Pastor’s Corner . . . March offers two great solemnities: the 19th is that of Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary; and the 25th is the Solemnity of the Annunciation. They are related, since Saint Joseph willingly sacrificed his hoped for joys of being a father when asked by God to do so for one reason: for love of God, and to play a far greater role as the foster father of the Savior, and the protector of the Mother of God. The opening prayer for the day says it perfectly: “Almighty God, in its beginning you entrusted the mystery of mankind’s salvation to the faithful protection of Saint Joseph. By his intercession may your Church. . .bring that salvation to full flower.”
The ancient name for the Annunciation on the 25th was “the Feast of the Incarnation”, when the Word [the Second Person of the Trinity; the Eternal Son of the Father] took to Himself our human nature in the womb of Blessed Virgin Mary in Nazareth when she said to the angel Gabriel, “Be it done unto me according to thy word” [Luke 1:38]. It was exactly then that, by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, a body was fashioned from the Virgin’s flesh and blood, a rational soul was created and infused into that body [as in every instance of human conception in the womb of a mother], and, in the same instant, the complete human nature was united to the divine person of the Father’s eternal Son. God became a human being at the moment of his conception in the Virgin’s womb. That is what the Church celebrated on March 25th–Nine months before Christmas. Why did God become a man? –In order to redeem mankind on the Cross. God’s love for sinful mankind is so strong that He determined to save us by entering into man’s concrete destiny and experiencing his very life, suffering, death and Hell, in order to free us by means of solidarity with us, and raising us to share His divine life forever. The God who feels no pain and knows no change because He is perfect and eternal, assumed a human nature and body like ours in order suffer and to offer it in sacrifice, so that the whole human person might obtain salvation. As Pope Saint Leo the Great described it, “He descended into what is ours [our human nature and body] to assume not just the substance but also the condition of sinful nature.”[Sermon 71, 2] Some of the earliest Church Fathers reckoned that March 25th was both the day of Adam’s creation and fall into sin, as well as the date of God’s Incarnation, and Christ’s death on Calvary: the second Adam [Christ] coming to rescue the first Adam by taking on flesh and sacrificing that flesh on the Cross. While the history is more whimsical than accurate, the reality is clearly expressed: Christ, the new Adam, came to save the old Adam. This was repeated by a medieval author: “Hail festive day [March 25th], that staunches our wounds, the Angel is sent, Christ dies on the Cross, and Adam is created and falls on the same day.” [Summa Aurea, vol. I, 602] Another medieval poem claimed that Christ’s Cross was fashioned from the wood of an apple tree, since mankind’s fall came when Adam picked and ate the forbidden apple in the Garden of Eden. While not historically accurate, the reality is expressed: the final goal of the Incarnation—God becoming a man—is the Cross. But there is more: God became a man to redeem us not only from but for something: entry, by grace, into the life of the Blessed Trinity. The Three Divine Persons all contribute to our salvation, in the Incarnation, in order that we might share their life. St. John of the Cross brought this out clearly in one of his poems: “Though the three Persons worked the wonder, it only happened in the One, so was the Word made incarnation, in Mary’s womb, a Son.” The Incarnation, the Death and Resurrection of Jesus on the Cross, and Pentecost, the beginning of the Church, are all expressions of God’s love in the reality of our life, to lead us to share the life of the Trinity forever. —Msgr. DiGiovanni
Please pray for the sick… Marion Gioradno, 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
American Bishop Overseas Collection . . . Please drop your American Bishop Overseas Collection envelope into the ONE basket that will be passed at the Offertory. There will only be one collection today.
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 at 5:00 p.m. 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! Next meeting: March 26th.
St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies … We will next meet on Wednesday, March 25th in the rectory at 7:30 p.m. to continue studying Celtic Saints and their works.
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 p.m. in the rectory: March 26th: Review Lessons X & XI.
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 18th, March 25th, April 1st, April 15th, April 22nd and April 29th. 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 13th 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 29th: Jer. 31:31-34,; Heb. 5:7-9; Jn. 12:20-33 (35) or, for Year A, Ez. 37:12-14, Rom. 8:8-11; Jn. 11:1-45 or 11:3-7, 17, 20-27, 33b-45 (34)
Hymns for this weekend . . . (1) 262 (2) 54. The Creed for the Noon Mass may be found in the hymnal at No. 289.
March 29th Lenten Concert . . . Franz Josef Haydn’s spiritual exercise The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross at 3:00 p.m., performed by the Arianna String Quartet. One of most highly regarded string quartets of all time and among Haydn’s last and best works, this vivid musical portrait of the crucifixion of Our Lord is narrated by Msgr. DiGiovanni and is only 45 min. in length. There is a free pre-concert lecture by Scott Turkington at 2:30 p.m. in Nagle Hall. $10.00 suggested donation. Please come! Concert is in the church at 3:00 p.m.
