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: Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Posted for October 30, 2016
Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
We have for our Gospel reading today the story of Zacchaeus the tax collector who was so short that he had to climb up a tree to get a better view of Jesus as he was passing by. Everyone including Zacchaeus himself is completely surprised when Jesus announces that he intends to stay at Zacchaeus’ house that day.
They were all astonished because Zacchaeus was a tax collector and was therefore someone who was widely despised. At that time Jericho, where he lived, was a very prosperous town which was at the centre of the trade in balsam. As a senior tax collector resident in Jericho Zacchaeus would undoubtedly have been a very wealthy man.
Tax collectors in those days were employed by the Roman occupiers under a kind of franchise system where they got a percentage of whatever taxes they could collect. This would mean that the better Zacchaeus was at his job then the wealthier he would be. This was also a reason why tax collectors were invariably disliked since it was in their interests to screw as much tax out of everyone that they could.
As far as the Jews were concerned, all tax collectors were public sinners because they were raising money for the Roman occupiers and as such they were utterly disliked and disapproved of by everyone.
This explains why the people were outraged and accused Jesus of going to eat at the house of a sinner. Talking to a tax collector might be unavoidable but going to eat with one meant treating them as a close friend and signalled that you approved of their behaviour.
At the beginning of the story it says that Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus. Now there are all kinds of trees and some of them are much easier to climb than others. Ask any small boy and he will tell you that the sycamore tree is definitely one of the most difficult to climb since it has very few branches and those that it does have tend to be far above the ground as well as being rather smooth and not very easy to grip on.
Somehow this small man gets up the tree because he wants to see Jesus. His effort was surely a measure of the greatness of his desire to see Jesus who looks into his heart and recognises that Zacchaeus is at a turning point in his life. By expressing the wish to eat with Zacchaeus Jesus tips the balance and as a direct result Zacchaeus spontaneously repents of his sins and offers to make quadruple restitution to those he has wronged.
We don’t get the reaction of the crowd to this extraordinary statement of Zacchaeus but they must have been nonplussed since they would have regarded him as a confirmed sinner and would most likely treat his conversion with a high degree of scepticism.
There is no more recorded in the Gospels about Zacchaeus and this surely indicates that his conversion was indeed a sincere one. There are later Christian traditions which say that he took the name Matthias and was the one chosen as an Apostle to replace Judas Iscariot. Another tradition says that he became the first Bishop of Caesarea.
Whatever the truth of these stories it seems extremely likely that Zacchaeus did indeed make a sincere conversion and fulfilled his promises to make restitution to anyone he had swindled.
The point is that it is a wonderful story of repentance. It shows once again how Jesus could look into a person’s heart and draw out the very best in them. It shows also that often the desire for repentance is something that is present in most people but that it often needs the right sort of intervention to bring it to the surface.
One of the remarkable things about this account in the Gospels is the extraordinary statement by Zacchaeus, ‘If I have cheated anybody I will pay him back four times the amount.’ Repaying those one has defrauded is one thing, but to repay four times the amount is something exceptional.
One of the jobs a priest has in the confessional is to deal with this specific question, that of restitution. Often people come and confess sins of theft or fraud and think that once the sin is forgiven then all has been put right. But this is not the case.
When we steal from someone we are obliged to confess the sin but we are equally obliged to make restitution to them. Having someone else’s money rattling around in our pocket would not be a true sign of contrition. We are morally obliged to restore the losses that have been suffered by our victim. Anything less than this would indicate a lack of true repentance.
Of course there are some circumstances where we could be exempt from this requirement especially if it meant incriminating ourselves or causing an over-reaction or indeed if we were simply unable to pay up. In these cases the priest might recommend that a similar amount of money could be given to some worthy cause so that we did not personally gain by our sin and at least some benefit could result. Or it could be decided that the loss would be repaid over a long period of time.
This is one of the reasons why we need to confess our sins to a priest since he is uniquely qualified to advise us on the right course of action depending on the circumstances.
There are many things to consider. One of them is whether the loss would disadvantage our victim considerably or not. There is a difference, for example, between stealing from a very poor person and defrauding a similar sum in taxes. The difference lies in the fact that the poor person would be disproportionally disadvantaged by the theft. Any loss that they incurred would cause them a greater degree of suffering than that to the more nebulous government income tax department.
This does not mean that failing to pay taxes is a trivial matter. Both are serious but the suffering caused is greater in the case of a poor person whom we have defrauded.
