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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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                    Easter Sunday


                         Easter: April 20


Easter is the feast of feasts, the unalloyed joy and gladness of all Christians.

In the very center of the Mass, the great prayer of thanksgiving, from the first words of the Preface, expresses the unrivalled motive for this joy: if it is right to praise You, Lord, at all times, how much more so should we not glorify You on this day when Christ our Passover was sacrificed, for He is the true Lamb who took away the sins of the world, who by His Death destroyed our death and by His Resurrection restored our life.


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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

Michael Keleher

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:  "Easter Sunday"



Father Alex McAllister SDS
April 20, 2014
Easter Sunday


Today we celebrate the most important of all the Christian Feasts, the Resurrection. But this cannot be isolated from what has gone before. Actually the three great feasts of Holy Week are all of a piece: Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday and they should not really be seen in isolation from each other.

Put together we call them the Pascal Mystery; and so, to be more correct, it is this that is the most important event in the Christian year.

In the liturgy during these last few days we have run the whole gamut of emotions. The mixed feelings of wonder and apprehension at the Last Supper, the dreadful sadness of Good Friday, the complete emptiness of Holy Saturday and the unalloyed joy of Easter Sunday morning.

It is good to be reminded of the feelings that the disciples experienced as they followed Christ in those terrible days. They were totally confused and hardly any of them lasted the course, least of all St Peter. It took till Pentecost before they could, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, find the courage to testify to what had happened.

However, we do know however that among those who remained faithful to the end and stood at the foot of the Cross were Mary, the Mother of Jesus, Mary the wife of Clopas, Mary Magdalene and St John. Two of these are mentioned in the Gospel for this morning: Mary Magdalene and St John.

Something authenticated by all four Gospels is that Mary Magdalene was there when the tomb was discovered to be empty. The other Gospel writers mention that she was in the company of other women but in John’s Gospel these other women are not mentioned.

This passage presented to us today is very carefully constructed and worth close examination. The traditional understanding is that it was written by the Apostle John who throughout the Gospel calls himself the Beloved Disciple.

The sequence, which involves a lot of running, is that Mary Magdalene arrives and discovers that the stone is rolled away but doesn’t go into the tomb. Instead she runs to get Peter and John. They, in turn, run to the tomb and John wins the race but holds back to let Peter in first. Then John goes in and, as it says, ‘he saw and he believed.’

There is a lot in this about deference and respect. Mary Magdalene defers to the Apostles and gets them to check the tomb out. John holds back and lets Peter in first, presumably also out of respect. But then he pulls the trump card because, according to him, he is the first to believe.

John may not be number one among the Apostles, he is not the rock on which Christ will build his Church, but he has two claims to fame which Peter cannot match. The first is that he stayed by the Cross and is therefore not tainted by any denial of Jesus and the other is that at the empty tomb he was the first to believe.

You might think that writing your own Gospel and making extravagant claims for yourself is not very seemly for an Apostle and you’d probably be right.

But maybe there is something else going on here. What I believe this to be is that John is trying to convince his readers. He is stating that he was there, he saw the empty tomb and, more than this, when he saw it he believed. He presents himself to his readers as a credible witness, someone utterly believable.

He is telling us that at the moment when he was faced with the empty tomb he immediately drew the conclusion that Jesus had risen from the dead and that he believed this instantly and absolutely.

And he is implying that Peter, for all his authority, is not actually as reliable a witness for, after all, he denied Christ three times. John on the other hand was there at the foot of the Cross and into his hands at the very last moment it was to him that Jesus entrusted the care of his mother.

What more honest, believable and trustworthy kind of a chap could you have than this? For all his youth at the time, there he was in the right place doing the right things, remaining faithful and steady and believing.

Here we have a witness that we can have faith in. Here is a Gospel that is true. Here are simple words that we can resonate with, ‘he saw and he believed.’

