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 Ordinary Time
Father Alex McAllister SDS
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
We begin today the sequence of readings we call Ordinary Time. This Liturgical Season is divided into two parts. The first part which we begin today takes us from the beginning of the year up to Ash Wednesday. Once Lent and Easter have run their course we recommence Ordinary Time which carries us through the remainder of the year until it ends with the feast of Christ the King at the very end of November. The Gospel readings of this long season lead us through the life of Jesus and tell us the story of his public ministry. We hear what Jesus did, where he went and who he met; we are told about the miracles that he performed and the teaching that he gave to the people. Although the accounts of these three years are summarised in only twenty or so short chapters in each of the Gospels they do give us a wonderful overview of what Jesus achieved during this important period of his life. It is extraordinarily important for us to understand these things because they are the very basis of the Christian faith, the absolute fundamentals of our religion.
It is vital for us to know just how Jesus interacted with people and how he challenged their faith. It is essential that his priorities are revealed to us and that we are presented with the entire content of his teaching. Without these first-hand accounts of his life we would have nothing on which to build our belief in him and his Gospel of Love. The Gospels of Year A in the Liturgical Cycle almost entirely come from St Matthew but on this the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time we are actually presented with an extract from the Gospel of John which tells us how John the Baptist came to identify Jesus. In the text we are told that when John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching him he immediately declared to his disciples that he is the Lamb of God. Although we don't have it today, if we continue for a few further verses we hear how the very next day when John sees Jesus a second time he once again identifies him as the Lamb of God. At this point two of his disciples who were walking with him, one of them being Andrew, leave John and start to follow Jesus. John the Baptist's role is now over and so he retires into the background only to appear much later in the Gospels when he is martyred by the cruel King Herod.
It is with this identification by John the Baptist that Jesus begins his three year long public ministry. John reveals his identity to his disciples and they leave their former master and take up with Jesus. The new disciples follow Jesus on his journey through Palestine and besides witnessing all that he did they receive a lot of personal instruction from him. Eventually they end up in Jerusalem where they witness Christ's death and resurrection and then after Pentecost begin their own work of evangelising all the people of the world. In the coming weeks and months we, like those first disciples, also follow Jesus and are inducted into his teaching and way of life. In the Gospels of Ordinary Time we are told about his miracles and we hear the content of his teaching. Through the words of St Matthew we become closely acquainted with Jesus and we learn more and more about him. This knowledge changes us as it also changed the lives of the disciples.
The more we become familiar with his message Christ's love and forgiveness the more we change, the more we choose to follow his way, and the more we decide to leave off our own selfish interests and desires. You might think it a bit strange that John the Baptist uses the words, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God' when he sees Jesus. The words are unusual and striking. Actually this title for Jesus is unique to the Gospel of John, and even in John's Gospel it only occurs twice; once here in verse 29 and then again in verse 36 which we already referred to when we mentioned the second occasion John encounters Jesus the day after this first meeting. In the Jewish mind the use of such a title would have immediately been understood to refer to the Paschal Lamb which was consumed as part of the Passover Meal. John the Evangelist puts this title here in the mouth of John the Baptist quite deliberately in order to point out right from the start the identity and purpose of Jesus.
On the first Passover the blood of the lamb which has been sacrificed is spread over the door lintel as a sign to the Angel that he should pass over this house of the Israelites as he flies overhead on his avenging mission to slaughter the first-born of the Egyptians. This meal is repeated each year by the Jews to remind them of this seminal event in their history. So we can immediately see that the blood of the sacrificial lamb is a very powerful symbol of the salvation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and also of their identity as a people. The Christian Church looks back on the Exodus from Egypt and sees it as a foreshadowing of the salvation won by Christ on the Cross of Calvary.