Any penitent has the duty to make restitution for unfair gains they have made as a result of sin. This is something often neglected or unforeseen by those who come to confess their sins but it is an important aspect of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In the sacrament the priest has several roles; he is to listen, he is to mediate mercy and he is to forgive sins, these are obvious.
Less obvious is that he has sometimes to act as a judge and the determination of how restitution is to be made and in what amount is certainly an important aspect of this role.
Zacchaeus offers to pay four times the amount. He could probably have afforded it and he wants to demonstrate to Jesus the depth of his conversion. What we are required to do is simply where possible to restore to other people what we have unjustly removed from them. This is justice; this is our Christian duty; this is the basic requirement which demonstrates our true desire for repentance.
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
Closing Celebration of the Extraordinary Jubilee Bishop Cote will celebrate the Closing of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy on Sunday, November 13, 2016, 10:25am, Cathedral of Saint Patrick, Norwich. Participants are asked to bring an item of food or personal hygiene items for the needy in the area. These donated items will be presented prior to this Mass. For info. Call Ms. Becky Cady at 860-887-9294 x235
Extra Confession Times: In honor of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Fr. Mike will be hearing confessions at extra times. Confessions will be heard at their usual Saturday 3:00 – 3:45 time slot, but Fr. Mike will also be available on Saturday mornings from 6:45 – 7:45 AM.
Altar Servers Save the Date! Training day for new altar servers on Saturday November 5th at 9:30am in the chapel.
Twenty-Fifth Annual Red, White and Blue Mass Sunday, November 6, 2016 10:15am Mass will be celebrated at Saint Patrick Cathedral, Norwich for all military personnel, those who are active, in the reserves and Veterans. This is to honor our service men and women as we recognize the many sacrifices made by the families and loved ones of our military. The theme for 2016 Red, White and Blue Mass is Connecticut’s Submarine Century.
Bishop Michael Cote has designated St. John Church as a place of pilgrimage for the Diocese of Norwich during the Holy Year of Mercy.
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION CLASSES
Oct. 23- 1st & 2nd year Confirmation students meet to attend mandatory program at Apostles of the Sacred Heart Center, Higganum, 1pm-5pm. Oct 24-Classes in community center for grades 1-5, 4:00pm5:15pm and grades 6&7 6:30pm-8:00pm
~ 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
the Good Shepherd, Jericho, Palestine
Preparing for the Mass October 30, 2016
The month of October is dedicated to the Holy Rosary. The Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated on October 7. October falls during the liturgical season known as Ordinary Time, which is represented by the liturgical color green.
31st 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.
31st Sunday: Lost in a Crowd; Found in Christ
|Have you ever felt lost? I don’t mean lost on a car trip, or lost on a hike, but lost in life. Maybe there are a lot of people around you, but you still feel lost. A Mom can have a big family, but feel lost. Her day may be filled with the chatter of children. She loves them, but she sees herself as defined as the car driver, the diaper changer, the feeder, the cleaner. She still feels lost. “Who am I?” she might be asking. A high school or college freshman might also feel very much lost in a very large crowd. He might go from class to class, assembly to assembly and get to where he is supposed to be, but he still feels lost. “I’m just a number to the administration of the school. I’m in the middle of a huge number of kids, but I am hardly noticed.”|
Sunday in Ordinary Time—October 30, 2016
In Jericho, a man climbs a tree seeking Jesus, but who is seeking whom?
Gospel (Read Lk 19:1-10)
St. Luke tells us that as Jesus was passing through Jericho, He encountered a man, Zaccheus, who was a “chief tax collector and also a wealthy man.” We know that religious Jews despised tax collectors for their traitorous work on behalf of the Roman government. Tax collectors often got rich through extortion, piling up dishonest gain for themselves. No wonder no one was willing to make way for Zaccheus as he eagerly sought “to see who Jesus was.” What did he know about the Lord to make him so determined not to miss a chance to see Him? At the very least, he must have heard that Jesus was a remarkable miracle-worker and maybe even more than that. Recall that when Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of Man is?” (see Mt 16:13), there were all sorts of answers—Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. Zaccheus wanted to see for himself the One who created all this buzz....more
Description of Our Times from the
Book of Wisdom
|As part of our recent examinations of the current culture, today’s post considers the culture of death that we have increasingly become. We use as our interpretive key a text from the Book of Wisdom that prophetically interprets the overall times in which we are living. Over the thirty years that I have been reading this text in the Breviary, I have found that the pieces of its prophecy are continually falling into place. In my earlier years, I though the threats of persecution were overstated for the times; that is changing now and slowly I am seeing each element become more clear.|
is the Alpha and the Omega?
