Pastor ’s Corner. . . The sanctuary is too important a place for mere pretty decoration. In 1927 when it was created by Thomas D. McGee, a parishioner, commissioned by the pastor, Father James O’Brien, its design was to be a portrait of God’s recreating of His creation, marred by Adam’s sin, and restored by the obedience of the Second Adam, Jesus Christ.
“I am the True vine and my Father is the husbandman. . . I am the vine; you the branches: He that abides in me and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing” [John 15: 1; 5-6]. This is what the completely restored sanctuary murals are all about: our sharing of the very life of the Trinity because God entered human history by becoming one of us, to be sacrificed on the Cross, and raised from the dead.
Jesus’ statement about our union with Him: “I am the vine, you the branches”, describes more than a mere unity with Christ through shared ideas, ideology or even faith. It describes our truly sharing God’s life. How? Let’s look first at the sanctuary windows, for the decorative murals are joined to them: the windows are the three most important actions of God in restoring all creation: the Incarnation: God becomes a man; the Crucifixion: the obedient sacrifice of the Son that reconciles creation to the Father; the Resurrection: Jesus, God and man, raised from the dead, body and soul: the full human person restored to intimate and eternal life with God.
The vines around the windows suggest God’s initial creation: the Garden of Eden. It is symbolic of the perfect relationship between us and God, ruined by Adam’s first, or original sin, and by our own sins. The vines are also symbolic of God’s new creation by Christ, and His sharing His divine life in every time and place through His Bride, the Church. This whole creative and re-creative process involves the Three Persons of the Trinity, symbolized by images atop each of the three windows: The creative Hand of God the Father on the left; The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, on the right; the Holy Spirit who sanctifies, in the center. It is through the Church that we share the very life of the Trinity, and this is symbolized around the central window. The Church’s life flows from the pierced side of the Crucified Lord, which is the fountain of Sacramental Life. Christ sent the Holy Spirit to create the Church, by which He could continue to sanctify every person throughout the ages and in all places. The Dove of the Holy Spirit above the central Crucifixion window gives us Divine Revelation in the Gospels, represented by the four roundels, each with a sign of the Gospel authors:
–top left: the Ox of Saint Luke;
–bottom left: the Angel of Saint Matthew;
–top right: the Eagle of Saint John the Evangelist, our patron;
–bottom right: the Lion of Saint Mark.
But the Holy Spirit give us more: Revelation leads us to God, but God shares with us His life through the Sacraments in the Church: “I am the Vine, you are the branches.”
I am grateful to the late William E. Thomson, who left funds in his estate sufficient to complete this work. Please pray for him, who served this parish generously for decades. I am also grateful to John Canning and his crew of artisans who restored this mural. Likewise to Lou Blanco and his men who labored with the scaffolding. All worked very hard to make sure this was completed in time for Christmas. I also must thank Marion Morris and all the staff, whose behind-the-scenes work makes so much happen here. We have a great team here at Saint John’s, and I thank God every day for them and for this parish. -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, George “Bud” Ayers, 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.
January 1st, New Years. . . IS A HOLY DAY OF OBLIGATION. The schedule is:
NEW YEAR’S CONFESSION SCHEDULE:January 1st: 7:30 am-7:50 a.m.; 11:30 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
NEW YEAR’S MASS SCHEDULE:New Year’s Eve: 5:15 pm.
New Year’s Day: 8:00 a.m., 12:10 pm, 5:15 pm.
A Plenary Indulgence is offered on December 31st: for those who visit a church and recite the hymn, Te Deum, in gratitude for the blessings of 2009. One must also be in the state of grace, or go to confession, and receive Holy Communion on December 31st for the Indulgence.
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 next meet on January 6th.
St. Monica Institute for Patristic Studies . . . Will next meet on February 3rd.
The Latin Reading Group. . . Will meet January 6th.
Introduction to Ecclesiastical Latin . . . Will meet January 6th.
Introduction to Biblical Greek . . . Will meet December 31st, New Year’s Eve, at 6:30 pm.
Bible Study. . . Will next meet January 7th.
Convert class. . .Tuesday evenings 7:30 pm—8:30 pm in the rectory. Next class Jan 5 Call Fr. Walsh, ext. 14.
Legion of Mary . . . Meets each Wednesday at 7:30 pm in the rectory. Next meeting will be January 6th.
Holy Name Society. . . Will NOT meet on Christmas or New Year’s Day.
Thomas More College. . . Is hosting its annual Winter Open House on Monday, February 15th. High school seniors, juniors, their friends and family are encouraged to visit, attend classes, have lunch and speak with students and faculty. Located in Merrimack, New Hampshire, Thomas More offers a Great books education, firmly rooted in the Catholic tradition. For more information call 1-800-880-8308; or email: admissions@ThomasMoreCollege.edu; or visit their website: www.ThomasMoreCollege.edu
Sunday December 20, 2009 $ 7,921.00 (Snow Storm)
Sunday December 21, 2008 $ 15,223.90 “I ask you one thing: do not tire of giving to God, but do not give your leftovers.”
—Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
January 3rd Sunday Readings: Is 60:1-6; Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6; Mt 2:1-12
Banns of Marriage. . . 2nd Banns: Rosa Marchetti & Frank A. Federici
Hymns for this weekend . . . (1) 13 (2) 21.
Choral Music for the 12:00 Noon Mass Mass Ordinary: Missa brevis – Andrea Gabrieli, 1532-1585.
The Creed for the Noon Mass may be found in the hymnal at No. 289.
The Gregorian chants proper to this Sunday are: Introit Deus in loco sancto suo (God is in his holy dwelling place; the God who causes us to dwell together, one at heart, in his house; he himself will give power and strength to his people. Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered; and let those who hate him flee before his face. [Ps. 68:6,7,36&2]); Alleluia Gaudete iusti in Domino (Rejoice in the Lord, O you just. It is fitting that loyal hearts should praise him. [Psalm 33:1]); Offertory In te speravi, Domine (In you have I put my trust, O Lord; I said: “You are my God, my destiny is in your hands.” [Psalm 31:15,16]); Communion Fili, quid fecisti nobis sic? (My son, why have you treated us so? Your father and I have been anxiously looking for you. – How is it that you were seeking me? Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business? [Luke 2:48,49]).
Offertory Motet: It Came Upon the Midnight Clear – Arranged by Sir David Willcocks, b. 1919. (The text may be found in the hymnal at No. 25.)
Communion 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]).
Singers, men and women, for the 10:00 a.m. Family Mass are needed. This volunteer choir rehearses at 8:15 AM, on Sundays only, in the Choir Room. If you regularly attend the 10:00 AM Mass, would you consider lending your voice to our choir? Please call Scott Turkington for more information: 324-1553, ext. 18 or STurkington@optonline.net.
Caritas Christi Urget Nos. . . The Love of Christ compels us—to be charitable to others. The parish’s newest good work: under the guidance of Emilio Funicella, the young adults of the parish and others are invited to lend a hand on a regular basis to clean up Stamford neighborhoods. Stay tuned for more information.
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.
Coffee Hour. . . Please note, there will not be any coffee hour on Sunday, December 27th. Coffee hour will resume January 3rd after the 10:00 a.m. Mass in the parish hall. All are welcome.
Moms & Tots . . . A group of moms and their children meet with Fr. Walsh each first Tuesday of every month at 10:30 a.m. Please join us. Our next meeting: Tuesday January 5th.
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. All are invited.
+ Denotes Deceased
Saturday, December 26
4:00: +Stephen & Nicholas Churley & Eva, Charles, Nicholas, Ann, Joseph, Charles Kronk, Charles Kronk, Jr., req. by Mary Churley.
Sunday, December 27
7:30: +Nang Nguyen, req. by Thang Nguyen
10:00: +Randolph Samedi, req. by Anne Marie Samedi
12:00: +William Borkowski, req. by Michael & Ann Borkowski
6:00: Maria Trivino, Birthday req. by Lilian & Alvina Ramos
Monday, December 28
8:00: +Anne Augustine Penta, 14th year remembrance, req. by Armelle Penta
12:10: +John & Angelina Pascale, req. by John & Laura Pascale
Tuesday, December 29
8:00: Barbara Schuerger, req. by Maria
12:10: +John Conte, req. by Anthony & Carolyn Conte
Wednesday, December 30
8:00: +Ella C. Palumba, req. by Gigi Pohl
12:10: +Souls in Purgatory, req. by Ferry G.
Thursday, December 31
8:00: Special intentions of the Joseph & Mary Kim Family, req. by Joseph & Mary Kim
12:10: +Deceased members of the D’Amico, Schepis & Fazio Families, req. by Frank D’Amico
5:15: New Year’s Eve: Vigil Mass: People of the Parish
Friday, January 1: NEW YEARS: Holy Day of Obligation: “Mary, Mother of God”
8:00: Charles Cycon, req. by the Cycon family
12:10: +William Morris, req. by the priests of the parish
5:15: +Eugenia Carpanzano, req. by the Carpanzano Family
Saturday, January 2
8:00: +Alverta Sahd, req. by Nick & Terry Troilo
12:10: Forgotten Souls in Purgatory, req. by Ferry G.
Eucharistic Adoration. . . Each Friday morning, from 8:30 am until noon.
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 legalized 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 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 NEWS:. . .
150 years ago, or so:The stamford advocate:
December 29, 1865: Christmas. “A heavy rain on Sunday night washed away all the snow that had fallen, and Christmas morning broke in sunshine as lovely as a day in Spring. In the Roman Catholic Church, High Mass was celebrated at 5 A.M., low mass at 6 and 8 and High Mass at 10:30 A.M. Father O’Neil officiated at 10:30 and delivered a short address to his people. In the afternoon, there was Vespers and an eloquent sermon on the birth of our Savior.”
