Pastor’s Corner . . St. Patrick wrote his Confessions at the end of his life. He began: “I, Patrick, the sinner, the most illiterate and the least of all the faithful, and contemptible in the eyes of very many, had for a father Calpornius,…who belonged to the village of Bannavem Taberniae. Now he had a small farm hard by, and there I was taken captive. I was then about sixteen years of age. I did not know the true God; and I went into captivity to Ireland with many thousands of persons . . .”
Born in England, he was captured by Irish slavers and brought to Ireland, where he endured six years’ enslavement as a shepherd, finally escaping to Britain. While born a Christian, he was actually a practicing non-believer, living a worldly life, until his capture. During his years of servitude, he had a true conversion and, following the voice of Christ and sought priestly ordination, for he dreamt that the Irish people were calling him back to the isle of his captivity to save them through Christ. He went to France and was taught by the saintly theologian, St. Germain of Auxerre, and was introduced to monastic life. Despite his late start, and incomplete education, Patrick was ordained, but his superiors refused to send him back to Ireland, despite his insistence.
The reason was that Ireland was seen as a country of untamed barbarians, and Europe feared them. St. Palladius had been to Ireland nearly two centuries earlier, the first apostle to Ireland, sent by Pope Celestine I. All refused to go to continue the work of St. Palladius—except Patrick, whose unique insistence that he be permitted to preach in the pagan wilds of Ireland brought him to the attention of the pope. Patrick was appointed bishop, and began to preach in the north and west of the Emerald Isle, where no one had yet preached the Gospel. Since there were no towns or fortresses on the Roman pattern, Patrick established churches directly subject to him as bishop, with monasteries attached, similar to those found in Gaul, today’s France. His principal home base of operations was Armagh. Patrick propagated monastic life, brought clergy from Europe, and taught Latin and theology to his younger priests. By this means, the Irish monks would re-Christianize Europe in the subsequent centuries, preserving the Catholic faith and the classical Latin literature of western culture when all had been lost during the centuries of the Dark Ages. His primary opposition came from the Druids, and the English, especially after Patrick’s letter to the British prince Coroticus, who had raided the Irish coastal towns and enslaved some of Patrick’s Catholic converts.
St. Patrick’s influence on the development of the Church and of the culture of Ireland was immense, the effects of which continue to this day, nearly 1,600 after his death. Let us pray for a dose of his love for the Church and his devotion to Our Lord that led him to forgive his persecutors and return to the place of his slavery in order to bring salvation to them who had once persecuted him. St. Patrick, pray for us.
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!! —Msgr. DiGiovanni
Saint Patrick’s Day Ancient Order of Hibernian Mass. . . Here at Saint John’s on Tuesday, March 17th at 9:00 A.M.: All are welcome!
I want to thank everyone who volunteered to represent Saint John’s and Bishop Lori at the Hartford public hearing to discuss Senator Andrew McDonald’s proposed bill #1098. As you know, Senator McDonald cancelled the public hearing. If and when this reappears, I hope you will once again lend your support to defeat the State’s interference in the Roman Catholic Church in Connecticut. Mons. SMD
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. . . Antoinetta Fiore, Marie Corcoran, 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
Monthly Collection . . . The second collection today will be the monthly collection for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.
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
St. Anne Society will meet on SUNDAY “March 22nd for Pizza and Pasta Night” in the Monsignor Nagle Hall. Dr. Joan Kelly will speak about Baptism and “The Family.”
Natural Family Planning Session (NFP) will be held on March 23, 2009 at 7:45 p.m. in the home of Lisa & Alex Frawley. To reserve a place please call Lisa Frawley at 203 254 6615.
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 will next meet on Wednesday, March 18th in the rectory at 7:30 p.m. and will study Celtic Saints.
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 Biblical Greek . . . meets each Thursday evening at 7:30 pm in the rectory: March 19th: Review Lessons IX & X.
Parish Women’s Society . . . Meets every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. in the Rectory for prayer, refreshments and conversation. All are welcome; please, join us: just walk in the first front door.
Religion Classes for Adults … 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.
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 rectory. Please join us. Our next meeting will be on April 7th.
The 20’s and 30’s … next meeting April 13 at Columbus Park
Spring Parish Fundraising Event:
A SPRING GARDEN PARTY
Sunday May 3, 2009. We hope you will join us for a great event – fabulous dinner, musical charms, exciting auctions. Please call the Rectory for more information or for your reservation – (203) 324-1553, ext 21 or register online @ www.stjohnsstamford.com.
We look forward to seeing you on May 3!