In Revelation 22:13 we are given one of the most memorable titles of Christ:
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
This notion that Christ encompasses all things is a familiar one to us. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that ‘all things’ have been made new in Christ. Colossians 1:17 says that Christ holds all things together. And Ephesians 1:10 declares that all things will be ‘summed up’ or ‘recapitulated’ in Christ. What we seem to have in Revelation 22:13 is the same idea applied to history itself. (The titles are also introduced at the beginning of the book, though not in one verse as here.)
In fact, much, much more is happening in this verse, as a closer look at the original Greek text and its biblical history reveals....more
Best-Selling Book of All Time
Sure, the best-selling book of all-time is, of course, the Bible.
It is also the most widely (and given some of the liberties taken, wildly) translated book of all time, too.
But who takes the silver medal in terms of sales? And also in terms of translations?
Not the Quran. Not Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book. Not Euclid’s Geometry. Not L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics.
Second-place goes to another Catholic classic, The Imitation of Christ by Thomas á Kempis.
Great Saints Revealed About the End Times
|Heaven does not leave us without hope and help in the latter times. Scriptures, saints, and and heavenly apparitions give clear direction.|
Last time we saw a small bit of the ominous warning about the arrival of the Antichrist and end of times. The Catechism tells us the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, must go through the passion as Our Lord did.
We saw how in 1976 in America while still Cardinal Wojtyla, St. John Paul II warned: “It is, therefore, in God's Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously..."
In the midst of this, St. Pius X observed in his encyclical E Supremi that “the victory will ever be with God…Of this we are assured in the holy books by God Himself...”...more
Angels and the War for Our Souls
|Every week in Mass we pray the Nicene Creed and say the words, “I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.” This is a profession of our belief that God has created all things from nothing, both the material things we experience in our daily lives and the immense spiritual world beyond our senses. God has revealed through Scripture the existence of these invisible creatures we call “angels,” and the Church has always honored those spiritual beings who remained faithful to God, celebrating the Feast of the Archangels (September 29) and the Feast of the Guardian Angels (October 2). These recent feast days invited me to reflect on the transcendent reality of these angelic beings.|
of St. Padre Pio’s Final Mystical Vision on His Deathbed
St. Padre Pio was one of the greatest saints of the 20th century. A devoted priest, miracle-worker, and demon-fighter, he touched so many people that 100k attended his funeral.
But did you know he had a mystical vision in the final moments before his death?
After barely making it through Mass on September 22nd, 1968, the 81-year-old saint almost collapsed leaving the church. A group of his Franciscan brothers helped him and laid him in his bed.
Who We Are and the Story We Belong To
Editor’s Note: Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput gave the following address Oct. 19 at the 2016 Bishops’ Symposium at the University of Notre Dame. It is reprinted with permission from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It has been slightly edited to conform with Register style, including added links.
Much of what I say today you probably already know. But that doesn’t prevent a good discussion, so I hope you’ll bear with me.
As I sat down to write my talk last week, a friend emailed me a copy of a manuscript illustration from the 13th century. It’s a picture of Mary punching the devil in the nose. She doesn’t rebuke him. She doesn’t enter into a dialogue with him. She punches the devil in the nose. So I think that’s the perfect place to start our discussion.
parish priest is a soldier in the war against sin, death and the devil
|The “Renaissance man,” epitomized by Leonardo da Vinci (who was a painter, scientist, engineer, and mathematician), refers to someone who does many difficult things well. The Hollywood version is called a “Triple Threat,” an entertainer who can sing, dance and act—and commands the corresponding fame and fortune.|
But what clever phrase exists to describe the diverse talents and traits which, when found in one person, are that humble servant of God: the parish priest?
How Can I
Free Myself from Guilt?
His name was Tom. He was traveling on business and was staying at a motel in Arizona one night when he turned on the television and happened across our live show. He had never phoned in to a “call-in” show before. And for the first minute or so of his call, we thought he had just telephoned to say hi. He talked a little baseball and spoke about a few other odds and ends until finally the cameraman started encouraging me to help him get to the point.
Now I’ve been accused of many things, but patience is not one of them. Ordinarily, I would have been pretty blunt, but the Lord was telling me to go easy on this young man, so I did. “Tom, would you like to ask us a question tonight?” I asked, as gently as I could....more
‘If Only We
Knew’ - Through a crippling disease at a young age, a young woman discovers
God's incredible plan for her life
More than a year ago, I found myself lying on the hardwood floor of my tiny studio apartment in Chicago. I had collapsed in fear and exhaustion.