The use of this title by John is therefore to be seen as firstly recalling the Exodus and the great liberation that God brought about for the People of Israel. Secondly, it is equally to be seen as a looking forward to the salvation Christ won for us on the Cross of Calvary. In the case of Christ, the symbol of the lamb becomes even more potent since it was he himself who was sacrificed to release us from our sins. Christ himself becomes the lamb of sacrifice and so these words of John the Baptist can be seen as a tremendous prophecy of what Christ was to achieve and how he was to realise it.
Of course, we are well aware that these words of John have found their way into the liturgy and have become the words the priest uses to invite us to receive Holy Communion. They are in themselves an important profession of our faith: ‘Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who comes to take away the sins of the world.' John the Baptist is the precursor of Jesus and he comes to prepare the way for him. By his use of this title ‘Lamb of God' we see just how effectively John the Baptist carries out his task. By identifying Christ and leading his disciples to him John has fulfilled his commission and handed over to the one who was to achieve the greatest act of salvation of all. John effectively tells us that there is no other who can save us from our sins and that we should place our whole hope and trust in him. On what better note could we begin this new liturgical season. What better invitation could we ever be offered. Let us grasp it wholeheartedly and commit our whole lives to Christ who is the author of our salvation.
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.
Spiritual Renewal Services Healing Mass: Monday, January 9 and 23, 2:00 PM Spiritual Renewal Center, 11 Bath St., Norwich, CT Charismatic Prayer Meeting: Tuesdays at 2:00 PM Prayer, Praise, and Worship Spiritual Renewal Center, 11 Bath St., Norwich, CT
Diocese of Norwich Catholic Family Services Nine Days for Life Novena: The U.S. bishops invite us to pray for the protection of all human life. A special novena called 9 Days for Life will take place from January 21st through the 29th. Pray for the respect and protection of all human life with new intentions, brief reflections, and more each day. Download the novena online, or participate through Facebook, email, text message or an app. Join at www.9daysforlife.com!
St. John Church Religious Education News: Jan. 16th NO CLASS Jan. 22nd Grades 8th & 9th Mandatory retreat at St. Peter Church, Higganum. 1pm-5pm. Permission slips have been mailed out. Please return them ASAP. Please meet in the parking lot at 12:15pm on 1/22. Thank you Jan. 23rd class for grades 1-5 4:00-5:15pm (in parish center) Grades 6&7 6:30pm-8:00pm (Class will be held in the rectory) All evening classes Jan. 9th & 23rd 6:30pm-8:00pm will be held in the rectory. Thank you.
Office Closed: The Parish Office will be closed on Monday, January 16th.
~ 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
Anton Raphael Mengs
St. John the Baptist
Date circa 1775
Medium oil on canvas
Hermitage Museum, Saint
Preparing for the Mass January 15, 2017
The month of January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus, which is celebrated on January 3. The first nine days of January fall during the liturgical season known as Christmas which is represented by the liturgical color white. The remaining days of January are the beginning of Ordinary Time. The liturgical color changes to green — a symbol of the hope of reaping the eternal harvest of heaven, especially the hope of a glorious resurrection.
The 2nd 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.
Second Sunday of Ordinary Time: There He Is. Here We Are
|The Christmas Season ended last Monday with the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Today’s Gospel immediately follows the Baptism of Jesus as John tells his disciples that this Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He relates to them that after he baptized Jesus, he saw the Holy Spirit come upon the Lord. The first reading, from Isaiah, also points to Jesus, as the light to the nations of the world.|
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A- January 15, 2017
As we return to Ordinary Time, our Gospel already begins preparing us for the next great seasons of the liturgical calendar—Lent and Easter. How?
Gospel (Read Jn 1:29-34)
“John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world.’” We heard from the Baptist frequently during Advent, which is what we might expect in a liturgical season given to preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Now that we are in the long season of Ordinary Time, which takes us through Jesus’ preaching of the Kingdom of God, why is John’s voice in our ears again?.
Afterglow of the Baptism
The Readings for the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
this year are like a “holy hangover” from the Feasts of Epiphany and Baptism
that we celebrated last week.
