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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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Pastor

Very Rev. Father Michael Phillippino             

             

Director of Religious Education

Sr.Ann Mack

Kathryn Connolly

                 

Parish Administrative Secretary

Ms. Megan Furtado

StJohnSecretary@comcast.net
    

Parish Bookeeper
Ms. Patty Holmes
StJohnBook@comcast.net

            
Parish Sexton
Mr. Bob Maxa

Parish Organist
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"

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~

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Pastoral Sharings: First Sunday of Advent


 

 

 

Homily from Father Alex McAllister SDS
Posted for November 27, 2016

First Sunday of Advent
 
We begin the liturgical year hearing in the Gospel a solemn warning from Christ to his disciples. He warns them severely to get themselves ready; he tells them not to be caught out on the Last Day. He urges them to be prepared and tells them not to be like the people in Noah's day who ignored his advice and went on eating and drinking till they were all washed away in the Great Flood. These words are addressed to his immediate disciples but, of course, they are also addressed to Christians in whichever era that they live, because Christ wants every one of us to be ready for that great Day of Days when he will come in glory ready to judge the living and the dead. We know that the Gospel is not all about warnings. We are perfectly aware that it is packed full of positive teachings urging us to be good and kind and to love our fellow man. The main purpose of the Gospel is to tell us all about Jesus and about how he lived and what he taught. It tells us of his miracles and many other wonders. It gives us heart as we journey through life and it enables us to live in a new and more generous way.

But as we begin this new liturgical year with the season of Advent we are alerted by the Church and told to be on our guard and to prepare ourselves to be ready for the second coming of Christ. The word Advent literally means coming and during this important liturgical season we prepare ourselves for the two great comings of Christ: first for the anniversary of his coming into our world as an infant in Bethlehem and secondly for when he comes as the Great Judge and Lord of all at the end of time. The preparation for both of these comings is exactly the same. We confess our sins and we resolve to become more faithful disciples of Christ. We recommit ourselves to his service and we choose again to embrace his Gospel of love.


Jesus Christ entered our world as a tiny babe on that first Christmas Day. And as his followers we celebrate the anniversary of that great event with immense joy and love in our hearts. And in order to do this well we get ourselves ready during this season of Advent. We give our souls a bit of a spring clean and we put our lives in order so that we are spiritually ready to celebrate this great Christian feast worthily and well. I don't know about you but one of the modern day duties that falls to me during Advent is to choose appropriate gifts for my family members and very close friends. And sometimes it is really quite difficult to decide on exactly the right gift for each particular person. It often requires a great deal of thought and sometimes I find myself having to go to a lot of trouble to find just the right thing. I generally find, however, that the earlier I start the easier it is. This duty is an expression of the deep love that is in our hearts for those closest to us. During the year we might find it difficult to find ways to demonstrate our love for those nearest to us but at Christmas by means of a well-chosen gift we can make up for our lack of demonstrativeness during the previous year. So while the season of Advent has a certain sobriety about it, underneath there is a lot of quiet joy and often great thoughtfulness for those around us whom we love. Advent however starts with a particular focus on the end of the world, on Christ's Second Coming.

As we have seen, the liturgical year begins with a warning. We are told to look out for the Last Day and to be always in the process of getting ourselves ready for that great day when we shall meet the King of Kings and find ourselves standing before his judgement seat. We might think that on that day we will be quaking in our shoes with fear, dreading the possibility of eternal damnation. But if we live our lives as best we can as true Christians then we need have no fear on that final day. The Lord that will be greeting us will be a welcoming Lord, a merciful Lord, a Lord who earnestly wants to invite us to share his Kingdom of Love. Of course, if we have lived a dissolute life, if we have spent our time here on earth living in defiance of the laws of God, if we have been wholly self-centred, or if we have denied our love to others then we really should be quaking in our shoes. By living in such a way we will have demonstrated to God that we are unfit to live in his Kingdom. We will have already made our own choice and all that will be left for God to do is to issue the verdict that we will already have pronounced on ourselves. But this is not what we want. We choose to live lives worthy of God's love; we choose to do the things in this world which will enable us to live with God forever.

And if we have failed on some occasions, or fallen into sin for whatever reason, then we know exactly what we have to do which is to repent and beg pardon from God especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And there is no better time for us to do this than in these few weeks running up to Christmas. So Advent is a season of repentance, it is certainly a season when we take stock of our lives, but most of all it is a season of forgiveness. We began the Liturgy of the Word today with a marvellous reading from the Prophet Isaiah all about the gathering of the nations before the Lord at the end of time. Its words are majestic and Isaiah paints a picture of all the nations gathering together as they go up to God's holy mountain. They go to the Mountain of the Lord quite willingly in order to subject themselves to God's judgement. They stream from all corners of the world and they resolve to live in God's ways and express their decision to live peaceably till the end of their days. What better image could we have of the Christian life than this; that the people of the world come together seeking to live under God's guidance and in conformity with his laws determining to live in peace with each other all their days. Isaiah beautifully concludes with the invitation: ‘O House of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.' It is an invitation addressed as much to us as it was to those ancient Israelites
                                  
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 St. John Paul II Regional School

 

Pre-K through Grade 8
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 860347-2978 or send an email to office@jpii.org.