And if he, this trustworthy John, can see and believe, then even if we ourselves haven’t actually seen then maybe we can still believe. Maybe we can take all this on board and make an act of faith in the Risen Christ.

That’s what John wants from his readers. And that’s the invitation that’s open to us today, on this Easter morning; to believe, to profess our faith in Christ and in his resurrection.

And if we can believe this then we can believe all that flows from it. We can believe in the teaching of the Apostles, we can believe in the efficacy of the sacraments, we can believe in the Church and above all we can believe in eternal life.

These things are the very essence of Christianity; these things are what our faith is all about. And by believing what John is telling us we become true members of Christ’s Mystical Body, his faithful servants in the world of today.





Holy Week Schedule 2014




Holy Saturday: Saturday, April 19

Liturgy of the Hours: 8:00 AM

Vigil of Easter Sunday: 8:00 PM

Easter Sunday: Sunday, April 20

Masses at 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM




Middletown Deanery Lenten Schedule

Confessions:Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7:00
to 7:45 AM, Wednesday from 5:30 – 6:00 PM (with the exception
of April 2nd), and Saturday from 3:00 – 3:45 PM.

Stations of the Cross: Every Friday in Lent at 7:00 PM.
Confessions are available after Stations.

CONFESSION SCHEDULE: Fr. Mike will be available to hear confessions at the following times:
                            Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday: 7:00 – 7:45 AM
                            Wednesday: 5:30 – 6:00 PM
                            Friday: After Stations of the Cross
                            Saturday: 3:00 – 3:45 PM
                            Sunday: 6:00 – 7:00 PM 


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. 


Norwich Diocesan Chrism Mass: Tuesday, April 15 On Tuesday of Holy Week, representatives of parishes from across the Norwich Diocese will attend the annual Chrism Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Norwich. All parishioners are invited to attend this very special Mass, starting at 10:30 AM. After the Mass, the representatives from St. John Church will attend a luncheon at Farrell’s Restaurant in Portland. If you would like to attend the Chrism Mass and luncheon, please call the Parish Office to
RSVP no later than Friday, April 11th.

19th Annual Secretaries Day Mass: The 19th Annual Secretaries Day Mass will be held on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 12:00 PM in the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich. Following Mass a complimentary luncheon will be served. For reservations or more information please call 860-887-9294 ext. 234.
Mercy High School Summer Programs: Now open for registration at Higher Achievement Program (HAP). For girls in grades 7-8, specializing in academic skills, sports, crafts, robotics, arts, and community service. July 7 – July 18, 9 AM – 3 PM. Theatre Arts Program (TAP), a creative and interactive musical theatre experience that will culminate in a trip to the Goodspeed Opera House for a production of “Fiddler On the Roof”. For girls in grades 6-8, July 21-25, 9 AM – 3 PM. Basketball Clinic, for girls in grades 5-9. July 21-25, 9AM – 12 PM.

Healing Service: Sturbridge, March 2, April 6, April 27th. Fr. Ralph DiOrio, Director of the Apostolate of Divine Mercy and Healing, will conduct the services at the Sturbridge Host Hotel, at 12:00 PM. Father Ralph is well known and respected for his worldwide ministry to the sick. His apostolate of prayer, evangelization and healing of the sick will take place during the Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. All are welcome who are in need of healing service. Bus transportation is available in New Haven, Cromwell, and West Hartford areas. Travel cost is $39. For more information call MaryAnn at 203-407-1448.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: SCHOOL/PARISH CENTER: We are calling for Volunteers to help with the clean-up and arrangement of the former St. John School/St. John Parish Center. Volunteers will meet the first and third Saturdays of every month, from 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon. If you are interested in helping, please contact the Parish Office at 860-347-5626 or Simonne Mularski at 860-347-5853.


Religious Education Information

April 14th and 21st: There is NO Religious Education. Classes will resume on Monday, April 28th for Grades 1-5 from 4-5:15 PM. There will be no class for Grades 6-8 due to the Confirmation ceremony.





