Pastoral Sharings



Fr. Michael Phillippino
24th Sunday In Ordinary Time
September 16, 2012

Dear Parishioners,

In the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, the Lord says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…” Each of us, including those not yet born, have an eternal destiny and a dignity that derives from God’s choice for us and from the sacrifice of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, for our sakes. It does not come from any accomplishments or lack of accomplishments, it does not come from our status or role in society or from any wealth or lack of wealth on our part. It comes from the fact that, as the Psalter says,

“You formed my utmost being, you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you so wonderfully you made me. Wonderful are your works.” (Ps. 139: 13-14) The Book of Deuteronomy also reminds us: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day,
that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse, therefore choose life, that you and your descendents may live!” (Dt 30:19)

This being said, I would like to write and strongly encourage you to join our 40 Days for Life campaign, which begins September 26ths and continues until November 4th, 2012. This is our sixth consecutive year of running this round-the-clock prayer vigil. The campaign will begin with a Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Norwich on Tuesday evening, September 25th, at 7:00 PM. The main celebrant and homilist will be the Most Reverend Bishop Michael Cote. The Mass is to prepare for and to pray for 40 days and 40 nights of prayer, fasting, and a peaceful vigil in front of Planned Parenthood, 12 Case Street, Norwich, CT.
There are two ways to get involved – as an individual and as a parish community. The first way for us to be involved as a parish is to adopt a day and pledge ourselves to pray in front of Planned Parenthood. Our day is Wednesday, October 10th. We can also get involved individually by pledging to pray for an hour by logging on to 40 Days for Life is a peaceful, highly-focused, non-denominational, pro-life initiative that focuses on 40 days of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil at abortion facilities, and grassroots educational outreach. Also, if you are able to help with start-up costs, please visit to donate to our local campaign.

Thank you for your prayers and support for life.

Fr. Mike.

Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
September 16, 2012

Twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel Summary

Today’s gospel passage gives us an account of the most critical turning-point in the public ministry of Jesus. The stage is set by the seemingly innocent questions of Jesus about his identity. Peter speaks for all the disciples when he declares confidently, “You are the Messiah.” In view of the miracles of Jesus in Galilee that would seem to be an obvious conclusion.

24th Sunday: The Courage to be Catholic
These are tough readings this Sunday. They begin with the third of four passages from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah usually called the Servant Songs. These songs may have originally referred to a particular prophet or to the people exiled to Babylon. The Church sees them as pointing directly to Christ. We use all four passages during Holy Week as prophetic declarations of what would become a reality on Good Friday. The first two songs speak about the call of the Servant. In the first the world is introduced to the Servant. He will become the eyes for the blind. He will free the captives from prison and bring light to those in darkness. The Church sees this as a reference to Jesus as the Light of the World.

Amen, Amen – Really?
Pentecostal preachers shout it. Monks chant it. Most Christians end every prayer with it. But what does “Amen” really mean? Is it just a pious way to “log off” our dialogue with God?

Actually, most of us have never heard the origins of this word that we use so glibly. But we need to examine it now, since its significance strikes at the heart of what God is saying to us through this Sunday’s readings.

‘We have no king but Caesar:’ Some thoughts on Catholic faith and public life
A priest I know does a lot of spiritual direction. Two of the men he was helping died suddenly this past year, one of a heart attack and one of a stroke. In both cases they were relatively young men and quite successful. In both cases they watched Fox News. And in both cases they had gotten into the nightly habit of shouting at President Obama whenever he came on the TV. In both cases, the wives believed – and they still believe – that politics killed their husbands.
Now that’s a true story. And it’s a good place to begin our time together today

Do not Despair; Get a Crucifix
If you are anxious and despairing and worried, here is my advice: get a crucifix.

Not a cross, a crucifix. Get a small one you can keep in your pocket; and another you can keep discreetly at your desk; get one for your home.

Keep the crucifix before your eyes, and it will teach you everything. It will train you to the longview.

The Sins of the Pious and How the Devil Can Hijack Holy Practices
Off and on in the past two weeks of readings at Daily Mass, we have seen Jesus confronted by the religiously observant of his time over a number of matters. Why for example do his followers not fast, perform ritual pontifications, etc. Why does Jesus heal on the Sabbath, and keep company with sinners and others who do not meticulously observe all the precepts.