Choral Music for the 12:00 Noon Mass . . . Mass Ordinary: Missa de feria – Orlando di Lasso, 1532-1594. Offertory motet: Nolo mortem peccatoris – Thomas Morley, c. 1557 – 1602 (Nolo mortem peccatoris; Haec sunt verba Salvatoris. Father, I am thine only Son, sent down from heav’n mankind to save. Father, all things fullfilled and done according to thy will I have. Father, my will now all is this: Nolo mortem peccatoris. Father, behold my painful smart, taken for man on ev’ry side; ev’n from my birth to death most tart, no kind of pain I have denied, but suffered all, and all for this: Nolo mortem peccatoris.). The Gregorian chants proper to this Sunday are: Introit Lætare Ierusalem (Rejoice, O Jerusalem; and gather round, all you who love her; rejoice in gladness, after having been in sorrow; exult and be replenished with the consolation flowing from her motherly bosom.” [Cf. Isaiah 66:10,11; Psalm 122]); Tract Qui confidunt (Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion; the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall never be shaken. [Psalm 125:1.2]); Offertory Laudate Dominum (Praise the Lord, for he is loving; sing in honour of his name, for he is gracious. He has accomplished whatever he resolved to do in heaven and on earth. [Psalm 135:3,6]); Communion Ierusalem quae ædificatur ut civitas (Jerusalem, built as a city whose parts are bound firmly together! It is there that the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord. [Psalm 122:3,4]). Postlude: Psalm 50 – Tonus peregrinus.
Calling all 10:00 a.m. Mass Singers for the Adult Choir . . . Rehearsals are Thursday nights at 7:30 p.m. in the music room in the basement of the church. For more information, call Scott Turkington 324-1553, ext. 18.
Holy Week . . . begins on Palm Sunday, April 5th. Special Holy Week Services: Wednesday, April 8th, 8:00 p.m. Tenebrae; Holy Thursday, April 9th, 8:00 p.m., Mass of the Lord’s Supper with adoration ‘till midnight. Good Friday, April 10th, 3:00 p.m.: Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion; Saturday, April 11th: Holy Saturday, 8:00 p.m. Easter Vigil. Please mark your calendar and join us.
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. Monday, March 23rd, 7:30 p.m. in the Rectory. Free! Bring your job search questions!
t. John’s in The News . . .
. . . 100 years ago, or so:
The Connecticut Catholic:
March 28, 1885: STAMFORD. “The Children of Mary will receive Holy Communion in a body on Sunday. On Sunday, at last Mass, the blessed palm will be distributed, as in former years. Father May, of Birmingham (now known as Derby), delivered a sermon on Wednesday evening, and impressed his hearers with the importance of a prompt conversion from sin. Confessions will be heard on next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings, consequently there will be no sermon on Wednesday. The ceremonies on next Thursday, Friday and Saturday will be of a very impressive nature.”
The Connecticut Catholic:
March 26, 1887: STAMFORD: “On last Thursday night, the 17th, Rev. Father Brady of Portchester, N.Y., delivered in the church a lecture on the life of Ireland’s patron saint in a manner that interested his hearers. There were many strangers present and were well pleased with the lecturer. Before the lecture there were grand musical vespers by the choir of the parish assisted by Mrs. J. Hayden Waud, who sang as soprano soloist and Mr. H. Lawyer Daskam, who sang as tenor soloist. The lecture was followed by benediction. Father Ryle of New Haven was in town Wednesday and that evening delivered a sermon and spoke in an able manner.”
The Stamford Advocate:
March 26, 1909: “The order of service in St. John’s R. C. Church, this week, was reversed – the stations of the cross being observed Wednesday evening and this evening, the service usually held Wednesday, with a sermon, will be held. Holy Hour was observed last night from 7:30 till 8:30, with singing by the children’s choir.”
The Stamford Advocate:
March 23, 1923: HONORS FOR THE REV. FR. KELLY. Retiring Principal of St. John’s School Receives Gifts from Children and Adults. “Honors were showered all day yesterday upon the Rev. John J. Kelly, who has just taken charge of the new Italian parish. Beginning at the parish hall of St. John’s Parochial School in the morning, where the children took part in a demonstration, receptions were held during the afternoon and evening at his new rectory, 77 Fairfield Avenue. More than 600 children were present at the demonstration in the morning, which they greeted the retiring principal of the school with songs. The feature of this occasion was the speech of little Louis Racco, who concluded with a presentation to the popular principal of a purse of gold, coming from the pupils. Father Kelly responded fittingly. In the afternoon and evening he was made the recipient of many other gifts of a varied sort, as the hundreds of his former parishioners and new friends came and went. Among the gifts was a handsome one from the eight o’clock Choir of St. John’s Catholic Church. The committee in charge of the reception, composed of women of both old and new parishes, supplied refreshments during the reception. The new principal of St. John’s Parochial School is the Rev. Henry M. Callahan.”