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Reflection for Easter Sunday: The Resurrection of Jesus




Noel Coypel

The Resurrection of Christ


Oil on Canvas

Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame

Preparing for the Mass April 20, 2014

The month of April is dedicated to The Holy Spirit. The first nineteen days of the month fall during the season of Lent which is represented by the liturgical color purple — a symbol of penance, mortification and the sorrow of a contrite heart. The rest of April falls in the Easter season in which white, the color of light, a symbol of joy, purity, and innocence, is the liturgical color.


The Resurrection of The Lord    

Sunday Bible Reflections from Scott Hahn and the liturgy can be found here and a children's Easter liturgy can be found here.

Easter Sunday

John 20:1-9

Gospel Summary

John's resurrection account is relatively brief and differs significantly from the Synoptic accounts. Mary Magdalene has a prominent role here and the mysterious "other disciple whom Jesus loved" appears again just as he did at the Last Supper. The special attention given to Mary Magdalene suggests that she is a person who embodies the ideal of love that is so evident in the fourth gospel.

Easter Sunday: The Gardens of the Lord

Happy and Holy Easter to you all!  I think that it is absolutely wonderful that so many people, Catholic and non Catholic, have decided to join us in prayer today.  Regardless of the faith tradition we follow, or even if we do not follow any  faith as closely as we should, the Christian cannot miss praying on Easter Sunday. Easter is a profoundly spiritual day.  It is a day of joy, beauty and hope.

The Meaning of Easter

The serpent’s bite was a deadly one.  The venom had worked its way deep into the heart of humanity, doing its gruesome work.  The anti-venom was unavailable till He appeared.  One drop was all that was needed, so potent was this antidote.  Yet it was not like Him to be stingy. The sacrifice of His entire life poured out to the last drop at the foot of the cross – This was the Son’s answer to the Problem of Sin.  

Three days later came the Father’s equally extravagant answer to the Problem of Death.  For Jesus was not simply brought back to life like Lazarus.  That would be resuscitation, the return to normal, mortal life.  Yes, Lazarus ultimately had to go through it all again . . . the dying, the grieving family, the burial.  Jesus did not “come back.”  He passed over, passed through. Death, as St. Paul said, would have no more power over him.


Easter Sunday, Year A—April 20, 2014

Gospel (Read Jn 20:1-9)

On Palm Sunday, the narrative of our Lord’s Passion ended with these words:  “So they [the chief priests and Pharisees] went and secured the tomb by fixing a seal to the stone and setting the guard” (Mt 27:66).  Jesus’ dead Body had been quickly prepared for burial (because the Sabbath sundown approached), and He was laid in the fresh tomb of a rich man.  Then, for His followers, there was silence and utter desolation.  We can only imagine how much “rest” they got on what must have been the longest Sabbath day of their lives.

Today, St. John tells us, “On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark” (Jn 20:1).

Four Immediate Results of the Death of Jesus on the Cross, according to Matthew

Another way to live in the presence of God is to offer ourselves and all our actions to God the Father in union with Jesus crucified. This way of prayer is often called the morning offering. It is more than a prayer; it is really a way of life keeping us in constant touch with God in all our daily thoughts, desires, and actions. Through the morn­ing offering, we walk no longer alone, but in the presence of Christ crucified, whose perfect surrender of His life to His Father we strive to imitate in all our actions.

 The Victory of the Cross

Terrorism is nothing new.  It’s probably as old as the human race.

In fact the cradle of civilization, now Iraq, was the home of the most infamous terrorists of antiquity, the Assyrians.  Their goal was to conquer their neighbors in a way that would minimize  initial resistance and subsequent rebellion.  To do this, they knew fear would be their greatest weapon.  Simple threat of death for those who resisted was not enough because many would prefer death to slavery.