What Every Catholic Must Know About “The Four Last Things”
Catholic teaching identifies the Four Last Things as:

  • Death
  • Judgment
  • Heaven
  • Hell

In the first installment of this series on the Four Last Things, we examined what every Catholic needs to know about death. In this second installment, we will look at the Particular and Universal Judgments, the second of the Four Last Things

The Significance of the Wedding at Cana
John is careful to note that Jesus’ first miracle (at Cana) is done in response to Mary’s intercession ( John 2:1–11). Mary, the icon of the bride and the counterpoint to Jesus the groom, is exactly the importunate supplicant Jesus tells us he is looking for in the Parable of the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:1–8). She doesn’t take “no” for an answer, but first taps Jesus on the shoulder and says, “They have no wine” and, after a seeming rebuff, goes with perfect trust to the servants and tells them, “Do whatever he tells you.”

The Name that Changes Water into Wine
We recently celebrated the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary. The seed of this feast day was planted in sixteenth-century Spain, and was extended to the universal church in 1683 by Pope Innocent XI, in honor of Sobieski’s victory over the Turks in the siege of Vienna.
The Church teaches that, ”This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect.

Mary – The Mystical Spouse of the Holy Spirit and the Wife of Joseph
The question may be asked “How is the word “spouse” used in reference to Mary and the Holy Spirit?
We have all read the nativity accounts of St. Matthew and St. Luke and if you are a Roman Catholic you believe that Sacred Scripture is the foundation on which we build our theology; however, Sacred Tradition and the scholarship and teaching of the Magisterium of the Church are also very important.

A Twelve Point Plan by St. Paul for the Church
The fifth chapter of Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians contains what amounts to a community rule. It is a common feature of Paul’s letters that he begins them with a greeting, followed by a doctrinal section, to include moral issues, and then concludes with some commentary on community life. Let’s take a look at this final section of the letter to the Thessalonians for it is a helpful description of practices and attitudes to be cultivated as we live in the community we call the Church.

On the Top 5
Father Robert Barron and his Word On Fire website, found here, have been meeting the popular culture where it lives, on podcoasts, youtube and the internet in general, for quite some time. He does so in an engaging way, weaving the contemporary with the timeless. Those who haven’t heard of him owe it to themselves to take a look. Here Traditium links to its Top 5 Father Barron videos for those who are open to a different perspective on popular culture and life in general.

Here are our Top 5, in no particular order:

Who Speaks for the Catholic Church?
The 2012 Democratic National Convention featured a slew of self-identified “Catholic” voices — from the vice president of the United States to the daughter of a slain U.S. president, from a “nun on the bus” to Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, who delivered the final blessing at the three-day event.
A half century ago, the lineup of Catholics would have been a source of pride for an immigrant Church. But this year in Charlotte, the diverse, even contradictory positions of these co-religionists seemed designed to sow confusion, leaving the audience to ask: Who speaks for the Church, and does the Church still hold to non-negotiable truths on issues like abortion and marriage?

Why is the Original Sin called the “Sin of Adam,” not the Sin of Adam and Eve?
Original Sin as you (hopefully) know is that first sin committed by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when they ate the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen 3:1-7). It is clearly a sin that involved both of them. And yet, both in Scripture and Tradition when this sin is referred to formally by name it is called the “Sin of Adam” or “Adam’s Sin.” It is also described as coming to us “through one man” not “through Adam and Eve” or “through a man and a woman.” Consider the following quotes from Scripture and then from the Catechism:

Why does God only forgive when we repent?
Q: Dear Father McCloskey, why does God only forgive after we repent and turn back to Him, while we are asked to forgive regardless of whether or not the “offending” person asks for our forgiveness and repents?
A: Dear Sister in Christ, you are not alone in your perplexity: I have wrestled with this question myself.

Pope Benedict on the “Dark Passages” of Scripture
There are certain Bible passages, particularly in the Old Testament, that are disturbing. The question of how these are to be interpreted has been with us for a long time, and apologists and Bible scholars–not to mention Church Fathers and theologians–have made many suggestions.

Recently Pope Benedict provided some guidance. Here’s what he had to say . . .

My Take: The Mother Teresa you don’t know
Fifteen years may be less than an instant in celestial time, but here on earth it’s a lot of news cycles.
Mother Teresa departed this Earth on September 5, 1997. What more can we say about the woman who became synonymous with love for the “poorest of the poor,” picking up a Nobel and tweaking the conscience of millions? What do we know about her now that we didn’t know then?

A lot, it turns out.

Catholic? Where’s the evidence?
“You may say you’re a Catholic but….there’s no proof!”
What makes you Catholic? The clothes or jewelry you wear? Going to Mass on Sundays? Being raised a Catholic? If you were put on trial for your faith, would there be enough evidence to convict you of being a Catholic? This chilling video, written by Bob Rice and produced by Outside da Box, challenges you to think about what really makes you a Catholic.

Dealing with Difficult People
We all have them in our lives – people we don’t like. People who rub us the wrong way, who push our buttons, and sometimes more seriously, people who are truly dangerous to our mental or physical health.

What should we do?


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