Pastor’s Corner . . Lent is the season when we intensify our Christian life in all its aspects in our daily attempt to free ourselves from sin and our attachment to sin, and by imitating Our Lord. In his Conference on the Creed [number 6], Saint Thomas Aquinas gave two reasons why Jesus, the Eternal Son of God, sacrificed Himself on the Cross: “He did it as a remedy for sin and as an example for action.” St. Thomas continued: “On the one hand, then, we find in Christ’s Passion a healing remedy against all the evils that come to us because of sin. On the other hand, the Passion of Christ is enough by itself to give shape and direction to our whole life. If a person wants to live perfectly, he need only scorn what Christ crucified scorned and desire what Christ crucified desired. The Cross is the example of every virtue.”
Lent began on Ash Wednesday, when we received ashes on our forehead, with the reminder about who we are in the great scheme of things: “Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.” A simple reminder of the reality that without God we are nothing; without a life that pleases God, nothing we do will have lasting effect. While God created us in His image and likeness; while God created us good by nature, we are attracted to sin because we inherited Adam’s original or first sin. While this was removed at Baptism, and we became the adopted sons and daughters of God, we are still influenced by Original Sin, and do, indeed, sin. “If you say you are without sin, you make God a liar”
[1 John 5:14], because the reason God sent His Son was to save us from sin and sin’s fruit, which is death.
Weaning ourselves away from sin is not easy. The opening prayer for Mass on Ash Wednesday acknowledged that: “Lord, protect us in our struggle against evil. As we begin the discipline of Lent, make this day holy by our self-denial.” What self denials? Lent is a time for penance, but not for merely religious actions. Our penances must be outward signs of our inner desire to be free from sin and love God more perfectly. God doesn’t want us to do more religious actions in our lives: he wants us to live better lives in our everyday world. “Let your heart be broken,” God says in the Prophet Joel, “not your garments torn” [Joel 2:14]: the public tearing of garments was a religious ritual, showing a stylized grief for blasphemy. That’s not what God asks of us. We should be broken hearted in grief that we hurt the One who is so good to us that He came to our rescue in Christ, and change how we live, if we give grief to God by our lives. Another example comes from the Prophet Isaiah: do you think you please God if you fast by giving up some food, or just pray a little more, while still sinning? Isaiah answers, “Look, you do business on your fast days, you oppress all your workmen; look, you quarrel and squabble when you fast and strike the poor man with your fist. Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me—to share your bread with the hungry, and shelter the homeless poor, to clothe the man you see to be naked and not turn from your own kin in need?” [Is 58:8-9]
So, design your Lenten daily life in order to give up sin, whatever your favorite sin might be, and to be more virtuous—more like Christ, as St. Thomas Aquinas suggested. Fast and abstain from sin, not just from food. We each have a sin we are particularly good at, or at least singularly attached to: choose it to give up. Likewise, there are virtues that we are each too weak in practicing; choose one of those to work on daily. Work on virtues and vices for the forty days of Lent, and by Easter, you will find yourself happier and holier. My spiritual director has instructed me to work on patience, a virtue I am very lacking in. Two years ago the parish business manager tacked a note on my door, quoting St. Augustine: “Patience is the companion of wisdom.” So, I got the hint: my Lent is about being more patient and less angry/annoyed at people or events. Let’s see what happens.
Please pray for the sick… Ray Flaharty, Philip Renard, John Mellace, Christine Exantus, Evelyn Flaharty, Diane Ojohanna, Phil De Felice, Sr., Janet Rodgers, Aidan Moon, Mary Daniele
Please pray for those who have recently died. . . Eugene Rizzi, Denis O’Neil, Cecila Tucker, Edith O’Hara, Vincenzo Giannitti Alverta Sahd, Frances Lorusso, Thomas Carucci, Sr. Julia McCarthy, Ella Palumba, Vito Melfi, Arthur Capalbo, Avery Cardinal Dulles
LENTEN FAST AND ABSTINENCE . . .On Good Friday, and all Fridays during Lent, all Catholics age 14 and older are obliged to abstain from eating meat, and all Catholics in good health between the ages of 18 and 60 are also obliged to fast. Abstinence is not eating meat or meat products; fasting is having one full meal and two light meals during the day, with no snacks between meals. Drinking water or taking medicine or vitamins does not break a fast. All Fridays during Lent are days of abstinence from eating meat. Good Friday is a day of both fasting and abstinence.
