For the entire bulletin with pictures, please click the following link:Bulletin for Sunday December 20, 2009

Pastor’s Corner. . .Everyone knows that we celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th.  But, who is He? For a variety of Christian and non-Christian groups and organizations, the answer to that question varies: was he a philosopher, or a prophet, or just another religious man, like Buddha, Mohammed or the Dalai Lama? Those answers are not even close. Jesus is much more, and His real identity is revealed to us by the Church later this week.
Beginning on December 17th, the Church gathers together some of the Old Testament prophecies about the Savior’s birth. At each daily Mass, these give us hints about the identity and nature of the child born of the Virgin in Bethlehem, celebrated on December 25th. These are biblical prophecies, placed in verse form in the 7th century, each beginning with the exclamation, O! These daily O’ Antiphons, as they’ve come to be known, addressed to Jesus, continue through December 23rd, and tell us that Jesus is not just another prophet, but more:
Dec. 17th: “O, Wisdom of the Most High, ordering all things with strength and gentleness, come and teach us the way of truth.”
Dec. 18th: “O, Ruler of the House of Israel, who gave the law to Moses on Sinai, come and save us with outstretched arm.” on the Cross]
Dec. 19th: “O, Root of Jesse [Father of King David], sent as a sign to the peoples, come to save us and delay no more.”
Dec. 20th: “O, Key of David, who opens the gates of the eternal kingdom, come to liberate from prison the captive [Adam] who lives in darkness.”
Dec. 21st: “O, Morning Star, radiance of eternal light, sun of justice, come and enlighten those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
Dec. 22nd: “O, King of the peoples and corner-stone of the Church, come and save mankind whom you made from the dust of the earth.”
Dec. 23rd: “O, Emmanuel, our king and lawgiver, come and save us, Lord our God.”
Saint Augustine described the effect of the birth of God in the flesh: “The faithful God made himself our debtor, not by receiving from us, but by his own promises. He even bound himself in writing, as though handing us a written pledge; thus, when he would begin to carry out his promises, we could determine from the Scriptures the very order of fulfillment.
“God’s ultimate promise was of eternal salvation, unending blessedness with the angels, an everlasting and glorious inheritance, the sweetness of his face, his holy house in heaven, resurrection from the dead, and release from fear of death. . . Thus, he promised divinity to men, immortality to mortals, justification to sinners, and glory to the humble.
“Since all this might seem incredible to us, God not only put his promises in writing in Scripture, but also gave us a Mediator, his only Son, to show how he would lead us to the promised goal. More than this, he made his Son not only show the way but himself be the very Way” [St. Augustine, Commentary on the Psalms; Psalm 109: 1-3].
On December 25th, Our Lord, the Eternal Son of the Father, Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity, the Creator of the entire universe, will be born in the flesh of the Virgin Mary, coming to rescue us from the power of sin and death. The great Easter Hymn, the Exsultet describes God’s saving work for us in Jesus: “To ransom a slave, you gave away your Son.” Our response should be one of immense awe and gratitude before this divine charity. He began this great work, as the ancient Roman Martyrology described it, by “leaping down from His eternal throne in the fullness of time”: God became a man in order to raise us up to share His divine life forever, in the flesh. Merry Christmas. -Mons. DiGiovanni

Please pray for the sick… Lois Porter, Joseph Lasko, Billy Therriault, Wendy Woodin, John Castellano, Janet Rodgers, Kevin Sutton, Anne Marie Brutus, Rene Villard, Corrie Evans, Margaret Romaine.

Please pray for those who have recently died… Msgr. Lawrence McMahon, Rev. Al Russo, William Wolf, Alfred Gautrau, David Lloyd, Evelyn Mahan, Joseph Logsdail, Peggy Pikul, Monsignor John Horgan Kung, Theodore Pikul, Rosemary Hynes Finn, George T. Murphy, William Morris, Jesus Cala, Liliane Joelle Tsemo, Elizabeth A. Coughlin, Hector Jance, Paul Rittman, Gerard P. Albert, Sheila Kilcoyne.

Monthly Collection . . . The second collection today will be the monthly collection for the parish. Your generosity is appreciated.

2010 Calendars . . . 2010 St. John’s Catholic calendars are available free and can be picked up at all the entrances and exits of the church. Please take one home per household.

CHRISTMAS CONFESSION SCHEDULE:
December 24th: 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.;
December 25th: 7:00 am-7:30 a.m.; 9:30 – 10:00 a.m.; 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 noon.