In my daily life, I was a good Catholic girl, working in the inner city to provide a home and spiritual guidance for homeless single mothers and their children. But my polished exterior and public displays of good work blanketed the reality that I was fragmented, empty, thirsting for God — and seriously ill. After I hit the floor, I said: “God, tell me everything is going to be OK.”...more
about the Devil isn’t lunacy – it’s the purest realism
In its understated way, Fr Amorth's final book reminds us that Satanism is no joke.
How do you write about the Devil without sounding like a lunatic? The answer is to be straightforward about one’s faith and the great truths that flow from it. It so happens that two articles in the Catholic Herald of September 30 did just this. In Omnium Gatherum, Fr John Zuhlsdorf says straight out, “The Devil and fallen angels are real, personal beings. There’s nothing cute about them. And they hate God, themselves and you.”
In the same edition Pastor Iuventus, whose regular columns always inspire reflection, refers to Fr Gabriele Amorth, the late famous Roman exorcist, pointing out to readers that he “did the Church and the world a great service in reminding them that evil is real and it is personal. It is not merely some kind of projection of my own “dark side”… When one experiences the reality of such presences stripped of the glamour with which popular culture surrounds it, it is horrible and frightening.”...more
Explains How to Protect Yourself Against Demonic Harassment
|“People think they have to do something extraordinary, but it is actually the very ordinary things that build up graces and offer protection. If a Catholic is praying, going to Mass, and receiving the sacraments, then the devil is already on the run.”|
The battle rages on against “the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12). The devil’s main activity is tempting us to sin but that rarely rankles us. It’s when things go bump in the night that people are shaken up.
If the devil is making his presence felt, an exorcist is often called in. Cases of suspected possession first go through the bishop for a referral and an investigation, but they are rare. Demonic harassment, however, happens more frequently....more
Top 10 Tips
for Marrying the Right Person
One of the first sermons I heard at the Catholic parish where I would eventually be received into the Church was on the subject of marriage. The priest spoke about the relationship between a husband and wife as being indissoluble. Like siblings or parents and children, he told us, spouses formed a different, but equally permanent, bond with each other. It was as though a light bulb went on for me. “Of course,” I thought. “That makes perfect sense!” It was, simply put, the Catholic definition of marriage.
So while I firmly believe that commitment is the most critical ingredient for a marriage as it’s meant to be, choosing the right partner is pretty important, too.
Why Many Men
Think Church Is for Women
It was conventional wisdom, in the Middle Ages, that women were more pious than men and that women went to Confession and took Communion during great church feasts "while few men do," as a Dominican priest observed.
Austrian theologian Johann B. Hafen saw this trend in 1843: "During the year who surrounds most frequently and willingly the confessional? The wives and maidens! Who kneels most devoutly before our altars? Again, the female sex!"
Early YMCA leaders found that one out of 20 young men claimed church membership and that 75 percent of men "never attend church" at all. A Church News study in 1902 found that, in Manhattan, the ratio of Catholic women to men was 3 to 1.
What about today? To see what is happening in Catholic sanctuaries worshippers just have look around....more
of the Cross
|All of us are fully aware of the suffering in our lives—suffering, as a consequence of Adam and Eve’s fall, affects everyone, to various degrees and in different ways. While we know this to be true, we often find it hard t to explain why certain kinds of tragedies happen at all. Why do young people lose their lives? Why do babies die in their mothers’ wombs? Why do our friends and family have to leave this life when we least expect it? These questions will always remain a mystery, until we experience the Beatific Vision in Heaven and can see God’s magnificent plan for the world. For now, these questions remain constant for us, and resurface every time another tragedy occurs. Nevertheless, when we experience a tragedy or know someone else who does, this is not a cause for despair. Rather, these tragedies are filled with hope for the love promised to us by God, in which we are privileged to participate in here on earth but also, more importantly, in Heaven.|
Rosary Every Day
The Rosary, a quintessentially Catholic prayer, appeals to many of the faithful. Its simple repetition of words instills in the individual a certain clarity of mind and soul that is not easily replicable. It was praying the Rosary which led Christian troops to victory over the Moslem Turks at Lepanto on October 7, 1571 thus saving Christendom from utter destruction. In thankfulness, Pope St. Pius V established the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary in 1573. Pope Clement XI extended the feast to the universal Church in 1716.
Pope Benedict pointed out that ''the Rosary is a spiritual weapon in the struggle against evil, against all violence, for peace in hearts, in families, in society and in the world.''