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.  


LECTIO DIVINA COURSE with Fr. Mike Padre Pio said “through the STUDY of books one seeks God; by meditation one finds him.”  Would you like to gain greater intimacy with God, a sense that he is truly with you?  Join me in the six week course of Lectio Divina to discover the simple steps to make prayer an effective effort of love and intimacy with God.  Course begins on Sunday Nov. 20th at 3:30pm then continues every Wednesday, Nov. 30th – Dec. 28th at 6:30pm

 

St. John Church Religious Education News: Nov. 28th class for grades 1-5 4:00pm-5:15pm & grades 6-9 6:30pm-8:00pm.

 

HOLY HOUR - Queen of Apostles Padre Pio Holy Hour at Holy Apostles College & Seminary chapel in Cromwell, 1st Saturday December 3rd 10am Mass followed by Rosary Benediction and Consecration to Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Celebrant Rev. Skip Thompson M.S.A.   All are welcome!


Advent Candles - Advent candles will be sold after Masses Nov. 19th -20th and 26th-27th.

 

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 ~


Vatican Website

Pope To You

St. John

Norwich Diocese



 St. John Church 'Nativity
Window' Ornament click here


 

 

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

glass windows

 

 

    

 Click here to visit our Holy Spirit themed 
giftshop featuring gifts Celebrating the

Holy Spirit

 








 

 


 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 




 

 

       

Heinrich Hofmann

Head of Christ from “Christ and the Rich Young Ruler”

1889

Oil on Canvas

Riverside Church, New York

Preparing for the Mass November 27, 2016

The month of November is dedicated to the Souls in Purgatory, whose feast is celebrated on November 2. With the exception of the last Sunday, November falls during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time and is represented by the liturgical color green. The last Sunday, which marks the beginning of the Advent season, the liturgical color changes to purple, representing a time of penance.

           

First 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.

1st Sunday of Advent: Stay Awake and Hope

This week we begin the Church year with a call to stay awake.  Paul tells us in Romans 13, our second reading, that we must wake from our sleep because our salvation is nearer now then when we first believed.  Jesus tells us in apocalyptical terms in Matthew 24 that we do not know exactly when the Lord is coming, we just need to be ready for Him.

 

This is Advent, the season of hope.  Our hope is that Jesus Christ will come a second time.  Our hope is that the Lord’s Second Coming will bring lasting peace.  Our hope is  that we will all experience this peace, either in this world or, if our lives end before the Second Coming, in the next world.

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First Sunday of Advent, Year A—November 27, 2016

On this first Sunday in the new liturgical year, Jesus warns His followers to “stay awake!”  Why do we need to hear this today?


Gospel (Read Mt 24:37-44)

St. Matthew records for us an extended conversation Jesus had with His disciples about “the coming of the Son of Man.”  We know this prophecy had two levels of meaning.  Jesus was preparing His followers for the day of judgment that was to come on Jerusalem, when God would judge her rejection of the Messiah.  The catastrophic sack of the city in 70 A.D. by the Romans, in which the Temple of the Old Covenant was destroyed (never to be rebuilt), was the first fulfillment of His warning.  How was that a “coming of the Son of Man”?

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Run to Jesus! An Advent Reflection

The Lord’s coming is near. And though we have all been well taught that the word “Advent” means “coming,” there is the danger that we think that we are only passively waiting for Him to come. It is not just that the Lord is coming to us; we are also journeying to Him. In fact, as the Advent prayers in the Roman Missal instruct, we ought to run, not walk, and hasten to greet Him as He draws near.


This notion of running to meet God is set forth as a consistent theme in the prayers of the Roman Missal. Consider the following prayers and how the theme of our hastening to go out to meet God, even as He is coming to us, is set forth:

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 Good Reads on How to Benefit From Suffering
Book picks from Jeff Cavins, Dawn Eden and Ronda Chervin.

Suffering can make God a hard sell. Atheists often use it as proof he doesn’t exist: “If there was a loving God, he would not allow… (Fill in the blank).”

 

But suffering does not disprove God, and it can actually draw us closer to him if we embrace it. 

 

How can we learn to rethink the concept of suffering? Three new books on suffering can help.