Divine Mercy, a Great Mystery of our Faith

Divine Mercy is a great mystery of our faith. The very God of the universe, the Lord God Almighty, has deemed to humble Himself for all of mankind in order to save us from our sins so that we might have everlasting life with Him. We will never find our true purpose, the fullness of joy, or the all-abiding peace and love we seek until we realize our need for Him who unconditionally and freely gives His merciful healing love to all who ask.

The Last Thing Christ Did for Us on the Cross

He had asked His Father to forgive those who crucified Him. He had endured the insults and mocking of onlookers. And he had forgiven the thief crucified with Him, promising Him paradise.

Jesus had been hanging on the Cross for two hours.

But His work was not yet finished. What remained?

John 19:26-27 informs us what it was:


Failing and Falling

There is an old saying that it does not matter how often you fall — it matters how often you get up.

I’m reminded of our failing and falling whenever I walk through the Stations of the Cross, for in the pattern of his passion, Jesus falls three times on his way up the hill of sacrifice.

The three falls of Jesus picture his human weakness, but everything in the story can be pressed for deeper meaning; and the three falls connect with three ways we fail and three times we fall within our frail humanity.

Go Kiss a Crucifix!

Pick up a crucifix, said Pope Francis during his General Audience during Holy Week.  Kiss it and recite this simple prayer:

Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you, Lord.

The Holy Father reminded pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square that Jesus’s Resurrection “isn’t the happy ending of a beautiful fairytale, it isn’t the happy ending of a film.”  Rather, he explained, it’s the result of the loving intervention of God, who wanted to give humanity hope and salvation....more

What Does Jesus Mean When He Says He is Coming on the Clouds?

Continuing to look at some of the text from the Passion according to St. Matthew, we come to the trial of Jesus before Caiaphas the high priest.

Having heard false and conflicting testimony from various witnesses, Caiaphas turns to Jesus, and here is where we pick up the text:


It is ironic that the great poet and Epicurean philosopher Lucretius once wrote that "nowhere do I see the halls of Hell." Adrift in his own materialistic thought, Lucretius had come to the conclusion that religion, as it was in his time and is still counted by some as today, was merely a mechanism of control. In some cases, this is true. However, the real mechanism of control in our lives is sin.  Lucretius could not see the halls of Hell encircling him as he wrote.


“For Worldly Sorrow Brings Death.” A Meditation on the Sad End of Judas and What Might Have Been

As we continue to ponder some of the texts of the Matthean Passion Narrative, we turn to the difficult case of Judas. To many modern readers, Judas is something of a sympathetic character. Some of this is due to our (rather flawed) moral reasoning, reasoning that places exaggerated emphasis on subjective issues (such as intentions, feelings, etc.) and almost no emphasis on the objective morality of the act itself.

First-Century Jews and the Paschal Sacrifice: why “Lamb of God” should mean far more to us

For those of us who lack multiple degrees in theology, ancient history, and sacred scripture, diving into exegesis isn’t much different than Aristotle recognizing a Nike “swoop” or President George Washington thinking the Apple Computer logo is just a cute drawing of the favorite fruit of the original owner of his teeth. While idioms and hidden meanings abound in any culture, it’s difficult — or nearly impossible — to extract all of the meaning that is present.

My God, My God. Why Hast Thou Left The Gun And Taken The Cannoli?

Were I to say to any man between the age of 18 to 60, “Leave the gun, take the cannoli,” I would venture to say that 99% of men of a certain age would know exactly what I was talking about.  It is a cultural reference point.

 Of course, I am quoting “The Godfather.” Many a dude has memorized almost every line of that movie. It is our mutual cultural reference point. If I say to someone with this cultural reference  “You gotta go to the mattresses,” they would automatically understand that I am encouraging them to fight with everything they have and to bring that fight to the enemy.

A Non-Historical Question about Jesus of Nazareth

Peter Kreeft recently presented an essay on the theme that, in his claim to be God, the historical Jesus of Nazareth could not have been wrong and still been a good man. If not God, he would have had to have been a liar, a lunatic, a guru believing in some form of universal divinity, or a non-historical person, a legend.