CHRISTMAS MASS SCHEDULE:
Christmas Eve: 4:00 p.m. and MIDNIGHT Solemn Mass with Choir[11:30pm: choir concert];
Christmas Day: 7:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m. celebrated by Bishop William E. Lori with Christmas Carols, 12:00 noon Solemn Choir Mass; 6:00 p.m. in Creole.

Christmas Day Collection…The Christmas second collection will be for painting the Basilica.

Mass On Line. . . Visit the parish website: www.stjohnsstamford.com, click the photo of the church up top, and you’ll see live all that’s going on in church, daily.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Ladies’ Group. . . Will NOT meet on December 26th or January 2nd.

St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies . . . Will NOT meet until February 3rd.

The Latin Reading Group. . . Meets each Wednesday at 6:15 pm in the rectory. We’re translating Egeria’s early fifth century Diary of a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Join us.

Introduction to Ecclesiastical Latin . . . Meets each Wednesday at 6:00 pm in the rectory.

Introduction to Biblical Greek . . . Will NOT meet on Christmas or New Year’s Day.

Bible Study:. . .Will NOT meet on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve.

Convert class. . .Tuesday evenings 7:30 pm—8:30 pm in the rectory. Call Fr. Walsh, ext. 14.

Legion of Mary . . . Meets each Wednesday at 7:30 pm in the rectory.

Holy Name Society. . . Will NOT meet on Christmas or New Year’s Day.

Caritas Christi urget nos. . . The Love of Christ compels us—to be charitable to others. The parish will soon begin a new work: under the leadership of a parishioner Emilio Funicella, the young adults of the parish and others will be asked to lend a hand on a regular basis to clean up Stamford neighborhoods. Emilio has been doing this for five years with hundreds of volunteers and the help of the City of Stamford. Now, he’s asked that the Basilica sponsor this work, which I am happy to do. While Emilio is an executive on Wall Street, his true love is on other streets, in Stamford, helping others recover their souls by beautifying their city. Watch the bulletin for more details as we urge more parishioners to allow the love of Christ to urge them to use their Catholic Faith to form the culture of Stamford in a hands-on, very practical way.—Mons. DiGiovanni & Fr. Walsh & Fr. Audette.

Sunday December 13, 2009 $ 13,173.00
Sunday December 14, 2008 $ 12,507.10
“I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

December 27th Sunday Readings:Sir 3:2-6, 12-14 or 1Sm 1:20-22, 24-28; Col 3:12-21 or 3:12-17 or 1 Jn 3:1-2, 21-24; Lk 2:41-52

Banns of Marriage. . . 1st Banns: Rosa Marchetti & Frank A. Federici
Hymns for this weekend . . . (1) 8 (2) 161.
Choral Music for the 12:00 Noon Mass
Mass Ordinary: Kyrie XVII A – Graduale Romanum; Sanctus & Agnus Dei from Missa sexti toni – Giovanni Croce, 1557-1609.
The Creed for the Noon Mass may be found in the hymnal at No. 289.
The Gregorian chants proper to this Sunday are: Introit Rorate coeli (Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness. Let the earth open and bring forth a Saviour. [Is. 45] The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handywork. [Ps. 19]); Alleluia Veni, Domine (Come Lord! do not delay. Pardon the sins of your people.); Offertory Ave Maria (Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. [Luke 1:28]); Communion Ecce virgo concipiet (Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel. [Isaiah 7:14]).
Offertory Motet: Adam lay ybounden – Boris Ord, 1897-1961 (Adam lay ybounden, Bounden in a bond; Four thousand winter, Thought he not too long. And all was for an apple, An apple that he took. As clerkes finden, Written in their book. Ne had the apple taken been, The apple taken been, Ne had never our ladie, Abeen heav’ne queen. Blessed be the time That apple taken was, Therefore we moun singen. Deo gracias! [Suggested by Genesis, Chap. 3]).
Communion Motet: There is no Rose – Anon., ca. 1420 (There is no rose of such virtue as is the rose that bare Jesu; Alleluia. For in this rose containèd was heaven and earth in little space; Resmiranda. By that rose we may well see that he is God in persons three; Pari forma. The angels sungen, the shepherds to: Gloria in excelsis Deo: Gaudeamus. Leave we all this worldly mirth, and follow we this joyful birth; Transeamus.).
Postlude: Rorate cœli (The Advent Prose – Traditional Roman Chant [The text may be found in the hymnal at No. 305.]).