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Does God damn you?

Modern defenders of the doctrine of eternal punishment often argue that those who are damned essentially damn themselves.  As I indicated in a recent post on hell, from a Thomistic point of view that is indeed part of the story.  However, that is not the whole story, though these modern defenders of the doctrine sometimes give the opposite impression.  In particular, they sometimes make it sound as if, strictly speaking, God has nothing to do with someone’s being damned.  That is notcorrect. 
 
From a Thomistic point of view, damnation is the product of a joint effort.  That you are eternally deserving of punishment is your doing.  That you eternally get the punishment you deserve is God’s doing.  You put yourself in hell, and God ensures that it is appropriately hellish.

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The Real Jesus of Scripture Might Surprise You

If we could travel back in time to 30 A.D. and meet the Lord Jesus as He carried forth His public ministry, we might be quite surprised by what we saw. I say this because many of us are heirs to a rather filtered description of Him that is both Western and modern.

 

Most picture Jesus as fair-skinned and slender, with long, straight hair and a gentle beard. This physical reimagining of Him began rather early, gathered steam during the Renaissance, and has come to our day. I will not dwell here on His physical traits in this post, as I have written in detail on them elsewhere: What Did Jesus Look Like?.

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Why We Should Address Jesus as ‘Thou’
Bishop Robert Barron

One of the major problems we have in evangelizing our culture is that many Christians don’t walk with Jesus personally.

On the final morning of the November meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, we were treated to a fine sermon by Archbishop J. Peter Sartain. The leader of the church in Seattle spent a good deal of time discussing Pier Giorgio Frassati, a saint from the early twentieth century to whom he and I both have a strong devotion. But what particularly struck me in his homily was a reference to the great St. Catherine of Siena. One of the most remarkable things about that remarkable woman was the intimacy which she regularly experienced with Mary, the saints, and the Lord Jesus himself. Archbishop Sartain relayed a story reported by Catherine’s spiritual director, Raymond of Capua. According to Raymond, Catherine would often recite the office while walking along a cloister in the company of Jesus, mystically visible to the saint. When she came to the conclusion of a psalm, she would, according to liturgical custom, speak the words of the Glory Be, but her version was as follows, “Glory be to the Father, and to Thee, and to the Holy Ghost!” For her, Christ was not a distant figure, and prayer was not an abstract exercise. Rather, the Lord was at her side, and prayer was conversation between friends.

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Mary, Mary, Quite Necessary

One of the great divides in Catholic-Protestant relationships is the Mother of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Most, if not all, Protestants simply cannot fathom why Catholics put such a premium on including her in our prayers and in our Church. They wrongly believe that we are “worshiping her” when we are actually invoking her for her intercessory prayer. Still others erroneously think that we are committing the sin of necromancy by trying to conjure her up and asking her for esoteric knowledge about the future. The purpose of this article is to answer these objections.
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Preparing Our Hearts and Minds for Advent

This Sunday the Church begins her new liturgical year with the season of Advent. In the hustle and bustle of the secular Christmas season, it is an often-overlooked season. It is a time when the Church calls us as our Mother to enter into the silence and hope of waiting. Many of us live in cultures of instant gratification, so Advent is rich in spiritual truths. Christmas trees, elves, lights, and holiday decorations seem to show up in stores earlier and earlier. The day after Halloween gave way to Christmas. Here in the U.S., the cultural preparations for Christmas in previous years typically start the day after Thanksgiving, but now Thanksgiving seems to be absorbed into the frenzy of Christmas. It can be difficult during this busy time of year to enter into Advent, but a well observed Advent will deepen our joy at Christmas.
...more

Advent: The Mercy Promised to Our Fathers

This Sunday the Church begins her new liturgical year with the season of Advent. In the hustle and bustle of the secular Christmas season, it is an often-overlooked season. It is a time when the Church calls us as our Mother to enter into the silence and hope of waiting. Many of us live in cultures of instant gratification, so Advent is rich in spiritual truths. Christmas trees, elves, lights, and holiday decorations seem to show up in stores earlier and earlier. The day after Halloween gave way to Christmas. Here in the U.S., the cultural preparations for Christmas in previous years typically start the day after Thanksgiving, but now Thanksgiving seems to be absorbed into the frenzy of Christmas. It can be difficult during this busy time of year to enter into Advent, but a well observed Advent will deepen our joy at Christmas.
...more

Bishop Barron’s ‘Catholicism: The Pivotal Players’ series is absolutely stunning and you have to watch it soon

When I chose to convert to the Catholic Church in 2012, my very first RCIA class gathered to watch an episode of Catholicism by Father Robert Barron. It was a fabulous night and I was hooked on the content from Word on Fire from then on.