Is it enough to be a “Good Person”?

In my experience, some people just don’t want to talk about the big questions – Does God exist? Is Jesus Lord and Savior? What must I do to be saved? – and their dismissal of these kinds of questions almost always appeals to the notion of “good person.” It usually goes something like this:

“If God exists, then all He cares about is whether you’re a good person. Because at the end of the day, all that really matters is being a good person. And I’m a good person, so I don’t really need to worry about anything else.”

The Flip Side of ‘Heaven is for Real’

I’m not one of those twelve million readers who bought the book “Heaven is For Real” and torpedoed it to the New York Times’ Bestseller List. But I did check it out from the library and enjoyed both the story and the accounts of heaven.  “Heaven is for real” is, in fact, only one among the many testimonies of  near death experiences I’ve heard about from both Christians and non-Christians.   With some suspect exceptions, most of the descriptions of heaven are fascinating and inspire me to work hard to aim for the ultimate prize.  But that’s just the good news.


A Prescription for Life Given By Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

In past years on the blog, I have generally published the schedule of the Lord’s final week according to the Scriptures (on the Monday of Holy Week). Since I have done this in years past, I presume most of you have seen it by now. If you haven’t, you can read it here: A Chronology of Jesus’ Holy Week.

For this year, I thought I might look at some of the moments in the Passion Narrative (this year from St. Matthew) and highlight them.

How Fasting and Prayer Blessed Me this Lent

Lent, what a season! For some it brings dread, for others it is a time to strengthen their walk with God, and still others it is a missed opportunity for renewal altogether. For me, this Lent has been a wonderful and intense time of great growth in my relationship with God. I have learned many things, some I am still trying to find words for. One thing very obvious to me is that my faith and trust in God has greatly increased. This was not so this past December, when not only was I continuing to endure an extremely painful situation in my personal life, but it was also the time when my mother died.


An Open Letter to Evangelicals: “We Need You”

To my evangelical friends,

I admire you. I really do. And you might be surprised that many other Catholics admire you, too.

We admire your knowledge of Scripture and your Bible studies. We admire your zeal for evangelism and missions. We admire your willingness to publicly stand for your faith even when it means you’ll be made fun of or humiliated.

But most of all, we admire your deep love of Jesus. What can possibly matter more?


Coming Home at Easter — It’s Not Just for Catholics

When Lydia Clark, the 22-year-old daughter of a Presbyterian minister, was confirmed during the Easter vigil at Sts. Rose and Clement Church in Warwick, R.I., last year, she was only one of many non-Catholics who have “come home” at least in part because of contact with the Catholics Come Home organization.

Indeed, although the name Catholics Come Home might sound as if the organization focuses solely on former Catholics, that — as Clark’s story indicates — is not the case.


Diversity and Dishonesty

EARLIER this year, a column by a Harvard undergraduate named Sandra Y. L. Korn briefly achieved escape velocity from the Ivy League bubble, thanks to its daring view of how universities should approach academic freedom.

Korn proposed that such freedom was dated and destructive, and that a doctrine of “academic justice” should prevail instead. No more, she wrote, should Harvard permit its faculty to engage in “research promoting or justifying oppression” or produce work tainted by “racism, sexism, and heterosexism.” Instead, academic culture should conform to left-wing ideas of the good, beautiful and true, and decline as a matter of principle “to put up with research that counters our goals.”

Popes Clearly Say Who Can and Can’t Receive Communion

Reading the comments to John’s excellent post about Bishop Paprocki, I sense a kind of amnesia. So, for the record: There is already lots of clarity about communion and pro-abortion politicians.

And, lest we let ourselves off the hook while  scorning those awful no-good pro-aborts, there is also lot of clarity about how maybe many of us  shouldn’t be receiving communion, either.

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

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