Basilica Inauguration. . . Mark your calendar: Bishop Lori will formally inaugurate the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist on Monday February 22nd at 7 pm with Solemn Evening Prayer and Benediction celebrating the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, followed by a light refreshments. All are invited.

Job Seekers. . . Next meeting: December 21, 7:30pm in the rectory.

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 Church Hall. Please join us. Our next meeting will be on Tuesday January 5th.

Coffee Hour. . . Each Sunday after the 10:00 a.m. Mass in the parish hall. All are welcome. Please note, there will not be any coffee hour on Christmas Day or on Sunday, December 27th.

Saint Gabriel Church. . .Epiphany Celebrations—Please join us at St. Gabriel’s Church for two special liturgies for the Epiphany of the Lord. Solemn Vespers and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, Sunday Jan. 3rd at 4PM followed by wine and cheese. Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form (Latin Mass according to the 1962 Missal), Wednesday Jan. 6th at 7:30PM.

Mass Intentions+ Denotes Deceased

Saturday, December 19
4:00 +Members of DeRosa, Kronk, Capobianco & Edwin Clark req. John & Joan Kronk
Sunday, December 20
7:30 Special Intention Joseph & Mary Kim’s Family req. Joseph & Mary Kim
10:00 +Randolph Samedi req. Anne Marie Samedi
12:00 Alfredo Escobedo req. wife & daughter
6:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Sophie Pastore
Monday, December 21
8:00 +Rita Saraniero req. Sharon Gannon
12:10 +James & Adele Henson req. John & Laura Pascale
Tuesday, December 22
8:00 Father Juan G. Pineda req. Maria
12:10 Terenzio Family req. Millie & George Terenzio
Wednesday, December 23
8:00 +Rosa Osorio req. Maria
12:10 +Rose Sobieski, Birthday Remembrance req. Claire Betz, daughter
Thursday, December 24
8:00 Souls in Purgatory req. Ferry G.
12:10 Special Intention Msgr. Stephen M. DiGiovanni req. Pugliese Family
4:00 +John, Mary & Vito Melfi req. Joseph Melfi
12:00 Midnight: People of the Parish
Friday, December 25
7:30 +Charles & Florence DeSilva req. Daughter & Family
10:00 People of the Parish
12:00 Members of the Altar Guild
6:00 +Albert & Amila Carriera, parents & Louisa Carriera, sister req. Gerard J. Carriera
Saturday, December 26
8:00 +Anne Augustine Penta req. Armelle Penta
12:10 Msgr. Stephen M. DiGiovanni req. Alessandro Marchetti

Eucharistic Adoration. . . Will be postponed until completion of the church mural restoration.

Holy Name Society . . . For all men of the parish: In the rectory every Friday morning for coffee, Eucharistic adoration, benediction & prayer: 7:00 – 8:00a.m. All men of the parish are welcome. Just walk in!

Parish Ladies’ Group. . . The Immaculate Heart of Mary Ladies’ Society meets each Saturday in the Rectory, beginning at 9:30 a.m. with coffee and conversation, it moves into prayer, adoration and a spiritual conference, and concludes by 11:00 a.m. All ladies of the parish are welcome. Just walk in.

Religious Education. . . Mass attendance is, of course, required of all our students and it is hoped that all parents will attend Sunday Mass with their children. Classes meet each Sunday morning at 8:30.

Pray for an end to abortion every Wednesday. . . 7:00 -10:30a.m., Planned Parenthood, 1039 East Main St, Stamford.

St. Dominic Savio Society. . . For the spiritual formation of young men from 8th – 12th grades. Questions, please contact Ferry Galbert 324-1553 ext. 22.

St. Maria Goretti Society. . . For the spiritual formation of young ladies from 8th – 12th grades. The next meeting will be at the rectory this Sunday December 20th after the 12 pm Questions, please contact Rosa Marchetti at 203-348-0232.

The Legion of Mary. . . has begun here at St. John’s. All are welcome. Please call Fr. Walsh, ext.14, if interested. We meet on Wednesday Evenings at 7:30pm in the rectory.

St. John’s in the advocate:. . .150 years ago, or so:
December 25, 1863: CHURCH SERVICES. “In the Roman Catholic Church there will be Mass at quarter to six A. M., and the usual Christmas services at 11.”

