New Roman Missal Coming Nov. 27

WeeklyMessageFifth Sunday of Easter
SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com

Fr. Michael Phillippino

COMING SOON TO A PARISH NEAR YOU – or actually, to this parish and all parishes throughout the world – on November 27, 2011, the First Sunday of Advent to be exact, will be changes in the Mass, the prayers of the priest, and in the responses of the people. At first, I was rather fearful of these upcoming changes, but when I went to an all-day workshop in Boston concerning these changes, by the end of the day, I was actually getting excited.

The reason for my enthusiasm are that, although the language of the prayers will seem awkward to us at first, it will slow me down to be more prayerful during the Mass. The prayers will also reflect more clearly what we believe as a Church, will have more substance to them and will have more references to the Bible in them. For example, the proposed opening prayer for the first Sunday of Advent will be the following: “Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that your faithful may resolve to run forth with righteous deeds to meet your Christ who is coming, so that, gathered at his right hand they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.”

I highlighted certain words in the prayer to bring out their biblical references a bit more. “Run”, for example, is a reference to Paul’s second letter to Timothy, “I have run the race” (2 Tim 4:6-7) pointing to the self discipline and perseverance we need to exercise in living our faith. Another reference is to Hebrews 12:1-2: “Let us persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes on Jesus, the leader and perfector of faith.” More biblical references can be seen in the words “righteous deeds” and “gathered at his right hand.” They call to mind Matthew 25:32-35 where Christ will say to those on his right at the time of judgment “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the beginning, for you fed me when I was hungry and clothes me when I was naked…” They inherit the kingdom because of the righteous deeds such as the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, caring for the poor, the needy, the vulnerable in our midst.

So right off in the beginning of the liturgical year the first prayer challenges us to live what we believe and pray, to pay the price of being a disciple of Christ as we await his coming. Compare that with the prayer for the first Sunday of Advent we have used in the past “All powerful God, increase our strength of will for doing good, that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming and call us to his side in the kingdom of heaven…” It is a nice prayer, but to me it does not seem to have the substance our prayers for the Mass should have. So I am excited about the changes. It will be awkward at first, but Deacon John Hancock and I will be writing several articles, placing bulletin inserts, and offering some mini-workshops in the coming months to help you better understand the why’s and types of changes that will be asked of us in a few months from now.

Finally, it is also my hope, and another reason for my excitement, that these changes will offer us an opportunity for all of us to come to understand and appreciate more deeply the awesome mystery and gift of God that we have in the Mass.

Father Michael Phillippino
SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com

A Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
May 22, 2011

I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life
I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life — What does Jesus Christ mean when he says this John 14:1-12? Are there not many paths to God, many truths?

“As long as you believe in God and try to be a good person, your religion doesn’t matter.” “There are different paths up the same mountain, but they all lead to the peak.”

How many times have you heard people speak this way? This is the prevailing wisdom. It’s politically correct. Tolerant. Reasonable.
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The Truth
Bottom line: Jesus invites us to let go and trust in him. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through him.
As a lead-in to today’s Gospel, I would like to begin with a humorous story: It’s about a man who falls off a cliff. On the way down he manages to grab a tree limb. With both hands grasping the limb, he looks down into a deep canyon. He cries out, “Help, please. Is anyone up there?”
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How Jesus is the Way, and how he is the Truth and the Life
On the Gospel for the 5th Sunday of Easter
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Our Savior tells St. Thomas the Apostle, I am the way, and the truth, and the life (John 14:6), but we might ponder in what sense the Lord is each of these three. Is Christ the Way in the same sense that he is the Truth and the Life? What is it about the Lord that makes him to be the Way, and what makes him to be the Truth and the Life?
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The Three Mary’s at the Empty Tomb (Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer)
Sacred Scripture states that there were “three Mary’s” who visited the empty tomb on Easter morning.

Mark 16:1 Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and {Mary} Salome went to the tomb to anoint Jesus.

In the Eastern Church, these three Mary’s are called the Holy Myrrhbearers.
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Divine Mercy and Avoiding hell
Father “Mitch” explained how one can avoid hell. One way is through consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. St. Louis de Montfort’s total consecration would be highly recommended.

Other ways are through:
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Is the Rapture this weekend?
Will Catholics be “Left Behind”? This week we are going to talk about the rapture and what the Bible says about it.