Sunday Readings for March 22nd: 2 Chr. 36:14-16, 19-23; Eph. 2:4-10; Jn. 3:14-21 (32); or, for Year A, 1 Sam. 16:1b, 6-7,10-13a; Eph. 5:8-14, Jn. 9:1-41 or 9:1, 6-9, 13-17, 34-38 (31)
Hymns for this weekend . . . (1) 50 (2) 65. 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 brevis – Antonio Lotti, 1667-1740. Offertory motet: Miserere mei – Tomás Luis de Victoria, 1548-1611 (Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord, heal me. [Ps. 6:2]). The Gregorian chants proper to this Sunday are: Introit Oculi mei (My eyes are forever turned towards the Lord; for he shall release my feet from the snare; look upon me and have mercy on me, for I am abandoned and destitute. Unto you, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul; O my God, I trust in you, let me not be put to shame. [Ps. 25:15,16,1-2]); Tract Ad te levavi (I have lifted my eyes up unto you, who dwell in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hands of their masters, and as the eyes of a maidservant to the hands of her mistress, so do our eyes look unto the Lord our God until he have mercy on us. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us. [Ps. 123:1-3]); Offertory Justitiae Domini (The ordinances of the Lord are right, bringing joy to all hearts, sweeter than honey or the honeycomb. Therefore your servant will observe them. [Ps. 19:9-12]); Communion Passer invenit (The sparrow has found herself a home, and the turtle dove a nest in which to lay her young: at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God! Blessed are they who dwell in your house, they shall praise you for ever and ever. [Ps. 84:4,5]). Postlude: Psalm 50 – Tonus peregrinus.
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.
A RING HAS BEEN FOUND IN THE CONFESSIONAL. Please call Providencia at the Rectory: 324-1553, ext. 21.
Sign of Peace . . . will NOT be given during Masses for the next few months because of the high risk of contracting the flu.
Melanie Szlucha’s company Red Inc… Helps people prepare for the job search through a clearly-written resume, strong job interview skills and innovative job search strategies. Find out more about her at: http://www.redinc.biz. Meets Monday, March 23, 7:30 p.m. in the Rectory. Bring your job search questions! Tonight–bring a challenge you’re encountering. I’ll provide my advice and perspective, and the wisdom of the group will also chime in. The meeting is structured so everyone has a chance to really connect, learn about each other’s job search, and share advice. The meeting ends when all questions are answered. If the weather is dicey that evening, call me directly before heading out: 203-866-1606.
St. John’s in The ADVOCATE . . .
. . . 50 years ago, or so:
March 16, 1957: Irishmen Can Remember Stamford’s Own Dublin. “Mention Dublin to the average Irishman (pretending for the sake of argument that there is such a person as an “average” Irishman), and he will think of the River Liffey, O’Connell Street, the Abbey Theater, or possibly the famous Guinness establishment. But mention Dublin to an Irishman of the older generation in Stamford, and he will think of the part of the city that surrounds Meadow St., East Meadow St., New St., Jefferson St., and nearby areas. Actually Dublin, Stamford, was subdivided into Old Dublin and New Dublin. The name Dublin was acquired because the population of the area was about 100 percent Irish. One of the first structures, besides houses, to go up in Dublin, was the first Catholic Church in Stamford. It was a 60 – by – 40 frame structure erected in 1849 on Meadow St. The first parochial school in Stamford was built, also on Meadow St., in 1860.”
March 17, 1958: St. John’s Win To Retain Title In Diocese Play. “The Stamford St. John’s won the Cadet Division Laurels of the Bridgeport Diocesan CYO basketball playoffs in Bridgeport’s Notre Dame High School Sunday, defeating Our Lady of Assumption, of Fairfield, 49 – 40. Successfully defending its Cadet Division title, the Stamford quintet gained a 26 – 19 halftime lead. Fine rebounding and team work in the last two quarters protected the margin. Bob Gross, Al Macsata and Tommy Byrne were outstanding under the boards. Byrne was the high scorer with 19 points.”
March 16, 1959: Holy Name Society Of St. John’s Plans Annual Dinner. “St. John’s Holy Name Society will hold its eighth annual dinner at 7 p.m. May 20 at the Half-Way House, John J. Church, president, has announced. Honorary chairman for the dinner is The Rt. Rev. Msgr. Nicholas P. Coleman, V. F., chaplain. General chairman is James E. Lynch, assisted by Frank G. Hickey, co-chairman, Secretary is Anthony P. Henry, treasurer, William E. Thomson, and program committee chairman, John R. Boyd.”
March 18, 1959: CYO Ping-Pong In Final Session. “The CYO Ping-Pong League will stage its finals Sunday, with St. John’s of Noroton, leading with 16 points, and St. John’s of Stamford possessing 14 points. St. Cecilia is third with 7 and St. Maurice four with 3. In the recent matches, Chris Fumega, Grace Russo and Joan Bartolo of Noroton won their games over St. Cecilia. Robert Tymon was the lone St. Cecilia winner. Mike Murray, Jim Alexis and Joann Bracchi of the Stamford St. John’s won over rivals from St. Maurice, represented by Kenny Fondu, Paul Borgatti and Jane Coughlin. Ellen Fondu won the lone St. Maurice point.”