CONFESSION. . . During Lent, every Catholic Church throughout Fairfield County will remain open each Tuesday evening, from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. for confessions, including. St. John’s. Please drop by and avail yourself of this sacrament.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS . . . each Friday during Lent:
4:00 p.m. English Stations;
6:00 p.m. Creole Stations
The 20’s and 30’s … The next meeting will be on Monday March 9th at the “Upper Room at Columbus Park” at 6:30 p.m. located at 205 Main Street here in Stamford.
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 March 3rd.
St. Anne Society will meet on SUNDAY “March 22 for Pizza and Pasta Night”
St. John’s Bible Study … We are using The Bible Timeline Series every Thursday in the rectory at 7:30 p.m. Join us!
St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies … We are studying Pope Saint Gregory the Great’s Four Books of Dialogues, Wednesday evenings in the rectory at 7:30 p.m.
Coffee and refreshments… Following the 10:00 a.m. Mass, in the Monsignor Nagle Hall.
Parish Women’s Society … Will meet every Saturday, beginning Saturday, February 28th at 9:30 a.m. in the Rectory for prayer, refreshments and conversation. Join us.
Maria Goretti and Dominic Savio Societies…Bus Trip to the Natural Museum of History in New York City will depart from the rectory at 9:00 a.m. on March 14th. Please turn in your permission slips as soon as possible.
A RING HAS BEEN FOUND IN THE CONFESSIONAL. PLEASE CALL PROVIDENCIA IN THE RECTORY 203-324-1553 AND GIVE HER A DISCRIPTION OF IT.
Saint Patrick’s Parade. . . Needs your help! If you would like to make a small donation to help fund this wonderful annual Stamford event, please call Mons. DiGiovanni: 203-324-1553, 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.
Sunday Readings for March 8tht: Gen 22: 1-2, 9a 10-13, 15-18; Rom. 8:31b-34; Mk. 9: 2-10 (26)
Hymns for this weekend . . . (1) 54 (2) 50. 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: Kyrie XVII – Graduale Romanum; Mass for Three Voices – William Byrd, 1540-1623. Offertory motet: Tu pauperum refugium – Josquin des Prez, c. 1450/55-1521 (Thou hast been the refuge of the poor, of the mourning and sorrowing, Thou comforter, giving courage to the laborer, helper of erring men, Source of truth and life. And now, Redeemer Lord, I take refuge in Thee alone, Thou very God do I adore. Thou art my hope, my Salvation, Christ Jesus. Be Thou my help, for without Thy watchful care, while sleeping, death would claim my soul.). Communion motet: Adoramus te, Christe – Orlandus Lassus, 1532-1594 (We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee, because by Thy Holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the World. Lord, have mercy upon us. [Antiphon at feasts of the Holy Cross]). The Gregorian chants proper to this Sunday are: Introit Invocabit me (When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will rescue him and honour him; with long life will I satisfy him. He who abides in the shelter of the Most High, shall remain under the protection of the God of Heaven. [Ps. 91:15,16,1]); Tract Qui habitat (He who abides in the shelter of the Most High, shall remain under the protection of the Lord of Heaven. He shall say to the Lord: “You are my protector and my refuge;” my God, in whom I trust. For he has set me free form the snare of the fowler, and from cutting words. He will conceal you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge. [Psalm 91:1-4]); Offertory Scapulis suis (The Lord will overshadow you with his pinions, and you will find refuge under his wings. His faithfulness will encompass you with a shield. [Psalm 91:4-5]); Communion Scapulis suis (The Lord will overshadow you with his pinions, and you will find refuge under his wings. His faithfulness will encompass you with a shield. [Psalm 91:4-5]).
Calling all 10:00 a.m. Singers for the Adult Choir . . . 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.
LENTEN PARISH RETREAT
Monday, March 2nd – Wednesday, March 4th, Msrg. James Turro returns to offer the 3-night parish mission and will speak on the Letters of St. Paul. All are welcome. We will meet at 7:30 p.m. in the Church and there will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
Confirmation Candidates in the Religious Education Program: Note DATE CORRECTION for the Retreat at the Villa Maria Convent: MARCH 29th – Please turn in your Permission Slips as soon as possible. Thank you.