Traditionally, three events of our Lord’s life have been celebrated
clumped together around January 6, between the Christmas season and the
transition to ordinary time. These are
the arrival of the magi (Epiphany), the Baptism, and the Wedding at Cana. These are the three events in the various
Gospels that “manifest” or show forth Jesus’ glory at the beginning of his life
or career: the Magi in Matthew, the Baptism in Mark and Luke, and the Wedding
at Cana in John....more
Reflections on Righteous in the First Letter of John
|Recently, we heard selections from the First Letter of John at daily Mass. St. John writes with boldness and clarity but also with a degree of paradox. In this letter, he makes fierce pronouncements about salvation. He makes it clear who will get into heaven and who will not. He talks about the children of God and the children of the devil. Despite the clarity of St. John’s language and the forcefulness of his message, there are many things left for us to ponder and explore through the letter. For me, hearing the readings at Mass gave me a chance to think about what it means to truly be a righteous person. I asked myself whether righteousness was something that was attainable to all or if it were something that only a holy few merit.|
The day Buffalo Bill met Pope Leo XIII
|Just over 100 years after the death of the legendary American scout, we remember the occasion in which, one day before his death, he was baptized in Denver. |
One hundred years ago, on January 10, 1917, William Frederick Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill, died in Denver, Colorado. The celebrated Chief of Scouts of the Seventh Kansas Cavalry, who had also served as a guide for the army and the Pacific Railroad, and legendary buffalo hunter and icon of the prairies of the American West, was then known for his “Buffalo Bill Wild West Show,” a kind of circus with which he traveled all around the world.
7 Saints Have The Weirdest Patronages We Could Find
Something the communion of saints teaches us is that there is a place for everyone and everything in Catholicism- catholic does mean “universal”, after all. There are patron saints for absolutely every profession, predicament, situation, and ailment under the sun so that you always have someone special to turn to with your needs. Here are 7 of the strangest patronages....more
Where Is Your Soul?
|If anything could prove the existence of a soul, it is the utter emptiness of a corpse.|
— Mary Doria Russell, Children of God
When I was little, I asked my father where our souls were in our bodies. He made a gesture in the general area of his liver while trying to explain that souls animate our entire bodies. For quite awhile afterward, I was convinced that the soul was an organ beside the liver.
One evening I was walking through a park with an atheist friend, who is a strong determinist—he doesn’t believe that we have free will, but that all our decisions are formed solely by our genes or environment. He asked, “Wouldn’t you make the same decision again with the same information at hand?”
He is also a complete materialist (in the metaphysical sense). I asked, “What’s the difference between a living person and a corpse?” ...more
The Real Sword of Honor
|Part of what it means to be a Christian is to be zealously concerned with the sufferings and needs of those whom society often overlooks. Scripture is filled with exhortations that make our priorities clear. For example, the Bible says that God “defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” (Dt. 10:18-19) The elderly, unborn, orphans, asylum seekers, and refugees – these are as much a part of our mission field as the unchurched.|
If the Beer Truck Runs Over You Tomorrow, Is Your Soul Ready? Part Two
|This is the second part of a two-part series addressing some practical matters we might want to consider in light of the question, “What if the beer truck runs over you tomorrow?” In part one of this series, we fleshed this question out in terms of preparing our souls. Throughout Sacred Scripture, we see our Lord asking us to share our gifts and blessings with others for His Greater Glory. As a result, we probably ought to be asking ourselves from time to time how well we are doing in that regard. If we seem to be “too busy” to build the Kingdom through our works, can we find a way to begin to volunteer at a minimal level, or to increase our level of involvement by just a bit? If we shudder at the thought of a true tithe, can we begin giving or begin to increase what we give back to the Lord, a little at a time?|
God Uses Wounded Humans to Share His Healing Love
“For the Christian, to reign is to serve him, particularly when serving the poor and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering founder.” (CCC 786)
After undergoing surgery in November to repair tendons and muscles in her right shoulder, Lori Covak was in severe pain. When she arrived at a transitional care facility in West St. Paul, Minnesota, two days after the surgery, she wasn’t thinking about making new friends.