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.
Win a 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid!!! Support Trinity Catholic High School. Please support Trinity Catholic High School in their main fundraiser for 2008-2009 by buying a raffle ticket for a 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid. Tickets are $100 each. Only 800 tickets are being sold. Drawing April 4, 2009. If you would like a ticket, call Sheila at 203-849-1547 or visit our website at www.trinitycatholic.org.
Saturday, March 14
4:00 Brian & Kathleen Fennessey
Sunday, March 15
7:30 +Mary Vanorse req. Sister Jo Darling
10:00 Special Intention Francis Kung req. Joseph & Agnes Kung
12:00 +Rosario D’Amico req. his brother Frank
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, March 16
8:00 +Jennifer Tomasello req. Jeannene McMurchy
12:10 +Henry Saraniero req. Ginger Drought
Tuesday, March 17
8:00 +Mr. & Mrs. Naissance Jean-Guillaume req. Grandchildren
12:10 +Debbie Grandpre req. Gabriel Natarelli
Wednesday, March 18
8:00 +John E. Lancaster req. David J. Lancaster
12:10 +Mrs. Rita Tracey req. Sharon Gannon
Thursday, March 19
8:00 Special Intention Ana Margarita Ucero Birthday
12:10 +Stephen, Irene & Nicholas Churley req. Mary Churley
Friday, March 20
8:00 In Thanksgiving req. Joseph Alexander
12:10 +Julie Spremullo Mones req. Kate & Donna
Saturday, March 21
8:00 +Tomas D. Rosete req. Rosita A. Domdom
12:10 +Ms. Fanelia Jean-Pierre & Constantin Gaspard req. by nieces & nephews
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).
The Living Temple
-Fr. Terry Walsh
In the Book of Revelation, St. John reveals the Vision of Heaven that he was granted by God for our sake. And during the course of His beautiful description of the Heavenly Jerusalem, John speaks so eloquently about the “living water.” He said, “I saw no Temple in the city, for its Temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb…Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the Throne of God and of the Lamb….also, on either side of the river, the Tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit…”(Rev. 21:22ff).
Jesus, of course, is the Lamb of God – He is the Temple. We become – as it were – “living stones” in Him, called to share in the glory of Divine Life. The “water of life” flowing through the Heavenly City is the love of God: the purpose of our existence is to share in that love! Those who respond to His call and open their hearts to God in this earthly journey receive these living waters sacramentally in “Spirit and in Truth” and, some day, perpetually in Heaven. This is all made possible through the One Perfect Sacrifice of Jesus upon the Tree of Life, that is, the Cross. St. Paul reminds us of the cost: “We boast in hope of the glory of God…and Hope does not disappoint – because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Prayer is the key. The Psalmist cries out: “Oh that today you would hear His voice, harden not your hearts!” But, are we listening? Or are we so caught up in worldly cares and concerns that are hearts have become attached to this world and have actually become deaf to the whispers of the Holy Spirit? The story about the woman at the well (John, chapter 4) helps illustrate the point. She was lost. She seemed so worn out, even bitter. Perhaps, over time, she had become accustomed to a gradual hardening of the heart. She had lost her true identity and took on a sort of defensive posture – imbued with “the spirit of world.” The garden of her soul had become a barren, dusty patch. And although she stood right next to ‘the well of living water,’ Jesus Christ, she did not recognize Him. How often our Lord stands beside us each day. Have we likewise become spiritually deaf to His beckoning? Do we truly recognize Him? Or, have our spiritual wounds turned off the faucet of grace?
When worldly concerns govern our hearts, our true identity becomes hazy – even to the point where we don’t recognize the call to divine life. Like the Samaritan woman, our Lord thirsts for our return to Him. He waits for our humble prayer, the fruit of a ‘repentant spirit.’ “Lord, give me a drink. Lord, heal me.” Lord, give me the grace to pray better and to see the way of living you expect from me. Water the ‘garden of my soul’ with the living waters gushing from your wounded side. Fill me with your love – that I may worship you ‘in Spirit and in Truth’ and so recognize your Presence in my soul. It all begins at the door of confession. What are we holding on to in our souls? What are we carrying in the Bucket we call our heart? What faults and failings – what sins? Are we, like the Samaritan woman, willing to hand them over to God and leave that worldly bucket at His feet that He may empty it through Sacramental Confession? Then, we’ll be free to take up the New Bucket – the one filled with living water.
“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts!” The Scriptures caution us: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit” – that is – don’t neglect reconciliation with God. Ask for forgiveness. Humbly crack open the hard exterior shell and allow true contrition to flow out – and thus enable the healing balm of the Holy Spirit to water your hearts and so direct your souls into the Living Temple.