Religion Classes for Adults … Final Session for the year begins March 11th. It is open to all Catholics who have not yet received Holy Communion or Confirmation, and for non-Catholics who wish to join the Church. We meet in the rectory at 7:30 p.m. The class is on a 7-week cycle: Wednesdays: March 11th, March 18th, March 25th, April 1st, April 15th, and April 22nd. Please contact Providencia at (203) 324 -1553 ext. 21.
St. John’s in The ADVOCATE . . .
. . . 100 years ago, or so:
March 1, 1878: The Temperance Rally. “Last Sunday evening a grand temperance meeting was held in Military Hall, under the auspices of St. Patrick’s T.A.B. Society. It was presided over by Father Rogers, pastor of the Catholic church, and two earnest workers in the temperance cause, namely, J. J. Dempsey, Esq., of Middletown, Conn., and Patrick Kane, Esq., of Bridgeport, were introduced as the speakers for the occasion. The effectiveness of their strong appeals can best be judged by the fact that over three hundred persons signed the pledge. Other temperance meetings are to follow, let us hope with still grander results.”
March 6, 1905: “The services in St. John’s R. C. Church during Lent will be the same as usual. Masses will be celebrated every morning at 7 and 8. Wednesday and Friday evenings, at 7:30 there will be services. A special Lenten sermon will be preached every Wednesday evening. The first will be given this week by Father Dominic who was the head of the Franciscan mission band which gave a mission here last October. Wednesday and Friday, will be, as usual, fasting days, but persons in frail health or those having laboring or exhaustive work are exempt from the Wednesday fast, excepting Ash Wednesday, and may also eat meat more than once on the days that it is allowed. The services Ash Wednesday will be held at 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.”
March 7, 1913: Catholic Churches and Societies. “The Holy Name Society of St. John’s Catholic Church will receive Holy Communion Sunday, at 7:25 a.m., and will hold a regular monthly meeting in the chapel at 7:30 p.m. Father O’Brien is giving an interesting course of short sermons at St. John’s Catholic Church on Sunday evenings. On last Sunday he had for his subject “The Catacombs.” On Holy Thursday night, the Tenebrae will be held in St. John’s Catholic Church. Seldom is this service held in any church outside the cathedrals. Five years ago it was rendered at St. John’s. There are few of the Holy Week ceremonies of more symbolic interest.”
March 5, 1937: Hibernians Plan March 17 Party. “In the two remaining weeks to St. Patrick’s Day, General Philip Sheridan Branch of the Ancient Order of Hibernians will be a busy organization, in preparation for its annual celebration in honor of the patron saint of Ireland. For nearly a half century, the Stamford branch of the A. O. H. has led the way each year with some affair in honor of St. Patrick. This year, it will sponsor a ball at the State Armory on the night of March 16, when O’Leary’s Irish Minstrels of Boston, as the chief attraction, will provide a concert of traditional Irish airs and music for modern dancing. Sheridan Branch was organized in 1891 and was then known as Division No. 2. The first officers of the Division were: F. T. Galagher, president; Dr. L. S. Buckley, vice president; James Devitt, recording secretary; James M. Picker, financial secretary; James McGee, treasurer. Since its organization, the branch has had a steady and sound growth.”
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.
Introduction to New Testament Greek Class … Will NOT meet on Thursday, March 5th. Meets every Thursday evening in the rectory at 7:30 p.m. The class is closed to new members.
Sign of Peace . . . will NOT be given during Masses for the next few months because of the high risk of contracting the flu.
Saturday, February 28
4:00 Anne & Leon Thibdeau, Carol A. Wakeman req. Kevin & Alison Toshches
Sunday, March 1
7:30 +Joan Bankowski req. Doris Scarano
10:00 +Dorothy Wargo Birthday Remembrance req. Family
12:00 +Anna Young req. Joseph & Agnes Kung
6:00 Thank you for Deliverance req. Silvita Pierre
Monday, March 2
8:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family.
