Pastor’s Corner . . . January 25th is the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. The Acts of the Apostles relates the entire history of the adult conversion of Paul, who, along with Saint Peter, is recognized as the greatest of the Apostles. Paul, whose name was originally Saul, was a fervent and zealous Jew, engaged by the Temple in Jerusalem to destroy the early Church. The Acts of the Apostles tells the story of the martyrdom of Saint Stephen, one of the first deacons, elected by the Apostles to help in the distribution of bread to the poor. Stephen is singled out by the Temple, tried for blasphemy because of his faith in Jesus as the Son of God. He was dragged outside Jerusalem and stoned. The narrative continues, “. . . and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed . . . with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was consenting to his death.” (Acts 7: 58-60)
Soon after, Saul received letters from the Jewish high priest to the synagogues in Damascus, empowering Saul to round up any Christians in Damascus and “bring them bound to Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:2) As he traveled to Damascus on this mission, “A light from heaven flashed about him. And he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?'” (Acts 9:3-4) He is blinded, and led by the hand into Damascus, where a Christian, Ananias, was instructed in a dream to heal him. Knowing Saul to be persecuting the Church, Ananias objects, but the Lord told him, “go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” (Acts 9: 15-16) Saul is healed, and realizes that he has been working against God, not for him, by persecuting His Church. Like Peter, his name is changed. Peter’s name was changed by Christ from Simon to Cephas-which means Peter, or the Rock; Paul changed his own name to symbolize the radical change of his life in Christ.
Both Peter and Paul, men whose lives were changed by the Resurrected Christ, established Christ’s Church in cities throughout the ancient world: Peter to the Jews, and Paul to the Gentiles, or non-Jews; both are considered the founders of the Church at Rome. After his conversion and baptism (Gal 1.17), Paul retired to Arabia to spend three years growing in his understanding of his new call and faith. He met with Peter and the other Apostles, and began his work among the Gentiles. His travels brought him around the entirety of the Mediterranean world, preaching and converting the pagans: enduring hunger, poverty, betrayal by friends, public beatings, attempts on his life, imprisonment, shipwrecks and, finally martyrdom in Rome. The celebration of his conversion is really a celebration of our faith, since most of us are of non-Jewish stock. We belong to the Church personally founded by Our Lord upon the Apostles.
A picture of Saint Peter and Paul, by the Renaissance monk-artist, Bartolomeo Della Gatta [1448-1502], can be seen in the sanctuary: Peter holds the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, symbols of the authority given him by Our Lord as the Rock upon which Jesus established His Church [Matt 16:16-20]; Paul holds the sword by which he was martyred by beheading.
Let us pray to both Saints Peter and Paul, founders of the Church, that we may imitate their fidelity to Christ, daily being re-converted to love Our Lord more fervently in our own lives. —Msgr. DiGiovanni
Please pray for the sick… Evelyn Flaharty, Diane Ojohanna, Alverta Sahd, Phil De Felice, Sr., Vincenzo Giannitti, Janet Rodgers, Aidan Moon, Mary Daniele, Lena Cocchia, Phillip Renard, John Castellano, Anthony Sansone
Please pray for those who have recently died. . . Thomas Carucci, Sr. Julia McCarthy, Ella Palumba, Vito Melfi, Arthur Capalbo, Avery Cardinal Dulles, Laurie, Jeannette Augustine, Vivian E. Torres, Margie Nicholson
Church of Latin America Collection . . . Please drop your Church of Latin America Collection envelope into the first basket that will be passed at the Offertory.
Special Energy Collection . . . The second collection today will be the Special Energy Collection to help pay the Higher Energy and Fuel Costs for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.
Moms & Tots… A group of moms and children meet with Fr. Walsh each first Tuesday of every month at 10:30 a.m. in church for Eucharistic adoration, followed by snacks in the parish hall. Please join us. Our next meeting will be on February 3rd.
Religion Classes for Adults. . . Catholics who have not yet received Holy Communion or Confirmation, and for non-Catholics who wish to join the Church, every Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. in the rectory. The class is on a 7 week cycle: If you miss one, we repeat it. Interested? Please contact Providencia at (203) 324 -1553 ext. 21.
NOTE CHANGE: Session III of RCIA-Adult catechism–which was scheduled to be held on TUESDAY NIGHTS beginning on March 10th will be held on WEDNESDAY NIGHTS instead, beginning on March 11th. Call the office for more details.