I had a chance to watch the new series from Word on Fire, Catholicism: The Pivotal Players and it is absolutely stunning. If you liked the first Catholicism series by Fr. Barron, you’re going to LOVE this new series by Bishop Barron.

 
I’m still getting used to calling him “Bishop Barron” but our priest is still as familiar as ever in this new series. I absolutely love the direct that Word of Fire went with this production. This series is focussed on highlighting a magnificent composition of five Catholic personalities that enable viewers to gain an appreciation for the development of Catholic thought, art, history, rhetoric, culture, and the literature.

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Five Ways to Make the Most of Advent

Next Sunday, November 27, marks the beginning of Advent, the season of hopeful, joyful longing as we wait for the birth of our Lord. This beautiful time of year, which some people refer to as a “mini-Lent,” is an opportunity for purposeful spiritual growth. While both seasons are penitential, the focus during Advent is less on redemptive suffering and more on readying our hearts for His coming. There are many ways to make the most of the season, treasure its real meaning, and grow ever closer to God.

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Can a Rich Person Get to Heaven?

In a recent interview with National Public Radio, actress Anna Kendrick talked about how, when she was a child, the Bible made her anxious:

 

I remember there being this thing about "It's easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." And at that point, because . . . my brother and I each had our own room and we had a garage, I thought, "Well, that's us. We're rich and we need to give everything away, otherwise my whole family is going to go to hell."

 

The passage Kendrick is referring to is Matthew 19:24 or one of the parallel passages that can be found in Mark 10:25 and Luke 18:25. It occurs after Jesus’ interaction with the rich young man who kept the commandments but did not follow Jesus’ advice to sell all he had and give it to the poor. Matthew explains that the young man was “sorrowful” at that instruction because he had “many possessions.” The Evangelist then describes Jesus reaction to the incident:

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Reason and the Existence of God

In his famous 2006 address at the University of Regensburg, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the importance of academic inquiry into the “reasonableness of faith.” The Pope noted that a former colleague had quipped that the university had two theological faculties, one Catholic, the other Protestant, devoted to something that did not exist: God. The Pope also observed that even—perhaps especially—in an age of radical skepticism, it was “necessary and reasonable to raise the question of God through the use of reason, and to do so in the context of the tradition of the Christian faith.”

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How Your Suffering Can Help Make the World a Better, Kinder Place

Nothing makes us more effective ministers of comfort than having suffered ourselves. Not one of your tears of pain will be wasted if you allow them to be redeemed in the life of another. God can use every ounce of what you have been through to make this world a better, kinder place. “Beautiful Mercy” (Comforting Mercy, Paragraph eight)

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) was founded in 1980 by Candace Lightner after 13-year-old old daughter was killed by a drunk driver. There is now a MADD office in every state in the union and in all Canadian provinces. This organization has served to educate thousands upon thousands of drivers about the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol. There is no telling how many lives have been saved as a result of her initiative. This woman took her pain and used it to “make this world a better, kinder place.”

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The pre-existence of the soul

Our visit to hell hasn’t ended.  (How could it?)  More on the subject of damnation in a forthcoming follow-up post.  But first, a brief look at another topic which, it seems to me, is illuminated by the considerations raised in that previous post.  Can the soul exist prior to the existence of the body of which it is the soul?  Plato thought so.  Aquinas thought otherwise.  In Summa Contra GentilesII.83-84 he presents a battery of arguments to the effect that the soul begins to exist only when the body does.
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Doesn’t Hell Make God an Unjust Tyrant?

For many people, the Catholic doctrine of hell serves as an obstacle to belief in God. They think an all-good God wouldn’t allow someone he loves to experience everlasting torment. And they think the permanent nature of hell’s punishment is incompatible with a just God.

 

A recent caller on Catholic Answers Live asked, “Given that we have a finite life with limited information to make our decisions, how is an infinite punishment not infinitely disproportionate? Shouldn’t the punishment be proportional to the transgression?”

 

St. Thomas Aquinas put this question in the form of an objection:

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A remarkable book from and for Eucharistic Adoration

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Imagine a combination of St. Gertrude the Great, St. Therese of Lisieux, and Bd. Columba Marmion. Imagine a book that was born in the silence of the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, in the luminous shadow of the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. Imagine a book that draws one ever more deeply into the glorious mysteries of this greatest of all miracles — the Most Holy Eucharist, Bread of Angels, food of wayfarers, sweet incense of oblation, price of the world's redemption.

Such a book — In Sinu Jesu. When Heart Speaks to Heart: The Journal of a Priest at Prayer — has just been published by Angelico Press. As an avid reader, I can say with complete honesty that, of works appearing in print during my lifetime, I have seen nothing like it. I shall offer some excerpts:

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