125 years ago, or so:The Connecticut catholic:
January 3, 1885: STAMFORD. “An event took place at 9 o’clock Mass on last Sunday, which was most appropriate for the feast that was celebrated by the Church. It was the receiving of Holy Communion for the first time by at least one hundred and twenty-five of the children of the parish who were preparing during the past week for a worthy reception of our Blessed Lord. These little children who heard related during the Mass by Father Walsh, in a few fitting remarks, how the innocent children at the birth of Christ were killed by King Herod, should continue in the path of virtue and innocence by keeping the good resolutions already made.”
120 years ago, or so:The stamford advocate:
December 26, 1899: The Father Mathew Ball. “The ball given by the Father Mathew Society at Town Hall, on New Year’s Eve, was a grand success. The floor was crowded all the evening, and dancing kept up until the small hours of New Year’s morning. The committee of arrangements were Thomas Bourke, Thomas Farrell, John Lynch, Patrick Gill, John McGill. Stephen Herbert, Jr. won the prize of a ten dollar gold piece. St. John’s Band furnished the music.”
85 years ago, or so:The Hartford courant:
December 29, 1926: Tower Adds Beauty to St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in Stamford. “With the completion of the new tower of the St. John’s R.C. Church, of this city, the edifice becomes one of the handsomest church buildings in the state. The tower is the result of years of planning by Rev. James C. O’Brien, pastor of the church, and forms a splendid memorial to his work as leader of the parish. The edifice may now be seen from practically all parts of Stamford.”
The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (January 1st)-Fr. Terry Walsh
“The One whom Mary conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father’s eternal Son, the second Person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church
confesses that Mary is truly ‘Mother of God.’”
– Catechism of the Catholic Church, #495
In the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke we see the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary unfold, and we’re given a wonderful glimpse into the extraordinary circumstances of the Incarnation and Nativity of the God-man, Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary. Saint Augustine once said, “The world being unworthy to receive the Son of God directly from the hands of the Father, He gave His Son to Mary for the world to receive Him from her.” As we listen to the beautiful account in Luke’s Gospel, our Lady’s “fiat,” that is, her unequivocal “Yes! I will be His Mother,” fills our hearts with pure happiness. Her motherly love blossoms immediately as she humbly travels to the aid of her cousin, Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist. What great comfort Mary bestowed upon her, traveling out of her way to care for her! Next, we witness the courage and strength of Mary as she prepared to give birth to the Prince of Peace, the long-awaited Messiah, in the humblest of circumstances. What awesome miracles surrounded the young Virgin Mother. All of Heaven rejoiced with her! “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!’” Later, at the time of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple, the prophets Simeon and Anna warmly greet the Holy Family and the heart of the Queen of Peace overflowed with joy. And yet, moments later, the Blessed Mother would feel the sting of Simeon’s chilling prophesy: “A sword shall pierce through your soul,” and the sacrificial love of her motherhood would flood her heart.
As the Gospel unfolds, we peer into Mary’s unique role in Salvation History and contemplate the immensity of her love. We begin to see that Mary’s “Fiat!” meant that she would share in the Passion of her Son, spiritually, with unshakable faith and undying love – all for the love of God and the salvation of a multitude of souls.
Saint Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, celebrates humanity’s “liberation from slavery to the elemental spirits of the universe” when, in the fullness of time, “God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (4:4). Yet, Paul is perplexed by the confusion in those hearts who are easily distracted by false teachings and don’t seem to grasp the significance of the gift. He laments, “My little children, with whom I am again in travail until Christ be formed in you!” (4:19).
And what is our best path to Jesus? Saint Louis De Montfort points to our spiritual mother, Mary: “The more the Holy Spirit finds Mary, His dear and inseparable spouse, in a soul, the more powerful and effective He becomes in producing Jesus Christ in that soul and that soul in Jesus Christ.” He adds, “God the Son imparted to His mother all that He gained by His life and death, namely, His infinite merits and His eminent virtues. He made her the treasurer of all his Father had given Him as heritage. Through her He applies His merits and, through her, He transmits His virtues and distributes His graces. She is His mystic channel, His aqueduct, through which He causes His mercies to flow gently and abundantly.”
Through our love and obedience, our mother will expertly guide us into the very Heart of her Son. And just as Mary stood by her Son in His sorrow, so, too, does our mother stand by us in our sorrow. Her hope is our salvation. Saint John writes in his gospel (19:26) that from the Cross, Jesus gave His beloved mother to be our mother: “Woman, behold your Son.” “Even at His death,” De Montfort writes, “She had to be present so that He might be united with her in one sacrifice and be immolated with her consent to the eternal Father . . . It was Mary who nursed Him, fed Him, cared for Him, reared Him, and sacrificed Him for us.” Jesus gave Mary to us so that we could receive the mother’s love in our pursuit of Heaven. She is the best of mothers. Are we truly devoted to our Spiritual Mother? This great Solemnity is a wonderful time to renew our devotion to Jesus Christ through the Immaculate Heart of His holy Mother, Mary. What a great day to renew our meditation of the mysteries of His life, death, and Resurrection through the great devotion of the Holy Rosary…..