Parish Women’s Society… We would like to begin a parish society for the spiritual growth of women. Please contact Monsignor if you are interested: Ext. 11.
The Latin Reading Group… Is translating St. Augustine’s Confessions…And meets every Wednesday in the rectory at 6:15 p.m. High school Latin is all that’s needed. Just walk in.
Introduction to New Testament Greek Class … Meets every Thursday evening in the rectory at 7:30 p.m.
St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies … Will next meet on January 21st. We are studying Pope Saint Gregory the Great’s Four Books of Dialogues. Join us each Wednesday evening in the rectory at 7:30 p.m. Just walk in.
St. John’s Bible Study…We are using The Bible Timeline Series every Thursday in the rectory at 7:30 p.m. Join us!
Coffee and refreshments… Following the 10:00 a.m. Mass, in the Monsignor Nagle Hall.
Year of Saint Paul… A Plenary Indulgence is offered the faithful through June 29th: by visiting the adoration chapel at Saint John Fisher Seminary Residence on Newfield Avenue: the chapel is open Monday through Thursday, 6:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m., and from Friday at 6:00 a.m. until Sunday 11:00 p.m. The usual conditions apply: sacramental confession and communion, praying one Our Father and Hail Mary for the intentions of Pope Benedict XVI apply.
The 20’s and 30’s … The next meeting will be on February 9th at the Upper Room at Columbus Park at 6:30 p.m. Our Topic will be “Stump the Priest” – come with your questions….bring your friends!
Sunday Readings for Feb. 1: Dt. 18: 15-20; 1 Cor. 7: 32-35; Mk. 1: 21-28
Hymns for this weekend . . . (1) 166 (2) 169. The Creed for the Noon Mass may be found in the hymnal at No. 289.
Choral Music for the 12:00 Noon Mass . . . Mass Ordinary: Missa ‘Simile est regnum coelorum” – Tomás Luis de Victoria, 1548-1611. Offertory motet: Constitues eos – Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, 1525-1594 (Thou shalt make them princes over all the earth: they shall remember Thy name, O Lord. Instead of fathers, sons are born to thee: therefore shall people praise Thee. (Psalm 45. 17, 18). Communion motet: How lovely are the messengers (from Paulus) – Felix Mendelssohn, 1809-1847 (How lovely are the messengers that preach us the gospel of peace. To all the nations is gone forth the sound of their words, throughout all the lands their glad tidings. [Romans 10, vv. 15 & 18]). The Gregorian chants proper to this Sunday are: Introit Scio cui credidi (I know whom I have believed, and I am certain that He is able to guard the trust committed to me, against that day; being a just Judge. O Lord, You have probed me and You know me; You know when I sit and when I stand.); Gradual Qui operatus (He who worked in Peter for the apostleship, worked also in me among the Gentiles: and they recognized the grace of God that was given to me. The grace of God in me has not been fruitless; but His grace always remains in me.); Alleluia Magnus sanctus (The great Saint Paul, the vessel of election, is truly worthy to be glorified; who also deserved to possess the twelfth throne.); Offertory Miki autem To me, Your friends, O God, are made exceedingly honorable; their principality is exceedingly strengthened.); Communion Signa eos (These signs shall follow them that believe: they shall cast out devils: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover.).
Calling all 10:00 a.m. Singers! . . . Do you have even a little singing experience? Do you usually attend the 10:00 a.m. Mass? Come join us in the choir loft – we really need you! Rehearsals are Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. in the music room in the basement of the church. For those who want to learn or refresh their knowledge of the basics of music, there is a short optional Music Theory Class at 7:15. p.m. For more information, call Scott Turkington 324-1553, ext. 18.
10th Annual Catholic Awareness Day…State Capitol in Hartford on Monday, February 9th. In light of the pressing issues facing Catholics today during this session of the General Assembly, please be encourage to attend.
