Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We Did It!

11-17-2019Weekly ReflectionFr. Emmanuel Ihemedu

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! We Did It!

I cannot thank our donors, sponsors and supporters enough for a successful inaugural "Kick off" to the Pastor's Dinner Club fundraiser. Despite the frigid weather that was lurking at every corner, Torrington Country Club was packed with over 200 people of great faith and admiration of the work we are doing to make St. John Paul the Great Academy the most effective way to bring, form and make disciples of Jesus of all God's children and their families. (USCCB, Renewing Our Commitment, Our Greatest and Best Inheritance; CARA, 2015).

The superb choreographed singing by our school children added to a beautiful evening. The commitment and relentless generosity of our donors and supporters made the fundraiser a success.

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Annual Collection

11-10-2019Weekly ReflectionFr. Emmanuel Ihemedu

Dear Parishioners of St. John Paul the Great:

The Annual Collection is underway at Saint John Paul the Great. I sent a letter to you, and to every parish household, last month seeking your support. The initial response has been encouraging – thanks be to God!

ST. JOHN PAUL THE GREAT 2019 Annual Parish Collection Update as of Oct. 31, 2019: $79,369. Families participating: 452

We are very grateful for the generosity shown by so many parish families to our Annual Collection. If you have not yet had an opportunity to return your pledge card, please do so as soon as possible. Every gift is welcome and sincerely appreciated.

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New Mass Schedule is on the Horizon

11-03-2019Weekly ReflectionFr. Emmanuel Ihemedu

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

I write to inform you that beginning January 4, 2020, there will be a revised Weekend Mass schedule at Saint John Paul the Great Parish. Through much prayer, feedback, careful examination of weekend Mass attendance data, consideration, consultation with parish council and staff, and discussions with all who attended the town hall meeting held on Tuesday October 22, I have decided to change the weekend Mass schedule to: One Vigil Mass @ 4:30 PM at St. Peter; Sunday: 7:00 AM at St. Francis; 8:30 AM at St. Peter; 10:00 AM at St. Francis; 11:30 AM (Spanish) at St. Peter; 5:00PM (life-teen Mass) at St. Francis. We are eliminating the Saturday 5:30PM Vigil at St. Francis and the Sunday 11:30 AM English at St. Peter. The Sunday 1:00 PM Spanish Mass will now be held at 11:30 AM.

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This Sunday’s Gospel contrasts two different religious attitudes.

10-27-2019Weekly Reflection© LPi

First, the self-righteous Pharisee. Here is a man who seems to impeccably follow the law. In some terms, he is the model citizen! Honest, fiscally generous, and faithful to his marriage vows. But something else lurks in his heart: pride. "O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity … or even like this tax collector." For the Pharisee, no fault can be admitted. The only way to stay on top is to preserve one's image — even to God, it seems! — and point out the flaws of others from the pedestal.

In the back of the temple, hidden and bowed down, is the tax collector. "O God, be merciful to me a sinner." This man's prayer is one of supplication and petition. He isn't afraid to express his sinfulness and misery. This, Jesus says, is the one who "went home justified." How many times have we heard the mission of Jesus to seek and save the lost? Jesus is the one who dines with sinners and invites every heart to repentance. But how can we return to him if we don't know we've left? How can we receive God's grace when we're adamant we don't need it?

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“Render a just decision for me against my adversary.”

10-20-2019Weekly Reflection© LPi

Today's Gospel features a persistent widow who ekes out justice from a notoriously cold-hearted judge. Why does she win the day? "Because the widow keeps bothering me." Jesus' recommendation to the disciples is to be persistent in prayer, because surely God the Father is far more attuned to their needs than this judge. If only it were that easy, right? We've all experienced the unanswered prayer, the silence after our cries. When this continues, sometimes it can be difficult to have faith in God or believe He answers prayers. It can be easy to lapse into a sense of His distance. We want Him to do something "fair," which — in our limited view — typically means that something works out in our favor.

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"Ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance …"

10-13-2019Weekly Reflection© LPi

In the ancient world and into the Middle Ages, there was no treatment for leprosy. People thought it was wildly contagious and were suspicious of any skin diseases.

Lepers were isolated from civil society. This isolation was upheld by the Mosaic Law. Should there be a healing from leprosy, the former leper was to present himself to a priest to certify the healing. Like Jesus commands, "Show yourselves to the priests." The person would then undergo a religious rite to be formally reintroduced to society. In other words, a leper got their life back. So why didn't they come back?

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Check Your Motives

10-06-2019Weekly Reflection© LPi

"When you have done all you have been commanded, say 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do."

The metaphor in the story could seem harsh to us today. A servant has worked hard all day, and rather than receiving a much-needed respite, the master commands an additional task. Jesus, however, is appearing to their sensibilities. This was a hierarchical society in which everyone had a place. His listeners would know this. No servant would presume a reward for good deeds.

It's important to remember that we do have a place at God's table. But we don't "earn" it. Dining with the Lord at the heavenly wedding feast requires surrender. It requires deep faith in God and His promises. It also requires commitment. The kingdom takes work! There are fields to plow and initiatives to prepare. There are sheep to tend to and family to care for. There are people waiting for our yes to generous service. When we serve dinner at a homeless shelter, we are waiting on the table of Christ. When we visit an ill relative, we're imitating the Good Samaritan. We're visiting Jesus! We're growing his kingdom of life and love.

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