Let’s start by discussing what the Rapture is and what, we, as Catholics, are to make of it.
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The Catholic Church and Private Revelation
A friend tells me it is Saturday already in Japan, and no one is reporting the rapture. Of course there is still some time to go before Saturday, May 21, 2011 comes and goes completely, but I’m planning a homily for Sunday morning…

I’m so grateful for the authority of the Catholic Church–which provides a check and balance against private revelation. If a Catholic priest starts spouting about dates for the end of the world, or some peasant girl reports seeing the Blessed Virgin Mary, or a baker sees the face of Mother Teresa in a bagel the Catholic response is really very pleasing.
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Powerful Conversion Story on Death Row
Mississippi 1944 :

Claude Newman was a black man who worked the fields for a landowner. He had married when he was 17 years old to a woman of the same age. One day, two years later, he was out plowing the fields. Another worker ran to tell Claude that his wife was screaming from the house. Immediately Claude ran into his house and found a man attacking his wife. Claude saw red, grabbed an axe and split the man’s head open. When they rolled the man over, they discovered that it was the favorite employee of the landowner for whom Claude worked. Claude was arrested. He was later sentenced for murder and condemned to die in the electric chair.
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A Visit to Heaven
My brother is a Roman Catholic seminarian, and I visited him at Mount Saint Marys Seminary the last couple days to see him installed in his second-to-last office (acolyte) before hopefully being ordained a priest (in about two years). I’ve been hoping to visit John for a long time, and finally got the opportunity.
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What the Church has given the world
Without the Roman Catholic Church, there would be no western civilization.

Introduction

At a recent debate, broadcast worldwide by the BBC, over 87 per cent of the audience rejected the notion that the Catholic Church is a force for good in the world. Although the defenders of the Church were confronted by two masters of rhetoric, there is little doubt that the vote reflected a shift in attitudes towards Christianity in general and the Catholic 
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Why Catholics Are Right
When I first told friends and colleagues about my new book Why Catholics Are Right, they were intrigued by the proposed content but disturbed by the title: “Sounds a little proud”; “Is that sufficiently conciliatory for these progressive and pluralistic days?”; and “You ought to be careful because it might offend people.”
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Another Remedy for Doubt
The Christian faith is rife with difficulties. Save your life to lose it? Be born again? The Father is greater than I, but I and the Father are one? This bread is my flesh? “What on earth is he talking about?” said everybody from Nicodemus to the mob in Jerusalem to the crowd at Capernaum.

Indeed, the crowd at Capernaum didn’t even stay for an answer (John 6). They stalked off, leaving only a few disciples behind. The faith has more or less continued to make people’s brains hurt ever since.
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A Happy Little Reflection on Hell
The fear of death is universal and quite natural. In fact, Chesterton calls the fear of death common sense, “a coarse and pitiless common sense.”

We all know we are going to die, and we all hate the fact that we are going to die. Because death is something rotten. It is the “failure of the flesh.” In fact, Chesterton used the fear of death to make people better appreciate life. That is why when someone said that life was not worth living, Chesterton took out a gun and offered to shoot the person. Suddenly, for some reason, when you’re staring down the barrel of a gun, life is worth living! Life is good. Life is precious.
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Facebook pages on Christianity outrank pop stars in user activity
Religious pages on Facebook attract significant engagement and pages about Jesus and the Bible recently beat out pop stars like Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga in attracting user activity.

The “Jesus Daily” page led user activity rankings, with nearly 2.3 million interactions in the week of May 9 to May 15, the social media analysis site AllFacebook.com reported. The page broadcasts daily devotional material, including the words of Jesus from the Bible.

Over 900,000 interactions took place on the page for “The Bible,” which was second-highest in the rankings. It too shares daily Bible quotations.
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Peel Back the Facade of Compassion, All Human Life is Sacred!
All human life is sacred. Whether that life is developing in his mother’s belly or whether that life is suffering from a debilitating disease, all life should be valued, respected and protected. Today’s guest commentary examines euthanasia and abortion and explains why these violent acts must be stopped.

It amazes me that in the 21st century people still pose the ridiculous question: “When do you think life begins?” Quite frankly, it does not matter when you or I think life begins: Biology established long ago-before abortion on demand became legal in Canada-that human life begins at conception [the biological beginning].
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Lord of the Rings and Christian Education: Developing the Human Person
For classical educators, developing the human person is the primary goal, and the cultural treasures of the past are the principal means to that goal. Making the thoughts, words, stories and beauty of Christian civilization a living part of students gives them standards and ideals that direct their maturation into adults who help shape their world.
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Popular Pilgrimage Destinations for Catholics in the United States
It’s easy to turn the idea of a pilgrimage into something larger than life. We imagine Lourdes, the Holy Land, Rome, Assisi, and file our pilgrimage plans away on some sort of spiritual bucket list, thinking we have to wait until we’ve saved enough money or vacation time to make it happen.

But the truth is that pilgrimage doesn’t require a passport, or even a long-distance drive. There are plenty of opportunities to become pilgrims without leaving the confines of our own diocese, state or country. In fact, true pilgrimage doesn’t require any travel at all; it is as much an interior journey as a geographical one. If we approach our entire lives with a pilgrim mindset, we can find places that feed our hearts and spirits at just about every turn — from the little shrine in the next town to the cathedral in our diocese to that historic church near our favorite vacation spot.
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