Celebrate Catholic Schools Week… Trinity Catholic Middle School, 948 Newfield Avenue, Stamford is holding an Open House on Wednesday, January 28th at 7:00 p.m. Prospective and current parents are invited to learn about the curriculum and programs, meet teachers and tour the classrooms. Applications for admission will be available. All those who are interested in visiting while school is in session are invited on Thursday, January 29th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
New Year, New Ideas for Your Job Search…Monday, January 26th at 7:30 p.m., in the Rectory. Presented by Melanie Szlucha, Job Search Coach and owner of Red Inc. Want an effective one-on-one way to meet people in the same boat and share job leads or contacts at major employers? The meeting ends when all questions are answered. If the weather is questionable, check back on my website: http://www.redinc.biz or call me directly before heading out: 203-866-1606.
St. John‘s in The ADVOCATE . . .
. . . 100 years ago, or so:
January 31, 1899: Candlemas Day “Next Thursday, which is Candlemas Day, masses will be said in St. John’s R. C. Church at seven and eight o’clock in the morning. On Friday, services attending the blessing of throats will be held at seven in the morning and at 7:30 in the evening.”
February 1, 1909: “A representative of a Catholic orphan asylum of Boston, in which the Knights of Columbus are interested, was at St. John’s R. C. Church, yesterday, with eight children from the Home. All the children were taken by Stamford families.”
January 31, 1917: St. John’s Alumni to Dance. “As a fitting climax to a successful social season, St. John’s Alumni will hold an informal dance at the Hotel Davenport, Friday evening, Feb. 9. As there are a limited number of tickets for sale, requests for the same should be sent in at once, to enable the committee to make reservations. Rehearsals have begun for both principals and chorus of the new Alumni play, to be presented at the Stamford Theatre. From present indications it will uphold the enviable reputation earned by the Alumni in past performances.”
January 30, 1936: REV. JOSEPH KIRKBRIDE TO SPEAK AT MEETING OF ST JOHN’S SOCIETY. “The Rev. Joseph Kirkbride, superior of the Holy Ghost Fathers’ Seminary at Ferndale, West Norwalk, was announced today as a speaker to address members of the Holy Name Society of St. John’s Church at the meeting in the school hall Monday night. Another speaker will be Jim Crowley, football coach of Fordham University, who was one of the famous “Four Horsemen” of Notre Dame football. Father Kirkbride is known to a large group of Catholic men in Stamford having conducted a three day retreat for them at Ferndale last Summer. He was also a speaker at the Charles Carroll of Carrolton Club dinner at Hubbard Heights Country Club last Summer.”
January 31, 1952: CYO Starts Play In Second Half; Johnnies Titlists. “The St. John’s have been declared as first half champions in the CYO Basketball League’s High School division. The Johnnies won five and lost one in the regular play. A protest by the St. Maurice’s was disallowed, after presentation before a committee comprised of Ray Booker, Nick Carlucci and Moe Magliola. Had the St. Maurice’s won the protest, which would have called for play of a game forfeited for non-appearance, the first half would have ended in a tie. The second half begins tonight at the High School gyms, with the St. John’s meeting the St. Cecilia’s and the St. Mary’s engaging St. Maurice’s in 7 p.m. games. One tussle billed for 8 bill pit the Sacred Hearts and St. Clement’s.”
St. Maria Goretti Society…For the spiritual formation of young ladies from 8th – 12th grades. We’ll next meet on Sunday, January 25th, in the rectory after the 12:00 Noon mass. Questions, please contact Rosa Marchetti at (203) 348-0232.
Vespers for the Conversion of St. Paul … On Sunday, January 25th at 4:00 p.m. Solemn Vespers and Benediction will be celebrated at St. Gabriel Church on Newfield Avenue in Stamford for the Feast of the conversion of St. Paul. Bishop Lori has graciously granted the plenary indulgence for the Pauline Year to those who attend. All are welcome for this special event to mark the Year of St. Paul!
Ash Wednesday… Just a head’s up: February 25th -Lent begins. During Lent, all Catholic churches in the Diocese of Bridgeport will remain open every Tuesday evening for Confessions: 7:30-8:30 p.m.
Easter. . . April 12th.
Saturday, January 24
4:00 +James Retter req. Mary Jean Dal Molin
Sunday, January 25
7:30 +Vincent De Vivo 51st Anniversary req. De Vivo & Munro Families
10:00 +Julius & Jane Shoztic, Barbara Schettino req. Richard & Elaine Shoztic
12:00 +Vincent & Teresa Kung req. Joseph & Agnes Kung
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, January 26
8:00 +Marion Roe req. Jason Pratt
12:10 Nora Henao Mesa req. Raquel Mesa
Tuesday, January 27
8:00 +Raymond Burns req. Mr. & Mrs. L. Bolanowski
12:10 +Marcello Santagata req. Angela Giannitti
Wednesday, January 28
8:00 + Jennifer Tomasello req. Mom & Dad
Thursday, January 29
8:00 Special Intention Healing Mrs. Weigel req. Tony J.
