that I’m receiving. That is so deep to me that I can’t grasp it.

The 14 Most Challenging, Radical, Do-We-Really-Have-To Teachings of Jesus

Everyone loves Jesus – until they read what he really taught.

Jesus’s life and teachings are just as radical today as they were 2000 years ago. It’s easy to call ourselves Christians. But are we really willing to accept and follow everything Jesus taught?

All of Christ’s teachings are important, but here are some of the most challenging:


Jesus Wept

Since my beloved son Larry died last year, not a day has gone by that I have not thought of him.  Immediately after his death I would think about him, literally, almost every minute of each day.  Now it is usually once every 15 minutes.  He enriched beyond measure the life of myself and my bride and I miss him with all my heart.  Larry had autism, and, as a result of his autism, my conversations with him were limited in words, although we each got our meanings across.  I greatly admired the way in which my son did not let his disability add sorrow to his life, and the joy he normally radiated warmed my soul.  I have had several privileges in my life that have been granted me by God, but I think the greatest was being entrusted with Larry.

Reasons to Go to Confession

“If there is a heavenly idea in the Catholic Church, surely, next after the Blessed Sacrament, Confession is such.”  -Blessed John Henry Newman


Confession is one of my favorite sacraments, and I try to go as often as I can. But this wasn’t always the case. I am a convert, and I still remember the awkwardness of my first confession. I dreaded it for weeks, about as much as you would if you had to tell your parents you totaled their brand new car.

Catholics With a Past

"The man who has not suffered, what can he possibly know, anyway?" says Rabbi Abraham Herschel. He may be onto something. When we look for insight and understanding, we go to someone who has been wronged, and who has come out stronger and wiser: survivors of wars, genocide, concentration camps; people who have overcome massive disabilities; people who have been abused and outcast, and who have responded with love, gentleness, generosity, and wisdom.

But what about the man who caused his own suffering? The man who has been selfish, foolish, ugly, cruel, and who has suffered because of his own willful sins?  What can he possibly know, anyway?


Our Lady of Czestochowa: The Black Madonna

The Black Madonna was painted by St. Luke the Evangelist; and it was while painting the picture, Mary told him about the life of Jesus, which he later incorporated into his gospel. The next time we hear of the painting is in 326 A.D. when St. Helen found it in Jerusalem and gave it to her son and had a shrine built for it in Constantinople. During a battle, the picture was placed on the walls of the city, and the enemy army fled. Our Lady saved the city from destruction. The picture was owned by many other people until 1382, when invading Tartars attacked a Prince Ladislaus' fortress, where the painting was located. A Tartar's arrow lodged into through the throat of the Madonna. The Prince transferred the painting to a church in Czestochowa, Poland.

The Reform of the Whole World Takes Place One Soul at a Time, Starting with My Own

Yesterday’s blog on the increasing darkness in our culture received a lot of good feedback. Special thanks to Patrick Madrid for spreading the word. Reading such data can cause us to feel discouraged at times. Here are a few thoughts on this discouragement and what we can do about it.

1. The beatitude “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” comes to mind. Who are those who mourn?


Why Catholicism is the True Religion

I recently met a man, about sixty-five years old, who, after I told him what I do, related this story: “When I was in Catholic high school, I asked one of the brothers, ‘How do we know that of all the religions in the world Catholicism is the right one?’ This question had been bugging me, and I was anxious to hear his answer. He replied, ‘We don’t know. We have to take it on faith.’ His response completely deflated me.”


Was Your Prayer a Failure?

This was one of the questions a journalist asked Pope Francis on the plane ride back to Rome from Korea:

Given what has happened in Gaza, was the Prayer for Peace held in the Vatican on June 8 a failure?