120 years ago, or so:
December 21, 1888: A Fine Entertainment. “We need scarcely do more than call special attention to the programme printed elsewhere in order to convince our readers that a public entertainment of unusual attractiveness and variety is assured for Friday evening, December 28th, in the Town Hall. The affair is under the auspices of the choir of St. John’s R.C. Church, and it is plain the managers have been fortunate in the amount and variety of talent they have been able to enlist in aid of their enterprise. A specialty of the programme, which it is prophesied will attract uncommon attention, is the piano performance of little Fannie Naegeli, whose precocious genius as a musician and a recitationist is said to be something wonderful for one of her years. It is easy to predict a full house and a well pleased house on this occasion.”

100 years ago, or so:December 26, 1899: CHURCH CROWDED AT 5 A.M. “Roman Catholics turned out in larger numbers yesterday to observe Christmas, than did any other denomination in town, and many of them had to get up very early in order to do so. There were four services held, but the one at 5 a.m. was attended by the largest congregation of the day. Not a seat in the entire church was vacant, and there were many who had to stand. Most of those who attended had to be up soon after four. That’s pretty early, and at that time yesterday it was very cold.”

50 years ago, or so:December 22, 1960: Stamford Churches List Christmas Music. “Stamford churches will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with Masses and Services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Traditional carols and other Christmas music will be performed. St. John’s—Solemn Midnight Mass will be celebrated in the Upper Church with the Senior Choir singing “Adeste Fidelis.” The Boys’ Choir will sing “Angels We Have Heard on High,”, “Adeste Fidelis,” “Ave Verum,” “O Holy Night,” “Lo How a Rose is Blooming.” The Girls’ Choir, under the direction of Sister Matthew, will sing at the Midnight Mass in the upper church. The Missa Brevis will be sung in its entirety.”

Super-abundance via Self-Emptying
(Revisited)

-Fr. Terry Walsh

“Jesus, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” – Phillipians 2: 6-7

As we prepare for the Birth of our Savior into the world and into our souls, consider the Manifestation of the Divinity of Christ at the Wedding Feast in Cana (John 2: 1-11) and contemplate the relationship it has with the miracle in Bethlehem on that cold, dark night 2000 years ago. Both mysteries involve a super abundance flowing from a complete self-emptying – and ultimately pour out the Radiant Light of Jesus Christ in the hearts and minds of all who enter into these Mysteries. In order for us to have access to the Light of Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity had to leave His rightful Throne of Glory and take upon Himself our lowly human nature – all out of love for us. He emptied Himself in order to bathe us in His Light in a super-abundant way. Yet, before we can receive His abundant Light, His gift of Divine Life, we too must undergo a “self-emptying” – a purification of our “inner-man” so that we might become “children of the Light.” And this illumination is beautifully demonstrated at the Marriage Feast in Cana.
When Jesus and His disciples arrive at the scene in Cana, we notice that Mary is already there. While She is indeed the Great Mother of God, She is nevertheless deeply concerned about the smallest details of every single one of her Children – that includes you and me. Just as She interceded at the Marriage Feast, so too does She intercede for us at the Throne of the Holy Trinity with a Mother’s love. Mary is intimately and mysteriously involved in the Salvific Mission of her Son. Through her warm and tender love, She gave birth to Jesus in a dark and troubled world. Through the humility of Mary and through her faithful obedience to the Father, Jesus came into the world to dispel the darkness of Sin and all who come to believe in Him are baptized into His Mystical Body and receive His indescribable Light. DeMontfort reminds us, “Jesus comes to us through Mary and we return to Him through her.”
Our Lord listens to His Mother with the same love and affection today as He did at that wedding so many centuries ago. St. Louis de Montfort underscores her role: “Mary is his mystic channel, his aqueduct, through which he causes his mercies to flow gently and abundantly.” His grace flows to the married couple in Cana through her humble plea. As faithful children of so loving a Mother, we too must listen to our Mother as she beckons us: “Do whatever He tells you!” Some have suggested that the 6 Purification Jars actually represent our hearts and minds, our bodies and souls, our wills and intellects. We fill these jars with the waters of His Divine Grace. But, here’s the catch: before we can fill the jars with His pure and refreshing water, we must first EMPTY our jars of all the impurities caked up inside them. We must clean them out by 1st humbly acknowledging our sins and allowing our Lord to purify us through Sacramental Confession. Once emptied of impurities, we’re then prepared to receive the super-abundant gift of His Divine Light – to the brim! And, through our humble response to his grace, these refreshing waters are turned into the fine wine of Divine love. It’s all made possible through his humble self-emptying – and the humble YES of the Virgin. Jesus is born in our souls – and His Light shines out to a world in darkness – through us. Our “inner-man” is filled with Divine Life and we truly become “children of the Light.”