12:10 Carlos Nora req. Raquel Mesa
Friday, January 30
8:00 Mr. & Mrs. Beaublum req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:10 +Mrs. Loyola Palinkas req. Maria & Peter Macujewski
Saturday, January 31
8:00 +JoAnne Fiori req. Parents
12:10 +Walter Lijek req. Mr. & Mrs. L. Bolanowski
Pray for an end to abortion every Wednesday, 7:00 – 10:30 a.m., at Planned Parenthood, 1039 East Main St, Stamford.
Eucharistic Adoration: Fridays, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon.
Holy Name Society … For all men of the parish: The rectory every Friday morning for coffee, Eucharistic adoration benediction & prayer, from 7:00 – 8:00 a.m.
Are you a registered parishioner? …If not, please visit the parish office Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. or call the office for more information [ext 21 or 17].
Sponsor Certificates for Baptism or Confirmation…Are happily given to parishioners of St. John’s, i.e. Those who are registered members; those whose regular Mass attendance is known to the priests, or whose parish membership can be verified by the records of the weekly offertory (envelopes).
Credit Card Offertory…Make weekly or monthly donations by credit card. You can set up recurring credit card donations with the church secretary. She can take your information over the telephone. Call (203) 324-1553 x21.
St. Dominic Savio Society…For the spiritual formation of young men from 8th – 12th grades. Questions, please contact Frank Marchetti at (203) 434-4734.
(Revisited) – Fr. Terry Walsh
“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 descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to Him…” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
We must recognize that the path to eternal happiness within the Holy Trinity is a path we choose to take. Each of us is given the choice. We each have immortal souls and we are meant to live in God – but He does not force us to live in Him. Our decisions in this life determine where we live eternally. The Council Fathers of Vatican II put it this way: “Let all be convinced that human life and its transmission are realities whose meaning is not limited by the horizons of this life only: their time evaluation and full meaning can only be understood in reference to man’s eternal destiny.”
Sadly, our Culture rejects the gift of life – it rejects the Commandments – it has made itself ‘god’. And yet, consider what God has revealed to us: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” (Jeremiah 1:5); or again in the Gospel of Luke: “For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy”(Lk 1:44).
The Psalmist, too, sings of the wonder and magnificence of the human person created in the image and likeness of its Creator: “For Thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb…Thou knowest me right well; my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret…” (Psalm 139!).
God created us in His Image when He breathed the breath of life into us – creating us body and soul – a life that begins at conception. He included freedom in His plan – that we might freely choose to love Him, that we would choose the blessing and receive life. But do we contemplate the wonder of His love and marvel at His infinite goodness?
We are tragically caught up in a “Culture of Death’ – a culture that proclaims its independence from God, following in the footsteps of Adam. He willfully separated Himself from God. He tumbled out of Paradise and the State of Grace and found himself crawling in the dust. Why? God gave him life and, of course, every other gift and blessing in the State of Grace. But Adam took his eye off the ball. His pride got the better of him. Pride has a terrible effect on a soul meant for love. Adam thought ‘he knew better.’ Imagine the utter shock and horror that rocked his world when the bill showed up – when it came time to pay for his choice. Fast forward to our world today. We live in a culture of moral relativism that celebrates the right to kill what God has brought to life, violating the very commandments that lead to life.
Abortion, Destruction of Embryos, Euthanasia, Eugenics – the list goes on – all done in the so-called name of scientific advancement for ‘the benefit’ of mankind.” Has the subtle snake desensitized our moral and spiritual radar? Have we willfully turned away from God and embraced instead the culture of man? Neither Science nor Public Opinion has any power of absolution, yet it presumes this power. It calls evil (abortion, etc) good and ignores the consequences. It is utterly incomprehensible. Have we lost our way? Has science and technology been commandeered? Have we lost our moral compass and bitten the apple?
Again, the Second Vatican Council beautifully encapsulates our true relationship with God: “The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. The invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot love fully according to Truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his Creator.” Choose life….