Pope Francis answered, in part (according to the English transcript reporter Gerald O’Connell wrote up, first published in America:

The 12 Step Biblical Guide to the Pope and Infallibility

Listers, the Office of the Papacy and Infallibility are biblical gifts to the Church. According to the Gospels, St. Peter – the first to be given the Office of the Papacy – was commissioned by Christ to be the vicar of the kingdom of God, to strengthen the faithful, and to be the chief shepherd of the Lord’s flock. In short, the Vicar governs the kingdom according to the King’s laws until the King returns. The following list is meant to demonstrate the strong biblical argument for the papacy, but it is certainly not an exhaustive list. Catholics should be weary of proof-texting – a subpar hermeneutic that seeks to support ideas by stringing together selective Scriptures – for a few reasons. First, Holy Scripture should always be viewed holistically. A single verse that can be tortured to read a certain way is not a legitimate reading of Scripture. The list at hand seeks to avoid proof-texting by offering a wide range of Scriptures from both the New and Old Testaments supported by historical and linguistic insights.


What were the Rituals Associated with Death and Burial in Jesus’ Day? 

The Jewish people took the burial of the dead quite seriously; it was the way a community paid its last respects to the one who died. The Scriptures laid down quite firmly that no dead body was to be left unburied—even that of one’s worst enemy. Perhaps one of the stronger horrors that a Jewish person could imagine was stated in Psalm 78: They have thrown the bodies of thy servants as food for the birds of heaven; wild beast feast on the corpses of the just.

Uniting With Christ Through Our Senses

How do we perceive the Divine and communicate with God as beings who possess both physical and spiritual senses?

Some ascetics might try to starve their physical senses to sharpen their inner senses, but such a notion seems to me to be contrary to Catholic wisdom and practice. The Catholic Church  repudiates Gnosticism, realizing that believers come to a fuller sense of Christ through the totality of their human person.


Parenting Wisdom in Shorthand

In recent decades, we have seen Satan engage the world as never before. In all of human history we have never witnessed evil promoted so effectively, while virtue, character, and morals are roundly mocked and rejected. Meanwhile, it could be said that the Mystical Body — the Church — has never been so unprepared for and unengaged in the challenging mission of spiritual warfare. It is obvious that Satan’s forces are well trained and well organized, while ours clearly are not. At the very beginnings of our great nation, Sir Edmund Burke warned, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”


Not only divorced from marriage, divorced from reality.” An essay on the ugliness of divorce

Some years ago a woman (and parishioner) told me, almost in passing,  that she and her husband were planning to divorce. Knowing that she had two young children, both under 10, I asked her in so many words, “What about the children?” Unabashedly she assured me that they were in fact divorcing for the sake of the children. Perhaps she saw my bewildered, dubious look, so she added, “We don’t want them to experience all the yelling and bickering.” “Hmmm … ,” I said. “Well then stop the bickering and yelling. Get whatever help you need, but don’t make the kids pay even more for your problems.” 


A Winning Program for Renewal

Recently, I wrote here about the perils and benefits of technology. Assuming that many of you are on your way to freedom from serious addiction to technology, I hope you have more time to dedicate to the most challenging task of our time – re-conversion  of a once-great country (America) and civilization (the West), both now swimming in hedonism and practical atheism.


Are Saints New Revelation?  

It seems, said my friend, that the Church contradicts itself. On the one hand, Catholic teaching declares revelation complete with the close of the apostolic era. Yet consider the canonization of, say, Joan of Arc. It appears a Catholic must believe one of the following:

1. Revelation continues. It was revealed to the Pope in 1920 that Joan of Arc was in heaven.

2. Revelation ended with the apostles, but before the Ascension, Christ gave Peter a long list of those who would eventually be canonized and Joan's name was on the list.

3. There is no revelation concerning Joan of Arc and we have no way of knowing where she is now.

The First 10 Popes of the Catholic Church

Listers, we’ve catalogued the first ten Vicars of Christ for the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. Save the information on our first pope – St. Peter – all the information presented is taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia and links for further reading are provided.


1. Pope St. Peter (32-67)


St. Peter held a primacy amongst the twelve disciples that earned him the title “Prince of the Apostles.” This primacy of St. Peter was solidified when he was appointed by Jesus to the Office of the Vicar – demonstrated by Christ giving St. Peter the Keys to the Kingdom.

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

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