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 21
4:00 +William Borkowski req. Michael & Ann Borkowski
Sunday, March 22
7:30 +John & Evelyn Sexton req. Hannah Young
10:00 +Florence De Silva req. daughter & family
12:00 +Candida Ortega Ayes req. the Marchetti family
6:00 Thanks to God req. Elsie Valcour Cenelos
Monday, March 23
8:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Fabiola C.
12:10 Anne Marie & Mario Incalicchio req. Maude & Paul Hughes
Tuesday, March 24
8:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
12:10 Special Intention Jerry Corcione req. Ann & Jo Corcione
Wednesday, March 25
8:00 Jeannette Kim req. Sharon Gannon
12:10 +Jeannette Melsenti 1st Anniversary req. Millie Terenzio
Thursday, March 26
8:00 Thanksgiving to God req. Fabiola C.
12:10 +Frank Tartell req. Michael Tartell
Friday, March 27
8:00 +Ida C. Andersen req. Ann Bello
12:10 +Andrew & Katherine Bosilevas family req. son James
Saturday, March 28
8:00 +Frank Janesch req. Cycon family
12:10 Emmett O’Hara & Family req. Maude & Paul Hughes
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: www.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).
-Fr Terry Walsh
“Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness….Awake, O Sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” – Saint Paul
Lent is a season of Conversion: “Repent, and Believe in the Gospel.” It is a season of opportunity. Our Lord is calling us to a deeper, more faithful relationship with Him. But, saying yes to God means turning away from worldliness which very often blind us to our true end, fellowship with God. The world tempts us to look away from God and place attention selfishly on ourselves. Consequently, the efficacy and even the mystery of the Sacraments can be lost. It takes effort to sit still for a few moments and silently reflect on how God is working in our souls; that is, how He mysteriously anoints us and administers supernatural graces that revive us and enable our spiritual eyes grow stronger. We become more adept at discerning truth and purity and holiness through a deeper prayer life and a more faithful reception of the sacraments. In order to bear fruit, we have to put these “gifts of the Holy Spirit” to work, and, in the quiet of our souls, become docile to the path God calls us to travel. When we’re filled with the Holy Spirit, we’ll begin to see as God sees. We won’t be tempted to see as man sees: man who is so fallible, so proud; man who judges on appearances as if he possessed perfect knowledge and understanding. Pride blinds us. It darkens the eyes of our soul and makes us look silly. It beguiles us along a very dangerous path that constantly chips away at our true identity as “Children of the Light.”
In the Gospel of John (chapter 9) we hear the story of the man born blind. Our Lord uses the occasion to teach that He alone is the True Light. Through Him, we are able to see all that is True. Humility is the key. The Pharisees were the leaders of God’s Holy People, but they had lost their way. They were angry men. Why? Well, they were envious of this Jesus. Could it be that they allowed themselves to be caught up in the imagination of their minds? Had they become ‘little kings’ unto themselves? Could it be that they preferred the appearance of being wise and learned and deserving of respect rather than humbly bowing down before God? Had the Pharisees truly been wise, they would have been men of deep prayer and their prayer would have led them to spiritual purity. They would have recognized Who it was that walked in their midst. They would have witnessed through the eyes of love and mercy the manifestation of the divinity of this Jesus, humbly healing the man born blind – relieving his life-long suffering. They would have rejoiced with hearts overflowing in awe and wonder – not only because of his merciful healing, but even more because they would have clearly recognized that the time of their own spiritual captivity would have been over. The great Healer was staring right at them! How could they possibly have missed Him? They were looking right at Him! How could they have missed the very One they claimed to be waiting for – the Messiah! How? Well, perhaps they weren’t really looking for Him after all. Perhaps they were really only concerned about satisfying their own worldly desires. Perhaps they allowed their conscience to be formed by the world – and not by God. They weren’t really interested in spiritual purity. They were more interested in filling their greedy hearts with worldly stuff. The man born blind, on the other hand, possessed a great gift, even before Jesus restored his sight. The man born blind was filled with humility. It was his humility that allowed the Holy Spirit to rush upon him. It was his humility that that enabled him to forget himself so that he could focus his attention upon the Anointed One. In the midst of the angry mob, that humble soul overflowed with love and gratitude, declaring unequivocally, “I do believe in the Son of Man!” What could his foes do to harm his radiant soul? They could beat him. Perhaps even kill him. It really didn’t matter – the Son of Man, the Messiah, knew his name – loved him – healed him and “led him beside restful waters and refreshed his soul.” Those arrogant Pharisees couldn’t harm his soul. It was protected. That poor humble man knew well his own identity – he was a soul loved by God – and he in turn offered him thanks and praise!