12:10 +Margaret Timon req. Thomas A. Timon
Tuesday, March 3
8:00 +Felix Fiore req. Peter, Tricia & Janice Ponziani
12:10 +Anna Fedorika req. Mary Churley
Wednesday, March 4
8:00 +Evelyn Hardart Murray req. Richard A. Foreman
12:10 Sister Ellen, Mary CSJ Birthday req. Marie Carr
Thursday, March 5
8:00 +Victor Cascante req. Jamil Locourt & JII Friends
12:10 +Luigi Santangelo req. Giannitti Family
Friday, March 6
8:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
12:10 +Ken Malone req. Anthony & Carolyn Conte
Saturday, March 7
8:00 +Mary Theresa Mariano req. Sue Viggiano
12:10 +Joan Mercia req. Eileen & Robert
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] or Register On-Line at our Website: stjohnsstamford.com.
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. Maria Goretti Society…For the spiritual formation of young ladies from 8th – 12th grades. Questions, please contact Rosa Marchetti at 348-0232.
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).
Trust in God
-Fr. Terry Walsh
Do you trust God? Do you really Trust Him? At the Last Supper, only hours before He was about to begin the Passion, Jesus consoled the Apostles who, upon hearing that He wouldn’t be with them much longer, had become distraught and bewildered. There was talk of betrayal. There was fear. There was, in their hearts, some measure of uncertainty. But in those moments, Jesus brought peace to the Apostles. And he told them: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Neither let them be afraid.” In other words, ‘Trust ME. I’ll take care of you.’ He tells them to ask for whatever they want, it will be done for them – only, Trust ME….I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…I’ve come to give you My peace. The Father and I will send the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, the Advocate…Trust ME. We will be with you – we will be IN you. Trust ME. We have all received the gift of Divine Life – the Holy Trinity dwells IN us. Yet, do we trust God? Notice that, after explaining all these things to the Apostles, Jesus gives them another command; he says, “Rise, let us go hence.” In other words, “Let’s get to work.” Ask for whatever you want – whatever you need to grow in holiness but then, apply these gifts – work at growing in holiness. Throughout Lent, we will hear from the Prophet Isaiah. Writing 750 years before the birth of Christ, the great prophet had the same message for the People of God then as we have today: “Trust.” In Isaiah 55:1-11, God is calling each one of us to freely choose Him. We have choices to make. But do we trust that He will feed us? That brief passage is filled with several active verbs signifying the active role each of us plays in our personal relationship with God: Come, Heed, Eat, Delight, Listen, Seek, Turn to the Lord! Listen to Him in your prayer. Do you hear Him? “COME to the waters” of My graces which I will pour into your souls through your faithful reception of the Sacraments. “HEED Me” – that is – ‘Keep My Commandments, Pick up your Cross, Love one another.’ “EAT well” – that is – ‘receive Me – Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity – the Spiritual Food of Holy Eucharist – and with the strength of this food, Decrease those things that hinder progress in holiness – emptying them through Confession. Eat well and delight in the rich fare of the Sacraments – so that I may remain WITH you and live IN you.’ “LISTEN, that you may have life” Actively listen to the Word of God and think carefully about what our Lord is teaching us – when we HEAR the Word of God, it should open our hearts and prepare our souls to RECEIVE the ‘Bread of Angels – Holy Communion – instituted at the Last Supper – for love of all who are spiritually thirsty and “COME TO THE WATER!” “SEEK the Lord while He may be found…TURN to the Lord for Mercy…” Naturally, we turn to Him everyday in our Prayer and seek Him in that Inner Room of our soul. It simply requires a little quiet time and some thoughtful effort to communicate with God – whether it’s here in the Church or in some quiet place in your home. When we make a sincere effort, we are responding to His call: ‘Rise, let us get to work – rise, let us go pray.’ St. John confirms all that we hear through the Prophet Isaiah in preparation for the coming Messiah. John tells us that “…whoever is begotten by God conquers the world – and the victory that conquers the world is our faith.” Our faith is active – it works through our love (as St Paul tells us) – constantly drawing us closer to God – by imitating His humility – his love. Jesus inspires an ACTVE relationship in our hearts – active in the sense of being spiritually aware of His Presence IN us – active in our use of the gifts that He has so graciously provided – so that we can accomplish our purpose – to truly love God and one another – and to dwell WITH God and IN God in heaven – eternally. We enter that life though faith.