But God had a few assignments for her while she recuperated.
During her two weeks at the facility, the Lord gave Covak, 48, grace, including pain relief, which enabled her to befriend three other patients.
By listening, showing compassion and, at times, offering tough love, she got to know these patients whose lives — and pain — were very different from her own.
What Every Catholic MUST Know About Exorcisms & Spiritual Warfare
While many tend to think that exorcisms are the stuff of movies and horror flicks, Catholics know better. In fact recently the New York Post reported that the Vatican is calling for more exorcists because there is a global “shortage.” Priests who are trained as exorcists are becoming more vocal about both the need for more of their kind and about the conditions of the culture that are causing an increase in the amount of demonic activity.
With the need for exorcisms on the rise, and the Hollywood fascination with the Occult every present, I thought it might be a good time to point out some facts vs fiction when it comes to Exorcisms and Spiritual Warfare:...more
Recognizing the Face of Evil
White-collar criminals can be very clever. In 1976, master criminal Albert Spaggiari and his gang spent two months drilling a 25-foot tunnel into a bank in the French city of Nice. His gang spent four days in the bank emptying the vault, over a holiday weekend. They left a message behind: “Without hatred, without violence, without weapons.” I also remember reading at the time an addition that isn’t reported now: “We like pretty girls.” Ah, the good-old days.
Bank robbers have their schemes to avoid capture. Street thugs run away from their crime scenes. When terrorists are not blowing themselves up, they try to melt seamlessly into the population. Most criminals are capable of recognizing evil and its consequences more readily than those of us in our ivory towers.
Unforgivable Sins/Invincible Ignorance
“Ever since the days of Adam, man has been hiding from God and saying God is hard to find.”
–Archbishop Fulton Sheen
“We do what the heart tells us, and then we go to confession.”
–Cara, Brideshead Revisited (2008)
The heart is perverse above all things, and unsearchable, who can know it?
God is all-merciful and has both the power and the will to forgive the most heinous sins, provided that we truly repent. God’s mercy reorientates us to the rule of Divine Love, restoring our friendship with God and others.
However, there are six sins against the Holy Spirit, which are known as the eternal or unforgivable sins constituting blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29). These are Final Impenitence, Presumption, Despair, Resisting the Known Truth, Envy of Another’s Spiritual Good, and Obstinacy in Sin.
How do we reconcile these two doctrinal teachings?
How We Got The Bible
|All Christians revere the Bible as the written word of God. Few, however, know why that is. In fact, most Christians just assume that to be the case without every questioning it. They hear if from their pastors and their churches. Everybody says it. So how do we know it's true? There is really only one way. We need to know where the Bible came from.|
So, where did the Bible Come from?
10 More Fascinating Angels Facts That Will
BLOW. YOUR. MIND.
Just over two years ago, I published my first article here at EpicPew, 10 Facts about Angels That Will Blow Your Mind. While I was reflecting on the past two years of writing for EpicPew, a wave of nostalgia inspire me to revisit the subject of angels and how mind-blowingly awesome they are. Here’s some more angel fact to feed your love of angelology.
1. Angels Are Fascinating
What to Do When You Haven’t Abstained From Meat on a Friday
What to do on Friday if you’ve already had that pepperoni pizza or Big Mac?
I’ve written in these pages before that Catholics are still supposed to abstain from meat on all Fridays of the year (cf. Canons 1249-1251)—or at least “devote themselves in a special way to prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves” (Can. 1249).
However, many Catholics still (erroneously) think that, since the Second Vatican Council, this “Fish on Fridays” rule applies only to Lent, and not the rest of the year.
So, at the risk of being overly-scrupulous: what to do on Friday if you’ve already had that pepperoni pizza or Big Mac? Fortunately there are lots of positive options: