–Pastor’s Corner . . . This Sunday ushers in the period of Passiontide. Our attention is centered entirely upon the sacrificial aspect of Jesus’ life and ministry: Jesus’ Passion and suffering, death on the Cross, descent into hell, bodily resurrection from the dead and ascension to Heaven, are as so many acts in His conflict with Satan, and in His triumph over death. To underscore this, all statues and the crucifix on the altar are covered: the Church wears her “widow’s weeds”, as it were: she begins to mourn, and allows nothing to distract her concentration on the sacrificial death of Her Bridegroom, Jesus the Lord. Passiontide, likewise, recalls the victory of Christ’s Cross and of every faithful Christian over Satan, and not just the battle.
After the rediscovery of the True Cross in Jerusalem in the early 4th century—it had been buried and preserved beneath a temple to Jupiter, built atop the ancient memorial of Our Lord’s death at Calvary by the 2nd century Roman Emperor Hadrian—veneration of the Cross grew more popular. The reality of the Cross had been expressed already clearly in the New Testament, especially in the Letter to the Hebrews and the four Gospels. By the fourth century these teachings became more popularly expressed: the Cross as the instrument of our salvation, but, also as the throne of Christ’s glory and the sign of His victory over Satan and death. The ancient Holy Thursday Eucharistic hymn, Pange, expresses this: “Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle; over the trophy of the Cross, proclaim the noble triumph; tell how the Redeemer of the world won victory through His sacrifice. The Creator looked on sadly as the first man, Adam, was deceived, and as he fell into the snare of death, taking a bite of a lethal fruit; it was then that God chose this blessed piece of wood [the Cross] to destroy the other tree’s curse. You alone, O’ Cross, have been worthy to carry the ransom of the world; mankind’s ship had gone down beneath the waves, but you opened the way to our port of rescue. For you, O’ Cross, are anointed with the sacred blood which sprung forth from the body of the Lamb.”
Saint John’s is blessed in many ways. As we approach the holiest time of the year, Holy Week, one blessing stands out in my mind: the parish has a Relic of the True Cross: the wood upon which hung the salvation of the world in the person of Jesus. It was a gift a few years ago, and fully documented, set in a beautiful 18th century Flemish sterling silver reliquary. You may have noticed that the door of the tabernacle on the Saint Joseph side altar is missing: I’ve removed it, and will replace it with an unbreakable plexi-glass door set in a brass frame, which will lock. The small tabernacle will become a Shrine of the Holy Cross: it will be used as a permanent reliquary of the True Cross; the relic will be on permanent display for the veneration of our parishioners throughout the years, locked behind an unbreakable but clear door. Hopefully, all will be ready in a week or so.
Spend some time during this week and during the one following, which is Holy Week, meditating on Christ’s generous sacrifice to save you: go to Confession, and join in the Holy Week services on April 9th, 10th and 11th.
Please pray for the sick… Lily Rice, Marion Giordano, 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… Alice Banning, Paul Eldridge, Antoinetta Fiore, Marie Corcoran, Eugene Rizzi, Denis O’Neil, Cecila Tucker, Edith O’Hara, Vincenzo Giannitti Alverta Sahd, Frances Lorusso, Thomas Carucci, Sr.
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. Our regular schedule of daily confessions continues, as well.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS . . . each Friday during Lent:
4:00 p.m. English Stations; 6:00 p.m. Creole Stations
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: April 2nd.
St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies … We will next meet on Wednesday, May 6th in the rectory at 7:30 p.m. to study early Baptismal catechesis of the first centuries of the Church.
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: April 2nd: Review Lessons XI & XII.
Introduction to Ecclesiastical Latin… a goodly number of parishioners have asked about a parish Latin grammar course: I’m willing if you are. We could meet once each week, beginning the first week in June: this could be your summer study course! It will be basic grammar—Dick and Jane—so, don’t be afraid. If you’re interested, please give Monsignor a call: 324-1553, ext. 11. Like all other parish classes/study groups, there will be no charge.
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 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 their 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
A SPRING GARDEN PARTY
A Parish Spring Parish Fundraising Event:
Sunday, May 3, 2009. We hope you will join us for a great event – fabulous dinner, musical charms, exciting auctions. – Individual seats $75 per person, special tables available – 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 April 5th: Mk. 11:1-10 or Jn. 12:12-16 (37), Is. 50:4-7; Phil. 2:6-11; Mk. 14:1-15:47 or 15:1-39 (38)
Marriage Bann: 1st Lionel Francisco Pina & Jody Ann Fay.
Hymns for this weekend . . . (1) 50 (2) 69 (Tune: Picardy). 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: Mass for Five Voices – William Byrd, 1540-1623. Offertory motet: Peccantem me quotidie – Christóbal de Morales, c. 1500-1553 (The fear of death overwhelms me, who sin every day and do not repent: For in hell is no redemption. Have mercy on me. O God spare me!). Communion motets: 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]); He was despisèd (from Messiah, Sarah Bleasdale, mezzo-soprano). The Gregorian chants proper to this Sunday are: Introit Judica me Deus (Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly nation; from wicked and deceitful men deliver me, for you are my God and my strength. Send forth your light and your truth; these have led me and brought me to your holy mountain and to your dwelling place. [Ps. 43:1,2,3]); Tract Sæpe expugnaverunt me (Often have they fought against me from my youth. Let Israel now say: Often have they fought against me from my youth. Yet, they have not prevailed against me: my back has become an anvil for the hammering of sinners. They have long oppressed me with their iniquities. But the Lord of justice will break the necks of sinners. [Psalm 129:1-4]); Offertory Confitebor tibi (I will praise you, O Lord, with my whole heart; deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and observe your word; revive me according to your word, O Lord. [Psalm 119:7, 10, 17, and 25]); Communion Qui mihi ministrat (If a man would serve me, let him follow me; wherever I am, my servant will also be. [John 12:26]). Postlude: Psalm 50 – Tonus peregrinus.
Lenten Concert . . . A wonderful tradition here at St. John’s has become to observe today, the fifth Sunday in Lent, with a spiritual exercise through the great art of the composer Franz Josef Haydn. This afternoon at 3:00 p.m. the Arianna String Quartet will perform The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross. 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 about an hour 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!
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.
The Shippan Point Garden Club… Will host its May Market Fundraiser: Plant Sale and Tag Sale, Raffle & Silent Auction. There’ll be great food! On Saturday, May 9th, 9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at Our Lady Star of the Sea, 1200 Shipppan Avenue. Treasure hunters come early!! All proceeds will be used for environmental programs, scholarships and civic plantings.
St. John’s in The News . . .
. . . 50 years ago, or so:
March 30, 1956: Catholics Crowd Churches For New Holy Week Rites. “Stamford’s Catholic Churches shared on Thursday an experience reported from many localities; unprecedented attendance at Holy Thursday Masses. This year, for the first time, evening Masses were the rule instead of morning Masses, in keeping with instructions from Pope Pius XII. The Pope pointed out that more people would be able to attend the evening Masses and that evening services would be closer in the time of day to the events of the Passion of Christ that are commemorated. Rt. Rev. Msgr. Nicholas P. Coleman said that although the 5 p.m. Mass at St. John’s Church was attended by a capacity congregation, this was not unprecedented for St. John’s Church. At morning Masses in previous years, the Church, centrally located, was attended usually by large numbers from that and other parishes who could go to morning Mass and still get to their place of work in time.”
April 4, 1956: $1 Million Goal Passed In Drive For Catholic HS. “The Stamford Catholic High School Building Fund Campaign exceeded the $1 million goal set for the first phase of the campaign when reports of pledges for memorial gifts were announced Tuesday night as totaling $1,030,189. The Most Rev. Lawrence J. Shehan, Bishop of Bridgeport; the Rt. Rev. Msgr. John J. Hayes, pastor of St. Mary’s, and the Rt. Rev. Msgr. Nicholas P. Coleman, pastor of St. John’s, spoke to the workers, expressing their pleasure over the results of the first phase and thanking the workers for their efforts.”
April 3, 1958: Stamford Churches Plan Programs Of Easter Music. “Programs of Easter music have been planned for special and regular services of most Stamford’s churches for Easter Sunday. In addition, many churches are planning special services and other observances for today, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. St. John’s – Holy Thursday, Solemn Mass and procession of the Blessed Sacrament, 5 p.m. Good Friday, Communion service and Adoration of the Cross, 3 p.m. Holy Saturday, Easter vigil service, 7:30 p.m., to be followed by the first Easter Mass. Easter – Music at 11 a.m. by the senior choir and boys’ choir. “Missa Stella Matutina,” by the adults, and Easter hymns and Alleluias by the boys. The girls’ choir will sing at 9.”
April 4, 1959: “The Children of Mary Society of St. John’s Church will meet Sunday after the 8 a.m. Mass in the school hall. St. John’s Holy Name Society will hold a special meeting at 8 p.m. Monday, in the lower Chapel.”
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.
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.
Saturday, March 28
4:00 +Members of DeRosa, Kronk, Capobianco, families & Edwin Clark req. John & Joan Kronk
Sunday, March 29
7:30 Thanksgiving to God req. Melissa Ternier
10:00 +Guglielmo Labrosciano rq. The Labrosciano Family
12:00 +Mrs. Shirley William req. Juanita I. Evans
6:00 +Patrick Kane & Family req. Estate of Catherine Kane & Family
Monday, March 30
8:00 +Diane Greene req. Maude & Paul Hughes & Family
12:10 +Rose Giancola req. Millie & George Terenzio & Family
Tuesday, March 31
8:00 Mr. & Mrs. Robert Cassidy 50th wedding anniversary req. Denis & Kristen Cassidy
12:10 +Jeff Brown req. Paul Murphy
Wednesday, April 1
8:00 +Tom Weathers req. Paul Murphy
12:10 Special Intention Ann & Jo Corcione req. Renella family
Thursday, April 2
8:00 +Frank Walsh req. Cecilia Nino & family
12:10 +Charles DeSilva req. daughter & family
Friday, April 3
8:00 +Margaret Timon req. Thomas A. Timon
12:10 +John Lancaster req. Susan Kremheller
Saturday, April 4
8:00 +Maureen Elaine Smith & Smith family req. daughter
12:10 Special Intention Deliverance Philippe Renard req. mother
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.
Pray for an end to abortion every Wed. 7:00 -10:30 a.m., Planned Parenthood, 1039 East Main St, Stamford.
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).
The Resurrection of the Body
– Fr Terry Walsh
“Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.”
– John 12
As we approach the great Solemnity of Easter, we quite naturally meditate on the promise of Resurrection, all made possible by the death and Resurrection of our Lord. “If the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the One who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through His Spirit dwelling in you.” What hopeful words we hear from St. Paul. And how does it all come about? How do we receive the Spirit into our souls? Speaking through the Prophet Ezekiel, the Divine Word ushers in this hope when He proclaims: “When I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people! I will put my Spirit in you that you may live…” He prepares the way for the Resurrection of the Soul through the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit – God living IN us; for when the Spirit dwells in us, we have a power that is not our own: the power to love, to forgive, to understand, to have wisdom and knowledge, and boundless grace. It is God’s strength working in us – through our faithful cooperation – enabling us to seek the Truth and to abide in the Truth; to seek holiness, and purity – it comes to us at a great cost: the sacrifice of Christ. Our Lord tells us: “I am the Resurrection and the Life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” Of course, Jesus is referring to Eternal Beatitude, being caught up into the love of the Holy Trinity’ – to bask in His light forever – a light that we receive through the gift of faith, nourished Sacramentally, especially through the Eucharist, Confession, and of course, prayer.
Through Mary’s faithful consent, God took on our flesh in order to redeem it – to sanctify it – to enable us to rise with Him to new life. Jesus unbinds us from the shroud of sin and death so that we might live in the Spirit. Mary said yes to God. Jesus, likewise, was obedient to the will of the Father – even to the Cross. And so now our Lord asks us to choose. He offers life and blessings if we follow Him. What will you say? If you choose life in the Spirit, you will indeed be free from eternal death. He will remove every stain of sin, through the door of confession, and allow your soul to soar to heaven, unencumbered by the weight of sin.
Think back for a moment to the tears shed by the Blessed Mother as Jesus was taken down from the Cross and laid in Her arms. As Mary carefully wrapped His Sacred Body, binding His many wounds, weeping and grieving at the evil done to Him, perhaps the echo of His words resonated in Her heart: “I am the Resurrection. He who believes in Me will not die.” What incomparable tears of sorrow must have streamed from Her eyes. Why did they reject Him? Why did they cling to their petty jealousies, their envy, and let their pride get the better of them?
Forty hours after He drew His last breath on the Cross, Jesus would rise from the dead – death had no power over Him – and now – through Him – it has no power over us. He cast aside the burial cloth, the Holy Shroud. Indeed, the radiant light of His Resurrection left an indelible mark on the Holy Shroud as testimony of His words and now it leaves an indelible mark on our souls through Baptism. Scientists explain that the image of his wounded body emblazoned upon the shroud is actually characteristic of the power and magnitude of a nuclear blast. All who believe in Him share in His radiant Light. ‘In His Light, we see light’ – never to be bound by the darkness anymore. We simply need to follow Him…. “If the Spirit of the One who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through His Spirit dwelling in you.”